Good Fortune

2646 University Blvd. West

Wheaton

929-8818

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Prices: Most dinner entrees $8 to $13.

Cards: MasterCard, Visa.

This is a handsome new Chinese restaurant, big yet inviting, with a remarkably extensive menu. It includes a broad selection of seafood, from the expected shrimp and scallops to the more unusual conch and frog, plus Cantonese specialties ranging from the reassuring soy sauce chicken to the exotic duck feet with black mushrooms.

That makes this a great place to explore for new dishes. But the adventure isn't cheap -- most of the items are priced a dollar or two higher than the average. And it isn't guaranteed to make you happy -- there are some clunkers amid the jewels.

Here's a rundown of some of the good and not-so-good dishes. Use it as a guide to begin your explorations, but bear in mind that it represents just a smattering of what's available at Good Fortune.

The fried bean curd appetizer is exemplary, shimmery-light, in a thin, delicate batter. The other fried dishes are just as good.

The shrimp balls, for example, are flawless, dense but not heavy, with a robust shrimp flavor. The cuttlefish appetizer is superb, fresh, snowy white, thinly sliced, marinated and served in a slightly sweet soy-based sauce. (The portion easily serves two or more.)

The steamed dumplings, on the other hand, have been a disaster, filled with a mealy pork-and-shrimp mush.

A simple yet satisfying entree is the Cantonese fried chicken, fresh-tasting and admirably moist, with a crackly brown skin. Even more impressive is the Cantonese soy sauce chicken, marinated and then steamed in a lovely, slightly sweetened soy sauce -- this is one of the tenderest, juiciest birds you'll find.

Oysters are a good bet too. The ones on the half shell with black bean sauce are excellent, immense and very fresh. The sauce is unusually good, not excessively salty or gooey. The fried oysters are probably another good bet, if the other fried dishes are any indication.

Several dishes -- shrimp, scallops, squid, clam, frog -- are labeled "salted and spicy." These items are nicely deep-fried and, their names notwithstanding, are just slightly salty and mildly spiced. The squids were overdone to toughness, but that might have been an isolated flub. Still, you might want to try the shrimp or scallop version, just to be on the safe side.

A gem of a dish is the rice noodles with shredded pork and spicy vegetables, actually an immense soup with a rich, beautifully flavored broth, fresh, firm noodles and a hefty portion of tender sliced pork. (Note that there's a duck version too.)

Finally, a couple of bummers to avoid. Shrimp and scallops in butter sauce, listed as a chef's specialty, sounded intriguing. Butter in a Chinese restaurant? It turned out to be a skimpy portion of seafood in a cornstarchy, flat-tasting sauce. At $12.95, definitely a mistake.

The dozen or so "hot pot" casseroles also sounded irresistible. Unfortunately, the one billed as "grouper filet" was more shadow than substance. It was somewhere between a soup and a stew in consistency, with extraordinarily bony pieces of fish and a thick, dully flavored sauce. At $10.95, another mistake.