Are we still in Wheaton? We are. Haven’t had the blogging energy lately, will see if I can get it back and write up some of the backlogged restaurant visits I’ve logged recently, mostly outside of Wheaton.
In Wheaton, I had a craving for Chinese and decided to revisit Wong Gee (2417 University), where we ate a couple of times when they first opened maybe eight or nine years ago but hadn’t since. Back then, we thought it was okay but nothing special. The dining room wasn’t crowded — unlike the packed Mi La Cay next door — but the dozen or so eaters were all Chinese, and that can’t be a bad sign.
I’m sure it depends what you order, like in most restaurants, but Wong Gee is officially back on my radar thanks to a couple of dishes. In particular, the crispy beef Szechuan style is the closest thing I’ve found locally to the fabled Beef with Orange Peel at Menlo Park’s Hunan Garden. CBSS is not as orange-y, but otherwise has a similar flavor profile and crisp-chewy texture. I asked for it spicy – SPICY!! I shouted at least twice into the phone when placing the carryout order — but it didn’t turn out spicy at all. They need to put the SZECH back in their Szechuan, or maybe I just need to learn some Chinese in order to convince them I can handle the heat. Even so, it was very good, and if it is any zippier next time it will be a great dish.
The kung pao chicken had more of a kick, plus good flavor and plenty of chicken and peanuts, not as good as the Joe’s Noodle House version but well above average. Primary Wong Gee kung pao drawback is the over-reliance on celery as filler — Joe’s is all chicken, peanuts, and peppers, as it should be. At least Wong Gee doesn’t use water chestnuts *shudder*.
I also liked the Singapore style rice noodles, which again could have been spicier but were tasty anyway, with plenty of curry, similar overall to Fried Good Dale but with super thin noodles and less pork, and less grease. Roasted duck and noodles in soup is pretty good, although the duck has a lot of bone and fat and is just too much work, in soup. In general, soup looks like a good way to go at Wong Gee, and there are plenty of options on the menu.
Portions are enormous at Wong Gee, good value. Ordering carryout via phone can be tricky, due to strong accents and surprisingly loud background noise given the mostly empty room, but all the details ended up correct, except for the SPICY fail. It’s tough to say where WG fits into Wheaton’s Chinese food hierarchy: New Kam Fong is very good, Paul Kee has some fine dishes, and Full Key and Good Fortune have many supporters. Of course Hollywood East is great for dim sum, and Kenny’s is surprisingly good too. Mrs. Me doesn’t love Chinese food as much as I do so we don’t eat at any of these places as much as we should, but it’s nice that they’re all good, at least if you order well. If only one of them were Sichuan…
[In the photo, that’s crispy beef on the left, kung pao on the right, Singapore noodles in the back, duck soup not pictured]