Friday, December 24, 2010

Restaurant: China Gourmet, Kensington

Restaurant: China Gourmet
Web Site:
Address: 3739 University Boulevard West, Kensington, MD 20895-2123
Phone: (301) 946-9400

Many Montgomery County restaurants come and go pretty quickly. As soon as you get used to one and it becomes a favorite, it goes away. In some ways, this is a story of two restaurants, one that's still around and one that is not any more.

China Gourmet is still around, in the shopping center at the pie slice of land created where Connecticut Avenue splits off University Blvd. in Kensington. It has a lot of windows facing the road, and a bar area in the back where the Kensington locals hang out (Kensington was a "dry" town historically - not anymore - and China Gourmet was technically out of town right across the street). It's fairly large and can hold a lot of diners, and also does a pretty brisk take out business.

Like most Chinese restaurants the menu is huge and varied. And, if you can't figure out what you want from the menu they are extremely accommodating about changes. Or, making up entrees on your own without a fuss. They are very consistent, and when I try new Chinese places I usually order something well known and use China Gourmet as the benchmark. I've actually been dining here since it opened, probably more than 12 years. I don't even remember when it opened anymore, it seems like I've been going there my whole life.

The owner of the restaurant owned at least three places I was familiar with. There is a restaurant "Moon Gate" in downtown Bethesda, and there used to be another one on Rockville Pike up near Woodmont Country Club called "Moonlight Gourmet". Moonlight was another one of our go-to's, and we liked how we had two great places for Chinese food depending on the part of the county we were in. Moonlight also had very consistent cooking, really great service, and were very flexible on menu changes. But, Moonlight didn't last. Don't know why, problem with the lease or something, but we were heartbroken when Moonlight closed because we were going there often as its closer to our regular dinner time travels. Fortunately, China Gourmet keeps going strong and is always there like an old friend, even when its been a while since we see them.

So, same ownership, same general area, same food. But, one restaurant lasts forever and one is gone in a few years. In Montgomery County, the second scenario is much more common than the first.

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China Gourmet

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