The Peking Gourmet gives traditional dishes a new flare

Next to the casual picture of Eddie Tsui, the owner of the Peking Gourmet Inn, standing alongside of George H.W. Bush, the second thing we noticed after entering the restaurant was the delicious smell of roasting duck. Although it is not a typical delicacy, roasted duck is the star item on the menu at this upscale Chinese restaurant.
Located in Bailey’s Crossroads, the Peking Gourmet Inn began as a small, family-owned business and quickly grew to prominence after President Bush discovered it during his term in the White House. Today, the restaurant offers dozens of original and handcrafted Chinese dishes that are made with fresh, authentic ingredients. Peking Gourmet offers both a lunch and a dinner menu to its customers, which vary slightly in price.

Once we were seated, the pleasant aromas wafting from the kitchen immediately captivated our attention. There was a hint of sweetness from the roasting duck, coupled with a savory menu item like steamed dumplings and Kung Pao chicken, all of which we ordered. The staff was very patient and helpful as they answered all of our menu questions and helped us decide on what to try. In addition to those three dishes, we sampled more familiar options such as fried rice, egg rolls and spring rolls.

As duck is the Peking Gourmet Inn’s signature dish, those who order it will attest that it is the highlight of the meal. It is brought out of the kitchen on a silver platter and then carved table side. Thinly pressed pancakes are served at the same time so the duck and plum sauce can be wrapped up tortilla style. Our waiter fixed our first few pancakes for us with all of the toppings such as duck breast, crispy duck skin, plum sauce and scallions. The flavor and texture combinations could not have been more pleasing to the taste buds.

Although it takes a leap of faith to venture outside of the typical Chinese food options and order such a rare menu item, the plunge is definitely worth it. As this restaurant was one of the most expensive we have reviewed so far, we recommend trying out this place with a large group of friends, so that you can share dishes and cut down on costs. As you look up at walls covered in photographs of the political and celebrity figures who have all eaten at the Peking Gourmet Inn before, you will be in good company.