A Once Elusive Chef Plants Roots

PETER CHANG

20A Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850 (http://peterchangarlington.com/)

** and 1/2 (Good/Very Good)

Chef Peter Chang used to be a difficult man to track down. His story, at this point, is relatively well known. Once the chef to the Chinese Ambassador in Washington, D.C., Chang took his show on the road – and on the run – to various small restaurants up and down Virginia, constantly moving out of fear of being caught. Word would quickly spread of his whereabouts, crowds would follow, and – poof – Chang would move on. After many years, Chang has finally settled down and opened up several restaurants, including two eponymous locations in Arlington, Virginia and Rockville, Maryland. A recent familial outing at the Rockville location for my dad’s birthday revealed that the rumors of Chang’s skill are without a doubt true; and that his restaurant offers the best Chinese food to be had in the DMV.

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Elegance in an Unexpected Place

ROYAL TAJ

8335 Benson Drive, Columbia, MD 21211 (http://royaltajmd.com/)

** (Good)

When I first mentioned to a good friend of mine that I was starting up a food blog, we happened to be sitting and chatting about restaurants in the area to try. One of the recommendations for my new endeavor: Royal Taj, a Columbia restaurant tucked away in a small commercial center in a former Applebee’s. A little over a month later, my wife and I headed over on a whim for a Tuesday evening dinner. Though I went in expecting a solid Indian meal, after the showing by Royal Taj, I plan on returning with expectations of so much more.

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A Real Find in the Suburbs

ANANDA

7421 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Fulton, MD 20759 (http://anandarestaurant.net/)

** (Good)

Usually when you hear the words suburban restaurant, your mind will immediately start to see chains, Olive Garden, Chili’s, and TGI McFunster’s (thanks, Anthony Bourdain). But every once and a while, you’ll find something new: an independently owned and operated restaurant, with a fresh take. Enter Ananda, located in a building with no signage in the middle of the mostly residential neighborhood of Maple Lawn.

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