Saturday, December 6, 2008

China Star, Fairfax

Our buddies OK & FL invited us to meet them for dinner last night at China Star. When I looked up directions to the place I hesitated – almost called and asked them to switch to Hong Kong Palace. I realized we’d been there years ago. We met our friends R&AS there one night to explore the Szechuan ma-la offerings. Pretty underwhelming.

“Oh well,” I thought. “I just want to see OK & FL. I’ll order some veggies and tofu and it’ll be fine.” Off we went to meet them.

Ooops. So much for memory.

China Star has either changed hands or undergone a significant upgrade. Certainly the interior is not at all what I remembered. It’s now simpler and lighter. Much more appealing. But the food? Oh, the food!

We need to return a couple more times in order to move more fully through the menu, but first impressions are HIGHLY promising. Pleen already thinks this may have unseated our previous favorite for Szechuan – Hong Kong Palace.

Pleen pointed out that lots of supposedly Szechuan joints seem to have one flavor to all their food. They pour their red chili oil (perhaps spotted with huājiāo) over dumplings or noodles, use it to braise their fish or lamb, and that’s it. China Star seems to be doing a much more nuanced approach. Lots of differing flavors.

Service was surprisingly pleasant. The place was filled with Chinese families. Portions were huge, and arrived at warp speed from the slamming kitchen. We all ordered soft drinks, a couple of appetizers, and four main course sized dishes. Admittedly, we ordered veggie-only, but still, the cost was $15/head. Looks like working through the rest of the menu is gonna be a deal!

Can’t wait to visit this place again.

China Star

9600G Main Street

Fairfax, VA 22031


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