Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Full Kee

bean021Full Kee serves up some excellent seafood and poultry dishes in Chinese style, but only for those who aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with their meal before it is plated.

bean021Full Kee serves up some excellent seafood and poultry dishes in Chinese style, but only for those who aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with their meal before it is plated.

Upon entering the restaurant, located in the Bailey’s Crossroads Shopping Center, guests are greeted by giant aquariums of swimming lobster and crab. Behind a window into the kitchen hang whole roasted chickens and ducks. These meats – along with well-worn wooden tables and chairs – are all signs of good things to come, and almost make up for the unusual décor – framed candid photos, porcelain fish and one particular painting of flying horses.

But for those who eat with their mouths and not their eyes, the restaurant doesn’t disappoint. The only challenge that stands in the way of the meal is deciding what to eat. The menu comes to the table as a veritable book of available dishes, and the restaurant offers so many that the kitchen must double the size of the restaurant’s spacious dining room. With dozens of soups, appetizers, casseroles, and noodle and rice dishes in the Hong Kong, Hunan, and Szechuan styles, any diner – from those who stick to the old standby, sweet and sour chicken, to more adventurous diners who might prefer the beef tripe noodle soup or the boneless pig’s knuckle – would find something to whet his or her appetite. The restaurant also offers fixed multi-course family-style meals for larger parties.

Any diner at a Chinese restaurant would be remiss in not ordering fried dumplings to start the meal, and the dumplings at Full Kee are as they should be, with a part-crisp, part-chewy dough casing holding large pieces of ground, seasoned pork. The pork flavor carries throughout the dumpling shell, inviting diners to sink their teeth into the juicy pork ball inside.

The Full Kee House Special section of the menu assists considerably in narrowing the field. The Cantonese style sizzling steak, in particular, showcases what the restaurant does best – well-seasoned meats cooked well. The steak pieces are large and plentiful in the $14 dish, served fork-tender on a skillet alongside large pieces of onion and covered in a gelatinous sweet and sour sauce that clings to each piece of meat, vegetable and rice. The delicious sauce ideally marries the sweet and sour components, as the slight sourness on the tongue draws back into an overall pleasant sweetness.

But signs across the restaurant advertise the Peking duck, and diners should take heed. The Peking duck, served whole for $25 and in halves for $15, is excellently prepared. Beneath the crispy, golden skin, pieces of meat are juicy and ripe for picking off of the bone for diners to enjoy the duck’s savory, slightly sweet, taste, and wonderfully fatty flavor.

With restaurant hours stretching to 2 a.m. every day of the week, Full Kee is an excellent spot for an authentic Chinese dinner carrying on late into the evening, not to mention the occasional late-night craving for Chinese take-out favorites.

Full Kee is located at 5830 Columbia Pike, Falls Church. For more information, call 703-575-8232. Restaurant hours are Monday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.