Cheap Eats 2011: Red Pearl
Comments () | Published August 17, 2011
Cheap Eats 2011 100 Best Restaurants 2012

Red Pearl
Address: 10215 Wincopin Cir., Columbia, MD 21044
Phone: 410-715-6530
Neighborhood: Columbia
Cuisines: Szechuan, Cantonese, Dim Sum, Chinese
Opening Hours: Monday through Thursday 11 to 10, Friday and Saturday 11 to 11, Sunday 10:30 to 10.
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: N/A
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Har gow (shrimp dumplings); char siu bao (baked pork buns); eggplant with shrimp paste; dan-dan noodles; cumin lamb; braised flounder; diced chicken with chilies; salt-and-pepper lobster; tea-smoked duck.
Price Details: Dim sum $3 to $7, entrées $10 to $20.

Not everything at this lakefront charmer, a top destination for Chinese cooking in the area, falls within the Cheap Eats budget--you'll have to steer clear of the pepper-salted lobster, among other delicacies. But there are loads of affordable examples of chef/owner David Wong's wok work, beginning with cooked-to-order dim sum: The shrimp dumplings and golden-hued pork buns are benchmarks for the area. Cantonese hot pots and casseroles are enough for three or four.

A half portion of tea-smoked duck, a showpiece dish, costs $18.95 but makes an ideal share--stuff the slices of crisp-skinned meat into steamed buns for a marvelous sandwich. Wong is equally adept with his Szechuan dishes, imbuing them with both pungency and piquancy--the dry-fried, cumin-spiced lamb and chewy dan-dan noodles in smoky chili oil are textbook perfect.

Also good: Eggplant stuffed with shrimp paste; shrimp in rice-noodle crepes; diced chicken with chilies; fried-flounder casserole with tofu and mushrooms.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 08/17/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews