Cheap Eats 2011: A&J Restaurant Rockville

These dim sum houses are as notable for what they don’t offer as for what they do. They don’t take credit cards, employ the cart system of their weekend-only competitors, or serve alcohol. That they manage to draw crowds is a testament to their consistency and value–not to mention the excellent attentions of the blue-jeaned waitstaff.

The menu is inspired by the starchy carbs of northern China, and that should be your focus in ordering–look for sesame cakes (on weekend mornings, get them filled with scrambled egg), pork-filled wontons in a bowl of red-chili oil, and giant baton-shaped crullers. For a change of pace from all that starch, add an order of garlicky pickled cucumbers and boiled peanuts.

Also good: Dan-dan noodles; boiled peanuts; spicy pickles; noodles with ground pork and bean-paste sauce.

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.