Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday; 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday.
Atmosphere: Plaincome very casual.
Price range: $3 to $9.50; many dishes in $4 to $5.50 range.
Credit cards: Visa and MasterCard.
Special facilities: Street parking only; boosters available but no highchairs; accessible to wheelchairs; carryout. Washington Post
The New Village Restaurant on H Street is a plain, noisy, but good Chinese restaurant whose quality and authenticity are attested to by its Oriental clientele. With one or two caveats, Western families will enjoy the fresh ingredients and spirited cooking of the New Village, too.
The place itself is decidedly unglamorous: plastic-topped tables and utilitarian tableware convey all the charm of an undecorated lunchroom. Menus and a slip of paper are put on your table when you sit down, so you can write out your own order.
If you have a question, you may not know whom to ask, since one waitress may bring your drinks and another your silverware. But if you can live with a little confusion -- and what parent can't? -- you'll get great food at the New Village.
We heard that the New Village served dim sum, steamed and fried Chinese dumplings and pastries our family loves. Among local restaurants offering them, many do not serve dim sum at dinnertime, so we were pleased to find that New Village would make dim sum after 5 p.m. for $1.50 per order.
Instead of ordering soup, we ordered three varieties of dim sum to share as an appetizer: har gow, steamed shrimp balls; fun gor, a dumpling like the shrimp balls but stuffed with meat; and hom gok, fried dumplings.
New Village has one of those lengthy menus with combination plates and Column A and Column B. It is possible to order steak kew and egg foo young, but when a menu offers you hundred flowers with shrimp balls, and duck feet with Chinese broccoli, rice noodles and lotus root, it seems a shame not to be a little bit adventurous.
Our bow to tradition was an order of moo shi pork, $5.25, which our daughters love unequivocally. That having been done, my husband and I felt we could experiment a bit with the other dishes.
We ordered fried shredded beef with satay, $6. We were curious about chow foon, and having discovered that it was a noodle dish but not a soup, we ordered it with seafood for $6.75. We thought fried crab with spring onion and ginger was tempting, but finding that it was cooked in the shell, we passed it up. Finally, with another thought for a dish the kids would surely like, we ordered sizzling chicken en casserole, $6.50.
All the food was very good, each dish well prepared in its own fragrant, flavorful sauce. We would not order two of them again because of difficulties they posed for the kids, however. The sizzling chicken, which we thought would be a sure-fire hit, sizzled as it should, and was delicious. But the meat was not boned; it had been cleavered into small pieces, bones and all -- difficult for small children to eat, and older ones (ours) didn't want to be bothered.
Seafood chow foon was a wonderful combination of seafood and vegetables which uses as its base a broad soft noodle so tender it almost melts in your mouth. But aside from the lovely shrimp and bay scallops in the dish, there were other sea creatures, like tiny squid, that our daughter wouldn't try. Beef chow foon next time.
Shredded beef was not fried in the way we think of it, but was tender and sauced with satay, a piquant but not hot barbecue-flavored sauce. Moo shi pork, it goes without saying, was delicious: the pancakes light, the filling flavorsome, the plum sauce tart.
The New Village is not a restaurant to go to with cravings for dessert. Fortune cookies are handed round with the check, which was a very palatable $39.75 for five of us, tax and tip included.