Judging Restaurants – Full Kee

I have lamented the fact that Chinatown doesn’t seem to have a lot of Chinese restaurants but I’ve realized that I don’t know much about the ones east of 6th Street, NW. Full Kee is located at 509 H Street, NW. This one looks like it might be the real deal. Any fans?

27 Comment

  • Truth: you’re going to find the best Chinese food in the area in Rockville. A&J’s, Joe’s Noodle House (not in Twinbrook but closest to that stop) on the Pike are legit, better and cheaper than what you’ll find in the city. Big Chinese/Taiwanese population in Rockville.

  • I’ve heard its very authentic for Catonese style food, but I used to live in one of the big highrises across the street, and that is probably the worset smelling restaurant in the city.

    • Amen to that – last time I was there, the place just reeked of raw sewage. That was several years ago, and I haven’t been back.

  • Roast pork wonton soup is best in DC

  • Go with the noodle or dumpling soups. If you go with the standard Chinese-American kung pao whatever, you’ve pretty much signed your own death warrant.

    Second Joe’s Noodle House.

  • If you’re into seeing bigwig lawyer types, I know quite a few of the faculty of Georgetown Law are regulars at Full Kee.

  • Second on the roast pork wonton soup, it is amazing. Another interesting factoid, the owner of Full Kee is also the owner of AYT Auto (14th, WV Ave), which is a pretty quality auto repair spot as well.

  • Mmmm, roast pork noodle soup & fried shrimp are the real deal. Now I’m hungry!

  • Haven’t tried Full Kee, but Full Key in Wheaton is really, really excellent! I’m sure they are not related, but just thought I’d plug one of my favorites…

  • Does Full Kee deliver?

  • I ate there a few weeks ago and it certainly filled up my kee!

  • Yep, pretty much echoing what everybody else has said, but Full Kee is about as good as Chinese food in DC gets. Which is to say it’s not spectacular, but definitely solid and authentic.

  • I’m a few blocks away and think I’ll make this my lunch option today. Truth is, the food is good but the place is pretty stinky. The roast pork wonton soup is amazing. So if you can ignore the smell (which I’m told comes from old pipes and plumbing, not the restaurant itself) you’ll walk away very satisfied.

  • I went there once. Ordered a glass of wine with my meal, took a sip and it was so expired, it tasted like vinegar. I sent it back, then watched the bartender carefully pour the wine out of my glass and back into the bottle. Don’t remember much about the food.

  • I second (third?) the Rockville comments. Bob’s Noodle 66 is still my favorite. Had an off the menu snow pea leaves with garlic the other day – amazing as a side dish. The Taiwanese “hamburger” is great too – think roast pork in a steamed bun. But Chinatown can work. Full Kee and Eat First are solid. Chinatown Express noodles are enjoyable, but not Bob’s. The roast duck and the baby bok choy with garlic at New Big Wong are really excellent. Then there’s the ma la options at that place on 14th St. NW, the name of which I can’t remember.

  • Best Wonton Noodle soup in DC. The broth is good and slightly peppery. Great with some roast duck.

  • @Vicky: You ordered a glass of wine at Full Kee and expected quality?

    As for the food, everyone’s already said it, but this is now among my top four choices in the District. (The other two being Chinatown Express for its noodles, and Sichuan Pavillion or Great Wall Szechuan House for anything prepared ma po/extra spicy.) The roast pork dumpling soup is indeed fantastic.

    • Yeah, I don’t know why I ordered wine there. Still – I didn’t expect to see them to pour it back in the bottle!

  • We used to go to Full Kee all the time, especially for their Kung Pao. However, we think that in the last couple years their quality has slipped a little… more celery and other cheap ingredients included as filler, and the taste seems seems to be changing for the worse.

    Now we prefer Great Wall Szechuan on 14th & P. The interior is pretty ratty, but the food is great, and they serve Ma La items, something that no one else in town seems to serve.

  • Haven’t been in years, but went with Chinese friends who ordered off the specials hanging on the walls. I think that’s the way to do it; it was excellent then. Didn’t notice it being stinky, but then again it was years ago when we went.

  • I’ve only been in to do the drunken chow-fest after the bars close – and this place very adequately does the job.

  • Full Kee is the real deal. I work in Chinatown at another restaurant and people in the know, know this is the place. It’s open until 2:00, the food is great and the prices are fair.

  • I was told to visit this place by people in New York, who knew of it not merely as the best in DC. But as one of the better Chinese restaurants (for food) on the East Coast.

    I have always liked what I had and found that the further you get from traditional American versions of Chinese food the better the food got.

    It is very rough in its presentation but order the Chinese Broccoli and frankly, you won’t care.

    Their Duck is also very good, very, very fatty. But then that is what Duck is famous for.

    China Express? around the corner is also good, but the noodles, though delicious are very oily (when ordered fried) and leave one a little queasy. Though they would also be very good if ordered in soup etc.

    After you finish your dinner at Full Key you can cross the street to the Irish Channel for a more authentically Irish place than the ironically named Fado (referred to as “Ire-Land” by my Irish friends.)

    Hurley on the TV, Live music and very good Guinness.

  • The smell wafting from the restaurant alone should have made me turn around – but I had been hearing good things. I should have gone with my fist instinct. The food was awful. If you want good food try Momiji down the street (or Royal Thai) or get the best deal in town at Chinatown Express – Stirfry Noodles w/vegetables for ~6 bucks (enough for two meals) with the delicious spicy oil (be careful it’s hot!). As a bonus you get to watch the noodle man while you wait 🙂

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