Cheap Eats 2011: Full Key

This always-slammed hole in the wall, younger sister to the Chinatown original, has never added seats to meet demand, never broadened its menu, never created a beer-and-wine list. It’s the same place it was when it opened in 1991. And why not? When you’ve been one of the area’s preeminent destinations for Hong Kong-style cuisine for two decades, why tamper with what works?

The cooking is sure-handed and consistent, excelling in a variety of ways: soups (the Hong Kong-style noodle with soup dumplings is superb), roast fowl and game (duck and chicken boast burnished, crispy skins and tender meats), hot pots (sizzling beef with black pepper is a gutsier, more authentic pepper steak), and tightly sauced stir-fries.

Also good: Shrimp and egg on rice; chicken with soy sauce on rice; Kingdom Pork Chop (with a sweet-and-sour sauce); Crispy Pork Chop With Spicy Salt; roasted-duck noodle soup.

Open daily for 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 Logan Circle.