At the suggestion of my buddy Marty, a bunch of us ate at David Chu’s China Bistro in Pikesville. We got a heads-up from Marty that David Chu’s is a KOSHER Chinese restaurant where you’re not going to find pork or shrimp dishes on the menu. We went for dinner on a summer Wednesday early evening and were surprised to find the parking lot in front of this “stand alone” restaurant packed – clearly, David Chu’s is a popular place! As we got seated (and passed by a small sushi bar!), we couldn’t help but notice that 3 out of 4 male customers were wearing yamakas! (Marty shared that David Chu’s was one of a half dozen kosher restaurants which was popular with Baltimore’s large orthodox Jewish community).
We munched on some Chinese crackers our server provided while we waded through the menu options. (Fortunately, the warning signs that we saw from the greasy deep fried won ton wrappers and thin sweet sauce served with them weren’t indicative of the rest of our meal!) There was a large variety of standard Chinese dishes (minus any with pork or Shrimp! <Wink>. We noticed that entree prices were several dollars more expensive than we’d typically expect from local Chinese restaurants (e.g., The prices on the day’s “specials” menu ranged from $16 to $21); 100% Kosher foods just cost more we guessed. The pricing motivated 5 out of 6 of us to order from a special dinner combo section which offered a choice of over a dozen entrees for $13.95 which included choice of an egg roll or cup of soup and choice of fried rice or steamed white or brown rice.
We decided to share a couple of appetizers (most $3-$9) and decided to try the Chicken Toast ($6 for 4 pieces – a kosher substitute for Shrimp Toast?) and Scallion Pancakes ($5 for large pancakes). The Chicken Toast wasn’t bad but neither was it particularly memorable; by contrast the Scallion Pancakes with an interesting sauce were good and worth ordering again! Next came soups and egg rolls. Pierre thought that the “wonton soup with a beef base was unusual but excellent and very different”. Marty and John both had the Hot & Sour Soup and liked it enough for both to rate it a “Thumbs Up!”. Tom and Paul both got an egg roll – Tom commented on how having beef rather than pork in the egg roll changed his perception (both egg rolls got devoured!)
Our main courses continued with Thumbs Up! approvals from all of us! Marty, Paul and Joel all enjoyed the Veal in garlic sauce with broccoli. As you can see in the photos below, portion sizes at David Chu’s are generous!
Pierre enjoyed his Chicken with Cashews (he found that “the sauce was very sweet so I had plain rice to cut balance out the sweetness”).
Perhaps the star of our evening’s entrees was Tom’s special Young Chow noodle soup ($14.95) which he had ordered from the regular menu. Spanning almost the full width of the big bowl that it arrived in, a fried egg omelet made a big impression on all of us (it also proved to be right tasty) Lurking under the egg surprise were pieces of beef and chicken along with veggies and lots of thick rice noodles! The beef broth at the base of the dish was tasty but the portion was so generous that Tom left a quarter of it behind!
We got a big surprise at this point that we weren’t expecting! A girl who was celebrating her birthday at a near by table brought over half of her unfinished (Kosher!) birthday cake and said that she would like to share it with us. We were honored by this kind act (Marty noted that tradition is that doing a mitzvah (i.e., a good deed) on your birthday brings good luck for the rest of year). Half of the big chocolate iced layer cake gave each of us a slice of birthday cake for our dessert!
Outside of Marty, the other five of us had never been to a strictly Kosher Chinese restaurant and weren’t sure quite what to expect. We were all pleased with our meal (and as Pierre observed: “David Chu is a good chef”) We all ended up glad that Marty introduced us to David Chu’s China Bistro!