Lots of good, affordable Chinese restaurants in Wheaton: Full Key, Paul Kee, New Kam Fong, Hollywood East, Wong Gee, some people like Good Fortune, maybe even Kenny’s or Jenny’s or Brother (certainly affordable but depends how you define “good”). But all of them are, as far as I know, Cantonese/Hong Kong style, or else just nondescript Americanized Chinese. And sometimes I need Szechuan. Spicy like they don’t do in Canton.
Joe’s Noodle House in Rockville remains my favorite Szechuan* source, despite less heat on a recent visit than usual. Posters on Don Rockwell and Chowhound have complained in the past about Joe’s not dialing up enough of an inferno, and I hadn’t had that problem until now. Still, not really a problem; the homestyle kung pao chicken remains the best ever version: chicken, peanuts, scallions, dried hot peppers, garlic, ginger, sauce and nothing else, no celery or (gag) water chestnuts or other lame filler. The sauce is normally medium-hot and a sweet-savory balance, but this time it was more sweet than spicy (read: Americanized) this time. On the other hand, the string beans with pork were pretty scorching, and delicious. Eat At Joe’s, indeed.
* I know it’s trendy to say Sichuan, but Joe’s website says Szechuan and that’s good enough for me.