Peking Cheers

From Kliman Online’s “Word of Mouth”

Any restaurant with a menu as long and varied as the one at Peking Cheers – the Chinese menu, that is, as opposed to the American-Chinese one that the staff invariably hands you if you’re not Chinese – is bound to require multiple (and far-ranging) visits from a diner looking to render any kind of reasonable judgment about the quality of the cooking. Still, I found myself wanting to like the place more than liking it my first time out. The cook comes to this Gaithersburg store front by way of Joe’s Noodle House, and a number of dishes are familiar to me from Joe’s, including a dish of minced leeks with minced beef, black beans and slivers of garlic. It was a keeper. But the Peking duck, though generously portioned (a whole duck for $13 – which only reminded me of the flinty serving the now-defunct Yanyu once offered), was slightly overroasted; a tofu and spinach soup was soothing if dull; a plate of stir-fried potato strips with chilis was bland; and a special of beer-braised brisket with turnips in a broth spiked with chili-oil was fascinating and smelled wonderful, but turned up too many gnarled bits of brisket.

-March 13, 2007