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May 15, 2008

A tale of two Chinese restaurants

PX00009_9.jpgLast night Gailor and I ate in our second restaurant that serves traditional Chinese American food in as many days.

We almost never eat in Chinese restaurants because there aren't any close to us. In this case, I was watching her play a tennis match northwest of the city and the following night one near Green Spring Station. It was late both nights -- after 8 p.m. -- and she wasn't dressed (how shall I put this delicately?) for anything approaching civilized dining. ...


Anyway, Tuesday night we ended up at Jumbo Seafood, a family-run operation in a strip mall in Pikesville. News tidbit alert: This very traditional Chinese place opened a sushi bar a week or so ago.

What's weird is if you Google the name, there is a chain of Chinese restaurants called Jumbo Seafood -- in Singapore.

I'm not going to do a review of the food for you here. I'll simply say the prices were great. (Except for the chef's specials, nothing was over $15.)

Of course, I forgot my camera. I would have photographed the storefront window, which consists of a blown-up and mounted review by Elizabeth Large that appeared in the Sun Magazine, when we still had a magazine. It's probably older than Gailor.

The people are super nice, and the pancakes that came with the moo shu vegetables were as delicate as tissue paper.

The next night we were at Joey Chiu's Greenspring Inn. We had just as good a time, the people were just as nice; but it was much more expensive, and frankly, the food wasn't as good. If you're craving beef with broccoli and moo shu vegetables and wonton soup -- that kind of Chinese food -- head straight for Jumbo Seafood.


(Gene Sweeney Jr./Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 12:08 PM | | Comments (13)


While I like both the Greenspring Inn and the Bamboo House locations for their nice vibe, the food has not been anything special for a long time. The food is just flat.

The Golden Key is a Chinese carryout in Reisterstown. They have the most gloriously old timey Chinese food of my childhood memories. They are the only place left, I think, that makes pork fried rice with lots of nice big chunks of pork and no peas and carrots which IMHO don't belong in fried rice anyway! Their spare ribs are fat and succulent and their prices are pretty moderate. The only thing with them is no ATM/credit machine - cash only. Still totally worth the trouble if you want it old school!

See, told you there isn't good Chinese out here in the suburbs. I think there is a Jumbo Seafood on York Rd. in kind of a strip mall kind of thing. But I wouldn't consider that Pikesville. It did offer sushi.

Regina is right the other two places are just lacking.

This Jumbo Seafood is at Sudbrook Square, 48 E. Sudbrook Lane. It's not part of a chain, I don't think. EL

Man, I absolutely LOVE Jumbo Seafood. I hope you had a good experience....

Yes, very. EL

Mother's Day evening, my wife cajoled me out of my sports-watching stupor to head north to Towson and the Orient Restaurant. As is our wont, I went for the crispy duckling and my wife debated netween the shrimp with lobster sauce and moo shu pork, finally settling on the latter. As usual, the service was genial and the food delicious. With two glasses of Chardonnay, the bill came to under $35. Yestday, I finished the duck for lunch. It was still succulent. Today, I scarfed down the last of the moo shu pork (with the extra pancakes and plum sauce our waitress thoughtfully packed) and there was still almost too much to finish. We first discovered the Orient when we moved to Baltimore in 1991. And it remains as busy as ever. It's hard to beat consistency and value.

Isn't that an oxymoron: a traditional Chinese restaurant with a sushi bar???

That's why I thought it was newsworthy. EL

Michel - I'm not familar with the Orient Restaurant in Towson. As such, I've probably driven past it manyl times and not noticed. Where is it located?

Rosebud -- The Orient is on York Road, directly across from the Towson Library and next door to the new Indian restaurant, Cafe Spice (another dining place that's worth discovering.)

Rosebud -- the Orient is across from the Towson Library, at 319 York Road.

You've really got my mouth watering. Does anyone know a good Chinese restaurant in South Baltimore? (Please don't refer me to Schezwan, which ain't what it used to be.)

Thanks!! I'm going to try the Orient very soon.

The Orient is our favorite Chinese/sushi restaurant for family dining. Judy (server) is great with the kids, as is Marty (who busses the tables). They are always happy to customize a dish, or make something that isn't on the menu ("Could I have something with scallops and snowpeas, but spicy? And my son wants chicken lo mein with no vegetables and miso soup with no scallions but with extra tofu.") There is always a very diverse group of diners -- ages, ethnic groups, dressed up, dressed down. Just a relaxing, friendly place to eat. They do a big business in take-out sushi orders, as well. And it's cheap!

The last time I ate at Jumbo seafood, every course had a long black hair in it - soups, appetizers, both entrees. Needless to say we never went back. The food was ok, but not that fabulous.

My husband and I like the hole-in-the-wall New Han Dynasty near the Double T at Joppa and Belair Roads. The food is always consistently delicious, and cheap, and they've just put in a sushi bar.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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