A & J Restaurant is tucked away in the Sunshine Shopping center (Think Sushi house, Joseph A. Bank, Entenmann’s) on Southbound Rockville Pike. Hungry and desperate for something new; the Mrs and I set out for adventure: Dim Sum style.
Atmosphere:: Entering A & J is like entering any small Asian restaurant in Montgomery County. Chinese paintings and wallpaper, ~30 tables, mid-backed chairs are standard here. Look around and you’ll even see the numerous ‘Cheap Eats’ awards Washingtonian Magazine has bestowed upon them over the last decade. The restaurant is well lit with no pretense for mood setting. Not a place for the overly romantic, but might still make for a fun date.
Food:: Let me first start by saying there is no Americanized food here. Should you seek General Tso and his chicken, check down the street. That said, ordering can be very tricky. The menu items are first listed in Chinese, then English, and with no elaboration of what exactly it is you’re attempting to order. Thankfully you circle what you want on the menu and turn it in to your server! Tea is served immediately as you sit down and comes at no added cost. We had several steamed dumplings, some beef on crackers, a dessert pastry, and I was brave enough to try the Thousand Year Egg. The food was freshly prepared and tasty, albeit a bit oily.
Drink:: All we had here was the house tea. Very good and FREE!
Service:: We were promptly greeted by a cheery young lady who seated and served us. Service is quick and to the point. Some may find this off-putting and mistake it for rudeness. In the Asiatic cultures, waiters are to be prompt and professional; something we Americans sometimes aren’t accustomed to! When not waiting tables, I saw the staff having a good time with some toddlers that came to try their first dim sum meal. Overall service was good.
Parking:: Parking is plentiful. Shouldn’t have a problem. Watch out for inattentive drivers blowing through stop signs.
Final Thoughts:: This restaurant was fun to try, inexpensive (Entire meal came out to $25 for two people + tip), and filling. I can’t decide if it’s average or good, but we’ll call it good all the same. I think this would be a good place to try authentic Chinese/Taiwanese food without the risk of spending a lot and not liking it. Like I said before, this is a CASH/CHECK ONLY establishment. Closest ATM I found was 2 blocks South.