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Tony Cheng's Seafood Restaurant & Mongolian Barbecue
By Phyllis C. Richman
Washington Post Restaurant Critic
From The Washington Post Dining Guide, November 1996

| 619 H St. NW
(202) 371-8669 (Seafood)
(202) 842-8669 (BBQ)

Hours of Operation and Prices
Lunch: M-Sat 11-3; Entrees: $6-$12 (BBQ: $8.50 buffet)
Dinner: M-Th 3-11, F-Sat 3-midnight, Sun 11-11; Entrees: $8-$25 (BBQ: $14 buffet)
Dim Sum: Sun 11-3; Entrees: $2.35-$8

Other Information
• Credit Cards: AE, MC, V
• Reservations: Recommended
• Dress: Casual
• Parking: Street
• Nearest Metro: Gallery Place-Chinatown

Washington hasn't much more than a hint of a Chinatown, but through the years Tony Cheng has populated it with several restaurants. These days, he's concentrating on two restaurants in one building: Tony Cheng's Seafood Restaurant (second floor) and his Mongolian Barbecue (first floor).

The seafood restaurant is enormous, anchored with a tank of live lobsters and Dungeness crabs. The menu, too, is extensive, going well beyond seafood. At lunch dim sum is served; on Sundays it's wheeled around on carts. But if you tried only dim sum, you'd think this was a pretty pedestrian place. In fact, much of the menu would leave that impression. The most worthwhile dishes are seafood, especially fresh shrimp, wrapped in lotus leaves and steamed in spicy soybean paste, and Dungeness crab strewn with scallions, ginger and onions. It's the ingredients that stand out here: whole fish, shrimp with their heads, snails, clams, oysters. And the choices are many. Two pages of dim sum, dozens of noodle dishes, and a wide selection of vegetables keep company with the Chinese restaurant standards.

At the Mongolian Barbecue, self-service combines with showmanship to produce a favorite meal of the $10-lunch crowd. The salad bar is raised to new heights as customers circle the buffet, piling bowls with sliced raw meats and vegetables that the chefs season and cook on a big grill. The browned ingredients are flipped into a clean bowl, and that's lunch. Back at the table, the mixture is stuffed into sesame-studded rolls or piled on rice. With a free nibble of roasted peanuts and spicy pickled cabbage and a fortune cookie for dessert, the Mongolian Barbecue can offer a hefty meal tailored to your taste.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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