Friday, October 12, 2012

Bowie Restaurant Project: (58) New China

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

New China, 3544 Crain Hwy.
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 10/1/2012
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 4
Pre-Foursquare Visits: Yes
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Bowie has plenty of Chinese restaurants. It has some very tasty Chinese restaurants, such as Grace's Fortune and Golden Pavilion. New China isn't in their league, but it has something worthwhile that makes it stand out -- a buffet.

New China is the closest Chinese restaurant to my office, and so I had stopped by there for takeout a few times when working late. Recently, however, I had my first sit-down visit, and an opportunity to try the lunch buffet. If memory serves me correctly, it was around $6.50, and there was quite a variety of choices, including a few American dishes (which I passed on). Although my colleague's made-to-order General Tso's Chicken was slightly fresher than its cousin on the buffet, nothing tasted tired or like it had been sitting out for hours -- despite the fact that we were having a late lunch.

Often when you want to dash out of work for a quick lunch, you don't have a lot of sit-down choices. New China offers one you won't regret, and there are plenty of opportunities to order off the menu as well. Service was friendly and efficient. A dinner buffet offers what I can assume is a similar experience.

New China has the distinction of being the southernmost non-chain restaurant in Bowie (north of two Subways, a Pizza Hut, and a Ruby Tuesday). All the more reason to give it 3.5 stars and look forward to the opening of Lima's Chicken next door later this month.

Bowie Restaurant News

The Gazette has an article about the poor performance of the Bowie Town Center food court. Some parts don't really add up -- if the problem is the design of the mall, why has business dropped by so much in the last two years, when the design hasn't changed. Still, there are some interesting insights in the article. Clearly the design is a problem, since the developer says they've learned not to put food courts in similar malls. Also, The White Tiger is thinking of leaving if business does not pick up. In my view, the only thing I'd miss if they closed the whole food court would be the bourbon chicken place.

Also, Lima's Chicken is on Facebook! I'm really looking forward to this place opening up. I went by this week when I took the above picture of New China, and they seem to be making more progress.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Bowie Restaurant Project: (57) Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill,  15209 Major Landsdale Blvd.
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 9/4/2012
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: Yes
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Since KBQ is relocating to DC, it is becoming even harder to find good BBQ in the Bowie area. The one BBQ restaurant within the city limits is Smokey Bones. I had visited it years ago and remembered dimly that it was decent, but a takeout experience after moving to Bowie left us disappointed. An in-person visit was necessary.

Unfortunately, that visit confirmed the disappointment. The best way to describe my reaction is that the BBQ was about as good as you'd expect from a chain restaurant that doesn't specialize in BBQ. I've had much better luck with Famous Dave's (closest locations in Laurel or Annapolis) and certainly Red Hot & Blue (closest locations in, um Laurel or Annapolis).

My lunch partner observed that the restaurant was a decent place to bring a group of people for lunch -- there were a bunch of empty tables, and none of the food was particularly off-putting. (Vegetarians would probably not be thrilled with the choice, though.) The service was good until after our food arrived, at which point our waiter was hard to find.

I'm torn between 2 and 2.5 stars. Rather than inaugurate the quarter-star rating, I'll round up to 2.5 on the basis that as the only BBQ restaurant in Bowie, at least it provides some variety. I'm still looking elsewhere for my regular fix, though. I had a decent sandwich a few weeks back at Dickey's in Gambrills (Route 3 just north of Crofton), and I need to check out the similarly-located Rusty's.