Editors' pick

A&J Restaurant

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

2006 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006

The noise and wait at these sibling Chinese restaurants in Annandale and Rockville are offset by a long menu of small plates that runs the gamut from mild to wild. On the subtle side are sweetly spiced steamed spareribs served atop sweet potatoes, and cool julienned seaweed tossed with crunchy bean sprouts and sesame oil; slightly more sassy is a bowl of pleasantly chewy noodles dressed with hot sauce and scallions. In between are respectable beef dumplings, foot-long fried breadsticks and the simple but pleasing combination of boiled peanuts, fresh cilantro and velvety matchsticks of dried bean curd. My preference is a seat in the Annandale location, the walls of which are dressed up with wood carvings and a handsome mural above the tiny open kitchen, but the satisfying food and gentle prices are the same in Rockville.