Peking Gourmet Inn is such a wonderful yet odd restaurant. Walk in and you are taken to a different world.
Chinese servers and hosts, dressed up in vests and name plates, greet diners at the door. As a hostess checks for a table, the eye is drawn to a dozen framed photographs of the owner with presidents Bush and Clinton, John Travolta, ambassadors and military generals. Walk further into the restaurant, and every inch of wall space is covered with more framed photos of “D.C. famous” faces.
Peking Gourmet Inn was first opened in 1978 by Eddie Tsui, who decided from day one that Peking duck would be his restaurant’s specialty. Over 35 years later, this is still the must-order dish for PGI diners.
After ordering the famous Peking duck dish, a woman dressed in white with a black bowtie and a chef’s hat set up a tray next to our table, where she carefully sliced super thin pieces of duck onto a plate. First, the skin; then, the rest of the meat. We were ultimately served three plates of duck: Two were covered in slices, the other with the drumstick legs.
The dish costs $42, and it includes enough food to feed two very hungry people. With the duck comes a dozen house-made pancakes, spring onions and hoisin sauce. Our waiter rolled the first pancakes for us, then allowed us to do the rest.
Not only was the duck very well made, but the whole PGI experience – the tentative service, the décor, the odd location and the famous faces – make this our ITC dish of the week. Come back every Wednesday for more foods you’ve got to try around the District.
Peking Gourmet Inn is open at 11 a.m. every day, closing at 10:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are strongly recommended, so call 703-671-8088.
Images by Sophie Pyle and Lucien Zeigler (c) InTheCapital