Panda Kitchen enjoys role in family dynasty

Approach: Part of a Maryland chain, the restaurant has found a way to deliver simple, good Chinese cuisine.

Restaurant profile

Howard Live

April 19, 2001|By Jody Vilschick | Jody Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Panda Kitchen is part of a Maryland Chinese restaurant dynasty, according to owner Jin Chang.

Chang has worked in Chinese restaurants since he was 12, starting in his grandfather's Fort Washington restaurant, House of Chang.

"When I was out of high school, I practically ran it myself," he says, referring to his long years of experience in managing a restaurant.

In addition to Panda Kitchen, Chang is opening Dragon House in Frederick. His brother will soon be opening a restaurant in Millersville.

Chang's philosophy is to "keep everything simple," he says. "Simplicity is key to running a restaurant like Panda Kitchen, where there's a lot of carryout."

In keeping with that approach, the menu offers basics such as varieties (pork, chicken, shrimp, beef or vegetable) of fried rice, chow mein, lo mein and egg foo young. With more than 170 entrees, there is something for everyone.

In addition to basic sweet-and-sour chicken, shrimp or pork, there is Moo Shu chicken, shrimp, pork, beef or vegetable (served with four pancakes).

Among "Chef's Suggestions" are traditional favorites, as well as "Hawaii Five-O" (jumbo shrimp, scallops, beef, roast pork and chicken with mixed vegetables and chef's brown sauce), Seven Stars Around the Moon (chicken, beef, shrimp, roast pork, lobster, scallops and crab meat with mixed vegetables) and Club Sea Food (king crab meat, jumbo shrimp, fresh scallops and lobster meat sautM-ied with assorted Chinese vegetables in a white wine sauce).

Chicken lovers can choose from Moo Goo Gai Pan, chicken with pepper and onion or chicken with a variety of vegetables or sauces. Beef eaters have similar choices, in addition to pepper steak with onions or tomato, and sliced beef with scallions.

There is a wide choice of seafood or pork dishes.

The menu also offers vegetarian dishes, including Buddhist Delight (assorted vegetables), sauteed Chinese vegetables, bean curd with garlic sauce, Mapo-To Fu and General Tso's Bean Curd.

If you're on a diet, there is Vegetable Garden (steamed broccoli, snow peas, baby corn and other vegetables), Green Jade Chicken (steamed sliced chicken with mixed vegetables), Twin Seafood (steamed fresh jumbo shrimp and scallops mixed with snow peas, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts), To-Fu Delight (steamed bean curd with water chestnuts, carrots, dried mushrooms and Chinese vegetables) or Three Garden (steamed mixed vegetables with fresh scallops, jumbo shrimp and sliced white-meat chicken).

Having been in the restaurant business so long, Chang values knowing what his customers want.

"I recognize our regular customers and know their special preferences, like if they don't want any sugar in it because they're diabetic, or don't like nuts," he says. "I value my customers - the people in River Hill are very kind."

Panda Kitchen

Where: River Hill Shopping Center, 6030 Daybreak Circle, Suite A350, Clarksville; 410-531-7866.

Prices: Appetizers: $1.10 to $8.75; lunches: $3.95 to $5.50; entrees: $5.55 to $10.95.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

Credit cards: Visa and MasterCard

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