My first hint that we were going to like Grace's Fortune in Bowie? When we arrived on a busy Saturday night with reservations, we were seated immediately upon arrival. Even better: We were fortunate to be next to the pianist, who happily played our requests throughout the evening. As we read the menu, our server placed napkins in our laps and presented a light pickled cabbage salad (mixed with carrots, cucumber and zucchini) for us to enjoy. This had all the signs it was going to be an elegant and delectable evening.
With six of us at the table, we decided to sample widely from the extensive menu. We started with king crab meat with asparagus soup ($6.95 for two)--large hunks of crabmeat and fresh, crisp asparagus. Then we tried the Pu Pu platter, a combination of shrimp toast, spring roll, ribs, shrimp tempura and steak on a stick for $9.95. It was served on a Lazy Susan-type tray with a warmer in the middle to allow us all to enjoy the appetizers sizzling hot. The shrimp toast was excellent and the spring rolls were tasty, well-prepared and crispy on the outside. We also enjoyed the Bon Bon chicken, cold shredded chicken in peanut paste and chili peppers, which gave the dish a delicious spicy kick ($5.95).
Grace's menu offers wonderful low-fat dishes, so we started with Hawaiian Prawn ($14.95), one of the daily specials. It was an elegantly presented serving of jumbo prawns sautied with macadamia nuts, carrots, snow peas, pineapple, baby corns and red pepper in a low-fat Hawaiian sauce. We also tried Grace's Fortune ($15.95) off the Chef's Suggestions list. Sautied scallops and jumbo shrimp were beautifully served in a potato basket with snow peas, red pepper, broccoli and baby corn. Our third dish was the shrimp Hunan style ($11.95), which the menu lists as spicy hot. Is it ever! It was my boyfriend's favorite--fresh jumbo shrimp, served with fresh broccoli, mushrooms and napa cabbage in a spicy hot pepper sauce.
With six adults at the table, we had three more entrees to go. We ordered Kung Pao Shoun Ding ($12.95)--diced chicken and baby shrimp with peanuts in a spicy sauce. We also tried the beef with broccoli ($9.95), a generous serving of tender, marinated flank steak that was not oversalted as beef dishes can so easily be. Our world-traveling outdoorsman friend selected my favorite dish of the evening--Peking duck ($28.95). The lightly seasoned duck, served crispy golden brown, was presented whole at the table and then thinly sliced by our server and carefully laid in homemade pancakes with a light layer of sauce and thinly sliced spring onions.
To finish the evening, our server brought each of us a hot towel to cleanse our hands, a fortune cookie and an elegant demitasse cup of refreshing orange sherbet.
Grace welcomes her customers with a letter promising fresh ingredients and unique specialties that create a special dining experience. Everything we saw and tasted lived up to that promise.
Grace's Fortune, 15500 Annapolis Rd., #115, Bowie, Md. 20715; call 301-805-1108. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. All-you-can-eat Sunday buffet (Chinese dim sum included) 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., $12.95 for adults and $4.95 for children, children under 3 eat free.
CAPTION: Tang displays one of her restaurant's specialities.
CAPTION: Grace Tang, owner of Grace's Fortune in Bowie, promises a unique dining experience.