Food

January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants

No. 67: Bob’s Noodle

It may be in Rockville, but Bob’s has the sensibility of an old Chinatown eatery.

For one thing, it’s a bargain—two can eat well for under $25. It’s also filled with Chinese expats, many of whom owner Bob Liu, a former journalist, greets with a wave. But even if you’re a first-timer, Bob will help decode the long and sometimes inscrutable menu, filled as it is with such exotica as blood-thickened soups, stir-fried loofah with squash, and crispy-fried duck tongues with basil.

His presence, and that of the many happy families around the lazy Susans in the dining room, helps warm up the bare-walled atmosphere.

On a menu this big, there’s often a weak spot, but soups, stews, casseroles, and stir-fries can all be approached with abandon here. Meat dishes offer special savor, be they pepper-flecked riblets of beef or the curiously named Taiwanese hamburger, really a marvelous bundle of pork tucked into a steamed bun along with some crunchy mustard greens. There are loads of good seafood choices, too, including a beautiful steamed whole fish and a thin, crepelike omelet studded with oysters and sauced with Chinese ketchup.

If you’re inclined to skip dessert at Chinese restaurants, make an exception here. Bob’s volcanic mound of shaved ice strewn with red beans, lychee, taro, and peanuts makes for one of the more memorable sendoffs around.

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