Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Miu Kee

DSC_0131Miu Kee specializes in Cantonese, Szechuan and Hunan styles of Chinese cuisine. For such a tall order, it’s no surprise that the menu is long and varied. From take-out staples like the General Tso’s Chicken, to gourmet fare like Steak Mignon Cantonese Style, any diner at this Chinese restaurant is sure to find something to fit his or her tastes.

When entering the restaurant, situated in a plaza behind an IHOP on Arlington Boulevard, the focus on food is apparent. Diners make their way from the door down a narrow corridor of tanks of lobsters and swimming fish before working their way through the labyrinthine walkways between several jade-toned tables to find their seat. Toward the back of the small dining room, hanging ducks tempt with golden-glazed skin, but this kind of roasted poultry popular in Chinese cuisine makes up a smaller part of Miu Kee’s menu when compared to its several seafood options.

Even the wonton soup, one of several soups on the menu that can start the dining experience, is heavy with large, round shrimp-stuffed dumplings. The soup, which pairs a good number of the dumplings with a spicy, well-seasoned broth, costs surprisingly little at $1.95 for a cup. A smaller selection of appetizers offers expected dishes like tempura and egg rolls, but the pan-fried meat dumplings are different from the standard. Instead of a crispy, charred, somewhat translucent wrapper covering seasoned meat inside, Miu Kee’s dumplings have a more substantial shell. An order brings four of the palm-sized dumplings to the table, with a doughy, lightly browned and slightly grainy exterior revealing a small mound of meat beneath.

Entrees on the menu are generally divided into sections by their focus, which makes the work of deciding what’s for dinner easier for those who might have a craving for a particular type of meat, want to go vegetarian with their pick, or are looking for a noodle, soup, or fried rice variation on the standard meat-and-veggies-in-sauce concoctions. An ample congee menu section gives diners their pick of toppings like beef, pork, and seafood to top the thick rice soup. While a chef-selected menu section generally gives diners a sense of what a restaurant does best, Miu Kee’s chef’s special, chef’s recommendation, and gourmet menu sections narrows the field to what is still several dishes to chose from.

Dishes cost $6.50 for bowls of congee, and the same for bowls of noodle and soup, while larger entree platters range from $10 all-vegetable options to specialty seafood selections, like those containing conch and ling fish, topping the $20 mark.

Among the dishes given special distinction are a curried squid and a Chinese broccoli stir fry served with pieces of bacon and sausage.

The curry squid is a simple dish which combines onion strips with long pieces of squid in a thin, yellow sauce with a subtle spiciness. The treatment allows the texture and taste of quality squid to take the focus in the dish, which is no surprise coming from this seafood-heavy spot.

When cooking without ingredients from the sea, however, Miu Kee doesn’t fall short. The Chinese broccoli stir fry joins bits of thin-sliced, slightly crispy and awfully fatty meat with small sausage rounds as the salty, savory point to the counterpoint of large, vividly green pieces of fresh, crunchy Chinese broccoli. All elements are joined together in a thin brown sauce begging to be slathered over accompanying white rice to complete the meal.

Whether the dish’s origins are by land or by sea, the variety of menu options (both in dish and price point), and the late hours the restaurant keeps makes the restaurant a convenient pick certain to satisfy any type of Chinese-food craving.

Miu Kee is located at 6653 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-237-8884. Restaurant hours are Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.