838-B Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
Apologies in the delay in writing. I certainly had a great road trip with plenty of great Asian food along the way, which you will get to read in the coming days.
The first stop on my DC to Denver culinary adventures led me to Rockville, Maryland. Rockville is a suburb of Washington, DC, that has a sizable Chinese population and some of the best Chinese food in the Mid-Atlantic. I was browsing through the July 2013 copy of Washingtonian which highlighted a number of Rockville Chinese restaurants. While I had eaten at most of them, one of them stuck out as a place I needed to try: East Pearl. Serving homestyle Cantonese food, I was intrigued and it became the first restaurant I had to go to on my trip.
During the last day I was in DC, my cousin and I decided to eat lunch at East Pearl. Located in a 60s style business park/strip mall, it wasn’t the easiest place to find. However, coming in we were treated to a nice and bright modern Chinese restaurant. We were promptly seated, given menus, and served tea and water.
While there were a number of different and interesting options on the menu, we opted for two noodle dishes and a vegetable to keep our lunch light and simple. We ordered a stir fried rice noodle dish with shredded pork, a beef brisket and wonton noodle soup, and a plate of garlic stir-fried pea sprouts. In about twenty minutes, our food came out piping hot and we were ready to eat.
The stir fried rice noodles came out first and the serving plate was gigantic. It certainly could feed a family of 4-6 alone. The taste itself was pretty good. While most stir-fried rice noodle dishes can be gloopy, clumpy, and oily, the noodles here were prepared very well with only slight clumps. The pea sprouts came next and my cousin and I both agreed that this was the best dish. It was very simple, but the way the garlic and pea sprouts were stir fried was simply delicious and pea sprouts with a perfect texture that struck a right balance between crunchy and soft. The beef brisket and wonton noodle soup certainly stood up on its own as well. The noodles were cooked just right, the wontons were plump and juicy, and the beef brisket was tender. The broth was a little salty and a little too beefy, but certainly nothing that would detract me from ordering the dish again.
Service was prompt as well, with water and tea refilled routinely and servers being accommodating without overwhelming. The portions were definitely large and generous. The amount of food we ordered could reasonably feed a family of four, and I took a considerable amount for leftovers (which I sadly could not eat given the lack of microwave in my Pittsburgh hotel room). The bill came to around $40 total, which may seem pricey for two, but our order certainly could have fit a family of 4-5.
Overall, it was a really great meal and I am continually impressed by the newer and better offerings Rockville continues to produce. I would say that my favorite Chinese restaurant in Rockville continues to be the vaunted A&J (which serves Taiwanese and Shanghainese Dim Sum), but East Pearl certainly gives A&J a run for the title. I will certainly return again the next time I am in DC.