For the second half of a family M&M Day (movie and meal), our nomination for best supporting Chinese dinner went to the Seven Seas Restaurant on Georgia Avenue NW, where east and west of Rock Creek Park meet - and where even the most picky of chopstick-wielding children will find sustenance.
The decor is sort of 1940s Radio City Music Hall, with illuminated painted mirrors. But that's not what you go there for.Besides, there is a fish tank up front when the children need a stand-up break. And it's informal, which means the kids can see in the open kitchen door where the fastest cleavers in the east are at work.
It helps, of course, if everyone in the family likes Chinese food; then you can mix it up in grand style. On this occassion even our 7-year-old daughter, often known in Oriental eateries as Toy With Chow, ate heartily.
The leadoff hit with her as well as with son, 10, was not food, but drink: something called the Seven Seas Punch. It's a snazzy-looking, frozen daiquiri type concoction that's a nice break from the usual soft drinks or milk; and from the sip I wangled, who knows, it may even be good for you. The soft drinks are less, but this treat is sizable at 95 cents. Adult drinks, in this instance a banana daiquiri and a mai tai, arrived in swimming-pool-sized glasses.
On to the food. The children chose and old standby, egg drop soup, and gave it highest marks. My wife and I shared a bowl of hot and sour soup that really serves four, we discovered.It was a lively beginning.
Then, from the more than 60 Northern Chinese dishes offered, we moved on to an egg roll apiece (they're two for $1.20. They're huge, fresh and don't even need any of the various accompanying sauces.
Moo shi pork, next, is a sort of arts-and-crafts experience that the kids loved. The pleasant, low-key and attentive waiter places a light crepe pancake on each plate and then it's your job to wrap in the pork-strip filling. One order, at $4.25, came with 7 pancakes (even though the menu only pledged 6) and was more than ample for the four of us.
It was a good thing that we had eased up on the ensuing orders, for every single one is of King Kong proportions. One order of sweet and sour chicken and one of sliced beef with snow peas proved to be excellent selections for universal family consumption.
A confession now: For four, we still had ordered too much. But at the Seven Seas, they're only too happy to put the leftovers in cartons, since they do carryout business, too.
So we didn't have dessert. But almond as well as fortune cookies came anyway. The fortunes, by the way, are of the oldie-but-goodie, optimistic variety, except that the old Chinese philosopher, He Who, has been replaced by He That (as in "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding.")
The Seven Seas is neither large nor swank. It is the modest production of a family that cares about the preparation and service of food. With advance notice, all sorts of special orders can be prepared, too. Our bill for the whole works was $27.43 plus tip.
Open everyday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Parking in rear. No credit cards. Reservations not necessary but worth discussing for large parties who'd like special treatment.