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Eat Feature

Chinese

Posted 3/4/2009

Grace Garden Chinese Restaurant

1690 Annapolis Road, Odenton, (410) 672-3581, gracegardenchinese.com, $$-$$$

Early adopters have long weighed selfishly keeping this seemingly nondescript Odenton eatery a secret against promoting it to ensure continued operation. Don't let the tiny strip-mall habitat fool you: Grace Garden offers arguably the best authentic Chinese food in Maryland. The chef is formerly of the venerable Hunan Manor in Columbia, but here he gets to explore other regional variations and the results are spectacular. Sichuan triple treasure (spicy beef tongue, tripe, and tendon) is ridiculously good. Note that a few of the more complex dishes must be ordered days in advance.

Mr. Chan Szechuan Restaurant

1000 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville, (410) 484-1100, $$

Among vegetarians, Mr. Chan's has long reigned supreme. Seemingly a mid-range Chinese joint in Pikesville, Mr. Chan's is actually the go-to date or large party/special occasion place for tasty fresh Asian food. The service is impeccable and the prices fair. And what's more, with real meat entrées next to faux-meat offerings on the menu, it makes for the perfect place for vegetarians to break bread with carnivorous family and friends. Start with an order of sushi--both the nasu-ten (eggplant tempura) maki and shiitake maki are heavenly--from there you really can't go wrong.

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