Tucked away in a less-than-savory-looking shopping center in the Culmore section of Falls Church is the hidden gem that is Peking Gourmet Inn (6029 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church).
The place is hardly a secret now, as is evident from the signed photos of our 41st and 43rd presidents that grace the walls of the restaurant. Brought there to eat by Vic Gold, former press secretary to Vice President Spiro Agnew, George H. W. Bush fell in love with the place and got the word out. Peking Gourmet soon became a new hot spot among Washington’s elite, including countless generals, politicians, lawmakers and President George W. Bush.
Lucky for you liberals out there, the food is so good that not even Dubya’s grin will be enough to ruin your appetite. Peking Gourmet offers a wide range of delicious appetizers to start things off. The Spring Rolls ($5.75) come four to an order, are crispy and delicious and as good as you’ll find anywhere. Other wise choices for starters are the Fried Dumplings ($7.25), which come six to an order, and the exquisite Crab Rangoons ($6.50), which come four to an order. All of Peking Gourmet’s appetizers are perfect for sharing.
Next on your list of must-orders should be Peking’s Fried Rice ($9.25). Available with pork, beef, chicken or mandarin (a combo), the fried rice is the perfect complement to any dish, and works well as a dish to be shared or could even stand alone. No matter what role it plays, it’s a must-have for your table.
Speaking of must-have dishes, the Peking Duck ($37) is Peking Gourmet’s specialty entrée. Carved tableside, the tender meat and crispy skin of the duck is served with pancakes, Hoisin sauce and spring onion, forming an absolutely delicious combination. The duck generally fills about 8-10 pancakes, depending on how full you choose to pack them. For smaller parties or those with less of an appetite, a half-duck option is available.
Peking Gourmet features several tempting entrée options that are great as a meal or for sharing. The Peking Gourmet Chicken ($14.25) is an excellent choice, featuring large chunks of tender chicken with a crunchy exterior, sitting in an outstanding garlic and ginger sauce. Get this dish with an order of fried rice for a delicious combination.
Those looking for something with a little more kick to it may want to try the Kung Pao Shrimp ($17.45) or the Kung Pao Chicken ($13.45). The Four Season String Beans ($10.25) are an excellent side item to join an order of chicken, beef or rice, and pack plenty of spice as well.
Peking Gourmet is great for eating in or carryout, as the carryout system is run very smoothly. The restaurant is open for both eating in and carryout seven days a week.
The restaurant’s service is competent and friendly, from those at the hosts’ table to the carryout staff to the waiters and waitresses. The charming staff often shares interesting anecdotes (for example, the Tsingtao Beer company native to China was actually started by Germans) and always provides prompt, attentive service. The décor is likewise friendly and welcoming, emphasizing subtly elegant red, white and gold colors over flashy decorations.
Peking Gourmet possesses a quiet charm and authenticity that sets it apart from the average Chinese restaurant. And with food this good, you’ll love the place regardless of your political persuasion.
Peking Gourmet Inn
6029 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, Va. 22041
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – Midnight