[HOME EDITION] The Insatiable Palate Review #26: Peking Gourmet Inn (Falls Church, Virginia)

 A Dinner at Peking Gourmet Inn is like Playing the Lottery

Cross your fingers, y’all. It’s time to pray to the duck gods. Promise you’ll do anything to have an elderly Asian gentleman arrive at your table to carve and craft your expensive bird.

Peking Gourmet Inn makes coming home so much more delightful. Weekend reservations at 7PM are rarely a problem and the service is always dependable. Parties of 3-4 will often be treated to the comfortable leather booths. Most importantly, the duck always meets expectations.

MOST MOST importantly, if the Asian gentlemen arrives with a knife and the whole bird, you’ll be treated to even more portions of skin and dark meat. Our duck carver, Mr. Zhuang’s yielded a noticeable amount more duck than one of the other carvers during my previous visit.

Peking Gourmet Inn’s duck ($39) doesn’t have foie gras or black truffle like the chicken for two at The NoMad Hotel. It’s humbly served with homemade pancakes, hoisin sauce, and spring onions. The bird easily serves two people. It easily serves three to four if you order the pork garlic sprouts ($17.75) which are surprisingly tender and sweet. I usually don’t get too poetic about vegetables. It must be the slices of pork brainwashing me into believing that a plate of garlic sprouts are worth over $18 after tax.

 Garlic Sprouts

Chef Fon’s Shrimp

Do not be enticed by the bland battered jumbo-sized Jeo-Yan Shrimp ($26.95). Pricy doesn’t necessarily mean tasty. Instead, try the Chef Fon’s Shrimp ($19.95) which is sautéed with snow peas, and red/green bell peppers. Then it is glorified with the Chef’s “secret sauce” which might be a clever way a describing “sweet & sour.” It is, nonetheless, perfectly-cooked tender and comforting.

The Coronel’s 11 Herbs and Spices

An order of peking duck yields about two of these plates. Imagine this plate, another plate, a plate of the duck drums, twelve pancakes and more than enough cucumbers & raw garlic sprouts to keep your fiber level uncomfortably high.

Ruth Bourdain would Smoke This

The Mission Chinese Food team loves the peking duck here. I mentioned Peking Gourmet Inn in Falls Church, Virginia to Chef Danny Bowien last week at MCFNY and he shared the same love.

It’s not cheap, but it’s so damn good. So good that the similarity between the front cover of the Mission Street Food book and the Peking Gourmet Inn’s paper place mats is not a wonderful coincidence.

Every time I visit, my family and friends like to point out to me that John Travolta and President Bush were here. I normally could care less about played out photo-ops. I’ve seen a Shaquille O’Neal photo at a Benihana, but you won’t see me singing love songs about onion volcanoes. However, this place is a special exception, a special destination.

I’d run miles for a chance to be reunited with the duck at Peking Gourmet Inn. I’ll be counting down the days until my return.

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