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June 12, 2008

A Chinese restaurant find


Crowson Guy has put in a major plug for a Chinese restaurant in Odenton called Grace Garden. I know how desperate some of you are for authentic Chinese food, so I thought you'd like to know about it. Plus, he sent me two reviews he posted on, and you know how much I like mini-reviews.

"If you go, be sure to choose from the traditional Chinese menu, not the crappy Chinese American one," he told me.

Here's what he had to say on Chowhound: ... 

It's 10 at night and I'm again eating the leftovers from our spectacular lunch today at Grace(ful) garden -- Fish noodles like nothing you have had before, delicate squiggles with shards of Chinese sausage, shitake mushroom slices for texture contrast, and fresh cilantro in some po tofu, the first I have had that reminds me of being in China, with a fierce bite, soft texture and finished off with the sharp tingle of ma la: Sichuan peppercorns (the chef asked me if I liked them, and was prepared to make the dish milder).More later...

If you can, go with a party so you can sample several items from the amazing 'Traditional Chinese' menu, and the Order In Advance dishes are worth the advance planning. But otherwise, get in the car, travel up I 95 from the DC suburbs, or down 95 from Baltimore and a few miles east on 175 to get a wonderful treat.


Tonight, 12 chowhounds and friends had tea smoked duck, peacock chicken ( a cold steamed whole chicken bathed in an aromatic and spicy sauce), Yunnan pineapple steamed rice with shrimp, an off-menu dish that Chef made for us, Pork belly braised with Mui Choy, (think sauerbraten with better meat and more indulgent), Twice cooked pork, home grown baby broccoli bathed in ginger and garlic, E noodles with shitake noodles-- the noodles start off soft, then bounce back, Taiwan fish, vivid with the taste of fresh herbs,
And 2 dishes I thought were not so successful: Tofu with crabmeat sauce: not enough contrast between the mild tofu and the mild crabmeat (but the dish still got finished!) And Tamarind shrimp: huge shrimp, but the flavors did not quite meld.

Ten dishes, that included a whole duck and a whole chicken, plus seconds of the broccoli, were ample for us 12, and only cost $18 per person, tax included!

I know Odenton may be a bit of a schlep from your place, but the flavors, and the family that run the restaurant, make it well worth the journey.

(Photo courtesy of the Grace Garden Web site) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:33 AM | | Comments (14)


Definitely sounds worth a road trip. I'm tired of having to go to Rockville or Wheaton for good Chinese food. How about the next reunion there some weekend instead of the cocktails?

So you won't be surprised, the delightful owners' main trade is carryout and the Spartan interior reflects that. It's the inverse of fancy.

I will second all of crowsonguy's comments. This place is a delight, the food is simply amazing, and the owners are gracious and sweet. Since our first impromptu chowhound outing I've been back several times.

Don't ask, just go.

The menu online looks really good! I think FHJ's suggestion deserves discussion.

This is Gonna Be Good also praises them. They have

Now I just have to figure out where Odenton is, and if the bus goes there.

Don't go! Whatever you do, stay away! With gas at $4/gallon, do you want to trek all the way to Odenton, to eat the likes of tea smoked duck, fresh Chinese veggies, and homemade noodles? I don't think so!
Bleh, I tell you. Stay away!

Sign me up for the Sandbox Field Trip to Rt. 175. I think I may order everything on the menu.

There is a pretty decent Chinese food place in North Plaza off Joppa Road, but the name escapes me at the moment.
From the outside, it doesn't look like much but its rather nice inside with linen tablecloths and all. And the egg drop soup actually has taste, unlike some others.

Rob is thinking of the Lucky Duck Inn.

Eh. I apparently screwed up my link to This is Gonna Be Good. I'll do it the bad, plain text way. Watch for line wraps.

Lissa- mouth watering from that revue! baltoellen - Had to go to Essex today (from Reisterstown) for a work related thing, and that $4 a gallon stung, but I'm ready to hop over to Odenton even at that price to give this place a try! I guess I can conclude that i defintely care about eating more than work! Yes I "do want to trek all the way to Odenton, to eat the likes of tea smoked duck, fresh Chinese veggies, and homemade noodles"! Would leave right now if possible!

If you're planning to go with a large group, you'd best call ahead and give them a head's up. If you do, you won't be disappointed, but it is just Chef Li and his woks and his wife in there.

Here's another great blog with photos from a recent meal we had there:

Joyce, yeah, I nearly rented a car when I saw that blog review (they do a good number of local restaurants, btw). The skilletdoux review was good, too.

There should be a law against good food not being bus accessible .

Joyce W: You've been warned! Stay away! Far away! (Anyway, there is a chance that they'll move closer to Balto in the future--but we'll see!) BTW, if you DO go and DO want tea smoked duck (but, again, really don't know why you would....), you need to order in advance.

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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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