With its red walls and double-sided fish tanks, Seven Seas is one of the most eye-catching Chinese restaurants around. The tanks and the name tell the story: Seafood is king. Some items, like sweet Dungeness crab with vinegar and salt, and lobster with ginger and scallions, may mean penny-pinching on sides to stay within the Cheap Eats budget, but they're worth it. Fish right out of the tank–depending on the season it might be tilapia, rockfish, black bass, or Atlantic cod–are a bit easier on the wallet. Order them simply steamed with braised garlic or in a winning ginger-and-scallion combo. You don't need much to enhance these plates, maybe snow-pea leaves or Chinese broccoli and a noodle dish.
The kitchen also does a nice job with Manila clams with shredded ginger, and scallops on the shell with black-bean sauce. For the seafood-shy, black-pepper beef short ribs, spicy tofu with chili oil, shredded pork with hot sauce, and roast duck Canton-style are all deftly done. A new health-conscious menu offers such dishes as chicken with Chinese herb soup, free-range poultry, and line-caught fish.
Seven Seas Restaurant, 1776 E. Jefferson St., Rockville; 301-770-5020.