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Grace Garden - Chinese in Odenton

Thanks for posting the dishes. I arrived at Grace Garden tonight just a few minutes past 6pm and it was already a full house. And I think there's another chow hound among tonight's crowd.

After dinner we talked to Chef Li and Mei to ask about the dishes @crackers posted. The fish dish (Shunde Niang Lingyu 順德釀鯪魚, Cantonese) is extremely labor intensive. If made with the right fish (I looked the fish up in the dictionary and it says "Dace"), all flesh and bones of the fish will be removed, leaving only the head and the skin. The fish meat is minced with other ingredients and then stuffed back into the fish for further cooking. But with rock fish Chef Li said it's even harder so he made some modification there.

As for the duck steamed with taro, it is indeed off menu and also very labor intensive. Chef Li asked for at least one week's advanced request.

Feb 11, 2012
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Grace Garden - Chinese in Odenton

oh Warthog I think you had the "Suan-tsai' fish that chef Li was contemplating trying last month when we went in. My friend said she had Chef Li's another great fish variation -- fish chunks steamed in rice powder. I will have to decide what to order tonight.

Aug 16, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Grace Garden - Chinese in Odenton

GG did the steam table back in '05 but it was removed shortly after.

Aug 16, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Fortune Star Buffet in Elkridge/Columbia

Heard from friends that this is the spin-off from Fortune Star Buffet in Rockville and we rushed over the very first week it opened. We've gone for lunch with friends three times since and the reviews are mixed. Our biggest beef with the place is inconsistency. But still, we'd go back from time to time. As DH puts it, with Fortune Star in Elkridge, the bar for Chinese buffet in the Baltimore metro has been raised.

I like it for offering some hard-to-find dishes as buffet items, like the braised whole tilapia (but everyone left the heads in the tray!) and the palm-size fried pomfrets. All of the lunch pals agreed the steamed sticky rice (mi-gao) is very delicious. We all know it's there to fill us up but we just couldn't help ourselves but to go back for more. Yum!

Jul 02, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Grace Garden - Chinese in Odenton

A couple years ago Noodles Corner served it off menu, in black pepper sauce or white sauce. Asian Court in Ellicott City has it on the menu but I haven't tried it: "Triple Delight with Pan-Friend Noodle"
Like AC, some restaurant menus put it as "Lian Mien Huang" (literally both sides golden, but LMH is actually Shanghai) but usually the English description is "pan-fried crispy noodles.

About the big guy: Mei said they've been so happily busy since May 17 (yes she remembers the exact date), so they've asked the big guy, customer/neighbor, to help out from time to time.

Jul 02, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Grace Garden - Chinese in Odenton

We (the family) went yesterday (Saturday) for lunch and had a wonderful time. There was another hound in the restaurant, I believe, because I heard her mentioning the 50+ posts here at ChowHound. :)

The amount of Ong Choy was just enough for one single order yesterday and we of course ordered it! Chef Li prepared it the traditional HK style -- stir fry with fuju (fermented bean curd, Mei said they use the most common Shuiko Fuju you can get at any Asian grocers). Fuju Tung Choi it is called.

Also on the table were the Hot and Spicy Smoke Shrimps, Steamed Sea Bass HK style, Fried Tofu in Crabmeat Sauce, Cantonese Wok Fried Quails, and the Sichuan Beef Treasure (the tongue tendon and tripe), which we cleaned up the entire plate in minutes.

I was hoping to get crispy, crunchy shrimps like the ones I've tried years back at the late Golden Gate Noodle House in Towson; those that I could eat the entire shrimp shell on. Neither last week's Golden Shrimps nor the Hot and Spicy Smoke Shrimps yesterday was that crunchy. I think it was because it'd call for smaller "shrimps" to be fried to be that crispy. Nonetheless, we were all so very happy with the "prawns" that Chef Li has generously served. On a related note, there was a dish, literally Prawns with Fresh Fruit, being taken off the menu last year. It was one of my favorite dishes from Grace Garden. Prawns were lightly fried (shell off) and tossed in a mayo based sauce with fresh fruits (we've got slices of strawberries or chunks of cantaloupes at different times). Mei had said not too many customers had ordered that dish and the sauce went bad easily, so they decided to take it off the menu. We were thinking that we'd try requesting it in advance next week.

Chef Li also confirmed that to have Pocket Tofu in a sauce prepared with fish stock, it's best to call ahead and order (or hopefully some other customers) a fish fillet dish. The best, non-fishy smell stock would come out after 30-minute cooking/simmering, he said.

Our original Independence Day celebration plan was to pig out at GG with another spicy food loving family, but we were informed that Chef Li and family will take the day off, first time in three years. We'll go either before or after their day trip then.

Jun 29, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Grace Garden - Chinese in Odenton

Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie here at CHOWHOUND but have been a loyal patron of GG for the past three years. Like the message left at SD's blog, I'm just so thrilled to see this hidden gem being discovered and enjoyed by so many fellow foodies!

We did take out tonight from GG and were told a new popular MA-LA item, FuQi FeiPien (literally "Husband-Wife sliced lungs", but is actually just a ma la appetizer consists of thinly sliced beef tribes, beef shanks, beef tendons, and maybe other ingredients presented in a sauce made of crushed Sichuan pepper corns, chili pepper, sesame oil, anise, five spice, and other secret ingredients). We of course ordered it but unfortunately Chef Li's daughter forgot to pack it in our bag. It was a little bummer because though greatly anticipating such a great (and never found in Baltimore) dish on our table, I didn't want to drive another hour back and forth to pick it up. Still, we enjoyed the other dishes (fish noodles, pocket tofu, Cantonese braised chicken, golden shrimps, pepper and salt squid) nonetheless.

I'd recommend trying the pocket tofu in the non-spicy sauce. Depending on the day we order, sometimes Chef Chun would prepare the pocket tofu in a sauce made of fish stock (i.e. if we or other customers had ordered fish fillets then he'd make use of the bones to make fish stock), and we can definitely taste the subtle difference.

Also, when eating in, do try the steamed whole fish or sea bass Hong Kong style. We like it the "ginger and scallion" style for summer and would save the "mushroom, ham and sausage" style for winter (tastes heavier to me and maybe because I always associate Chinese ham and sausage with Lunar New Year's flamboyant, labor-intensive soups and cooking).

Grace Garden is definitely a keeper. However, last month when we were there Chun had mentioned the business being less busier than that of previous years.

Jun 23, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore

Breakfast Columbia

we just dicovered Mimi's Cafe.
Yes... it's a chain restaurant, but it opens at 7am and is a great alternative after so many visits to Eggspectation. :)

Jun 23, 2008
charm21210 in Washington DC & Baltimore