It’s not that often that you find a Chinese restaurant that can boast such diners as presidents, former presidents, politicians, military generals, and a slew of other famous people. The Peking Gourmet Inn, located in Falls Church (VA), does just that. From the exterior, this gem of a restaurant won’t entice a second look. The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside and actually looks moderately small. When you walk in you will be fooled on both accounts. The restaurant is quite large, with every wall being decked out with photos of the owner with famous people.
I dined at the Peking Gourmet Inn on a Monday for lunch. The restaurant was slammed for a Monday, so you know this place is good. There was a short line, in which I was standing behind the former Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan. The seating hostess informed me he was a regular. As you look around the restaurant you will notice the photos on every wall, and the fact that every table (literally) ordered the peking duck. The peking duck is the staple dish of the restaurant. Being priced at $38, you might think twice about the entrée, don’t! When you order the duck, within a few minutes you get the plate of homemade Chinese pancakes, the thinly shaved spring onions (which are grown on premises by the way), and a bowl of the homemade hoisin sauce. A few minutes later the whole crispy duck arrives with a skilled carver ready to carve the duck tableside for you. The carver skillfully cuts off all the crispy, golden brown skin and lays it on a plate. After scraping off the additional fat, they then carve off the flesh of the duck. Within 5 minutes your duck is completely broken down and ready to be enjoyed. The server then places the pancake on your plate, coats in with the tantalizing hoisin sauce, sprinkles some of the shaved scallions, lays down some of the duck breast, and then tops it with the duck crispy cracklin. These four ingredients comprised arguably the best thing I have ever eaten! Each ingredient has been selected/grown/made in a way to perfectly compliment the other. The freshness of the pancake, with the crunch and bite of the scallions, and then the moist crispy duck, are like a symphony in your mouth.
We also ordered the spicy Szechuan cabbage, which was also extremely fresh and delicious. Most importantly the cabbage wasn’t drenched in overly sweet brine. Just in case the duck wasn’t enough, we also ordered the Kung Pao Chicken. The kung pao chicken has a very authentic thin sauce which has a smoky note to it and nice spice. After eating the duck though, nothing else on the table compared.
This restaurant is one of the most interesting restaurants you will eat at. From it’s rich history and eclectic décor, this restaurant is a must go to. The duck is the most expensive item on the menu but is definitely worth it. All other entrée are very reasonably price and offer exceptional quality and taste.