A Year In Food

From New York to Costa Rica to Europe to California: 365 Days of Dining Out

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Feb. 27.



Lunch -

Peking - 115 4th St., Charlottesville, Virginia
Wonton soup, Chicken with Cashew Nuts
$10

After Davin and Jason finished filming their scene in Colin's movie, we wandered down the Downtown Mall in search of grub. Because it was Sunday and two o'clock, a lot of options were closed. We settled on Peking, a Chinese restaurant that is perhaps one step above every other generic Chinese restaurant you've ever been to.

Charlottesville is a pretty good food town offering more variety than most other areas of the same size. But when it comes to Chinese, it is almost across the board depressingly terrible. The choices are bland and uninteresting, especially compared to all of the Chinatown restaurants I'd grown up on. There's almost no dim sum, no ambitious soups, no interesting noodle dishes, no entrees that rise above passable. Until Marco and Luca came around (I was eager to go, but it was closed on Sunday too), there weren't even any dumplings of merit.

But of what choices there are, I've decided through many disappointments that Peking is the best. It is at least, as far as I know, the only Chinese restaurant to attempt to bridge the dim sum gap, selling beef, chicken and shrimp dumplings (yes, this passes as innovation in Charlottesville). Also, for the takeout joint-traditional menu it serves, it does a fairly good job at executing it. Sure, it is sometimes just as bad as the rest, but unlike the other restaurants, it has good days.

We seem to have caught it on a good day. The wonton soup, while nothing special, was tasty and had good-sized wontons. The Chicken with Cashew Nuts was of similar caliber, filled with a nice amount of chicken chunks and lots of cashews. The brown sauce complemented the dish well. All in all, it was a nice, relaxing finale (and a pretty decent meal) to an exciting and busy weekend visit.
6/10

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