Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A&J Restaurant - Rockville

A&J Restaurant
1319 Rockville Pike, Ste C
Rockville, MD 20852

Although the neon sign in A&J's window describes the food as "authentic Northern Chinese dim sum," it perhaps would be better described as a Taiwanese small plates restaurant. The food is certainly quite unlike that found in other dim sum establishments in the area, which, to my mind, is a positive rather than a negative.

We ordered several dishes, hot and cold, and I generally found the cold dishes more successful than the hot. Highlights include the "thousand year old egg" served on a bed of whipped tofu, the spicy cold tripe, cold beef tendon, and the noodles in sesame sauce. Also tasty were the seaweed salad, the cold mustard greens, and the shredded tofu salad. These dishes were all delicate dishes that relied on freshness and a subtle acidity rather than power and heavy handed seasoning.

The warm dishes, on the other hand, were a bit more mixed. The hot noodle soup with braised beef was solid; the broth was clean and uncomplicated and the beef tender. We also had a traditional Taiwanese "Oil Stick," which is essentially an airy cruller, that was an unpretentious treat. But the dumplings we had were only so-so, and other dim sum places in the area serve better.

The service was relatively friendly, if a bit inattentive. But, considering I only spent $15 for the meal, and the place undoubtedly relies on quick turnover to sustain itself, any neglect caused by the waitstaff deserves a pass.

Originally posted on Yelp on 8/28/2010

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