Until a year ago this was a neighborhood restaurant serving Chinese-American cooking. Then it added 100 authentic Szechuan dishes–the kind the Chinese eat in the provinces, which makes China Star one of the very few places in the region where you can get that interesting cuisine. The old menu remains, so diners can choose from a wide range of Chinese-American and authentic Szechuan dishes. Many of the latter are spicy; the degree of heat is indicated by one chili pepper, two chili peppers, or a star, which means, according to the restaurant, that the dish is "numbing."
The appetizer list is long, varied, and appealing. Try room-temperature salty duck, mixed-flavor chicken, or five-spice bean curd, or warm crispy shredded tofu. Northern-style dim sum is available, too–among the treats are pork scallion pie, baby wantons with chili sauce, and steamed dumplings. Good main courses are spicy beef shank, braised fish, filet mignon with sour mustard, Lake Windless prawn, and, for the daring, princess pig's feet. Beer starts at $2.50 a bottle.
China Star, 9600-G Main St., Fairfax; 703-323-8822.