Cheap Eats 2007: A&J Restaurant
Comments () | Published July 11, 2007
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A & J Restaurant - Annandale
Address: 4316-B Markham St., Annandale, VA
Phone: 703.813.8181
Neighborhood: Annandale
Cuisines: Dim Sum, Breakfast, Chinese, Cantonese
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Friday 11:30 to 9, and Saturday and Sunday 10 to 9.
Nearby Metro Stops: Dunn Loring-Merrifield
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Sesame biscuits with sliced pork or beef ; pickled spicy cucumbers; chicken-and-cucumber salad with mustard sauce dan dan noodles; noodles with stewed, ground pork; fried chicken over rice; soy-sauce chicken; chicken soup with noodles and bok choy; musta
Price Details: Dim sum, .95 cents to $5.95.

A&J originated in Taiwan after the Chang family fled there from the northern Chinese province of Shandong during the civil war—a bit of family history helpful to navigating the varied menu. Cuisine from Shandong consists largely of noodles, breads, buns, pancakes, and the like, and that’s what to look for in these tiny, cash-only places.

You might begin with the pan-fried pork pot stickers—piping-hot homemade dumplings stuffed with seasoned ground pork, shaped in a classic northern-style cylinder, and best eaten as they arrive. The soups, big enough for two, have enough depth and complexity for an entire meal. The Spicy Beef Tendon Noodle soup borrows its kick from Szechuan—its heat is best tamed by a plate of cold pickled cabbage. Chinese Style Fried Chicken is one of the area’s best fried chickens, smoky and succulent; an intensely flavored bowl of broth comes with it.

With the emphasis on the flavors of Shangdong, there’s not a single seafood dish on the menu. With cooking this varied and lively, you probably won’t miss it.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 08:31 AM/ET, 07/11/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews