But not so much in Wheaton (hmm, what is the subtext there?). We took a friend to Joe’s Noodle House (1488-C Rockville Pike) for lunch, and Joe was in fine form. Hot’n’sour soup in its usual perfect balance; scallion pancake crispy and savory and salty (but not too); best kung pao chicken ever, the real stuff: chicken, peanuts, hot peppers, ginger, scallions, that’s it. We also tried the beef chow fun, which was tasty with incredibly tender beef, and also the stir-fried sliced pork with hot pepper and leek, which is listed with a single chili pepper on the menu but should have two or maybe even two plus a star, because it was scorching hot — in a good way; you can still taste the flavor of the sauce and the pork. I will order it again for sure. Nearly killed our friend though. No problems this day with insufficiently spicy food!
For dinner, we met other friends at the General Store at Forest Glen (6 Post Office Road), Gillian Clark’s relatively new place, where we had to try the much-discussed fried chicken. Our verdict was mostly positive: moist, flavorful, tasty but not crispy skin. Our only real problem with the food in general and the chicken in particular was that it was only somewhat warm, not hot, and had probably been sitting out for a while before serving. Not sure whether this is a common flaw at the General Store, but it was the only real flaw and we were able to get past it no problem. We had heard that the service can be a bit brusque, but we didn’t encounter any problems on that front either.
We liked the mac’n’cheese side and loved the collard greens. I am not particularly experienced in the ways of collard greens, and recently had a fine version at a friend’s house (wooo Porter!), but Gillian Clark’s collard greens are amazing. Really, really good. I can’t describe the taste, just…good, and quick to disappear. Cornbread was also excellent, moist, flavorful…I guess that could describe much of the (not large) menu. The fish tacos were not moist, but had a kick and the guacamole provided maybe more flavor than the fish itself. Still, a solid dish. Ham and gruyere turnovers had a poor ratio of filling to pastry, but fortunately the pastry was outstanding, and the filling was good if unevenly distributed. They also had an interesting sauce drizzled on top — they looked like breakfasty strawberry turnovers, but the sauce had a hint of barbecue. Overall a positive visit, all the food was at least good and some was great; the decor was a little too minimalist and oddly laid out for our taste, and also too brightly lit. I hear they do a brist takeout business, and that does not surprise me. Good food, but maybe better eaten at home. We poked our heads into the “Post Office Tavern” in the basement, which seemed small and dark and fun, with a friendly bartender and wider beer selection than in the main restaurant. We will try it sometime.
But this time, instead of the POT, we went to Mrs. K’s (9201 Colesville) where we enjoyed a Rock & Vine (California) cabernet at the basement bar, which was packed, as Joe’s had been for lunch. The General Store was also doing a solid business, a mix of eat-in and take-out. All in all, more evidence that despite the mediocre economy, Montgomery County’s restaurants continue to do good business — at least the good ones do.