New Meiwah as Good as First
Alexandra Greeley - Special to the Journal
If you have followed the openings and closing of Washington's multiple Chinese restaurants, you may know the name Meiwah. You also may know the name City Lights of China, a well-regarded Dupont Circle hangout for the young and hungry.
Its former owner, Larry La, moved on to bigger and fancier digs downtown, and if you believe all the signs of success, has opened a second restaurant in Chevy Chase, perhaps even bigger than the original Meiwah.
What makes the two Meiwahs appealing is that their menu incorporates both Americanized Chinese and more traditional dishes, adding to the comfort level of all patrons concerned.
As for the menu, the crispy shredded beef ($14.95) is a totally addictive way of eating beef, which has been cut into very thin strips then deep-fried until mahogany colored and coated with a sweet-hot mixture that makes the meat glisten. Served with clumps of broccoli florets, and of course, steamed rice on the side, this becomes a meal in one for dedicated beefeaters.
Interested in seafood? You must try the shell-on jumbo shrimp with spiced salt ($14.95), one of the best takes on shrimp in town. Not skimping on the dish, the cook has selected plump prawns - nearly the size of small lobster tails - bursting with flavor and large enough for a platter of 10 pieces or so to be more than enough for two or three people. Pan-fried until the shells become crispy, and seasoned with a salty-garlicky mixture, the prawns are a masterpiece.
Tag onto your order the cold sesame noodles ($3.95), which are truly chilled but not very flavorful. That and the side dish of eggplant in garlic sauce ($8.95) were no match for the two main dishes, and were better replaced by possibly the snow peas in ginger sauce ($3.95) or Chinese roast pork ($4.95) to start, and the pan-fried string beans Szechuan style ($8.95) to accompany the main course.