My absolute favorite thing about food is sharing it with people. Food to me is about community and spreading joy. My friends know I love to host people for dinner and parties so I can experiment with new recipes. I also love to go to restaurants with my friends to share a wonderful culinary experience.
Last night, I invited a group of friends to dine with me at Q by Peter Chang in Bethesda, MD. Chang is a Chinese chef who specializes in Szechuan cuisine. He has a series of restaurants in the DC area, one of which is Q that opened in 2017.
I have dined at this restaurant once before and have ordered take out a few times. This, however, was my favorite experience there by far. The food was sublime, and I had great company to share the experience. Dining experiences with six to ten people are ideal for getting to try a wide scope of the menu without breaking the bank. You just need to insist that no two people order the same thing.
We each picked out a cocktail to sip outside while we waited for our food. I tried the Mai Tai, which was so fruity and refreshing. We ordered a few appetizers to share: dry-fried eggplant, crispy pork belly, hot & numbing beef, and scallion bubble pancakes. I can’t go to Q without getting the dry-fried eggplant.
Dry-fried is a technique often used in Szechuan cuisine where you fry something without a batter, but the frying process draws out all the moisture resulting in a crispy texture. Chang’s dry-fried eggplant are light and crisp and served on a bed of chiles. These flavorful sticks will have you addicted.
Last night, we absolutely devoured this dish, so quickly that we ordered a second one before we even ordered our main dishes. Another favorite of the evening was the bubble pancake, which came with this scrumptious curry dipping sauce. I wanted to take a quart of that sauce home to have in my cooking arsenal.
For entrees, we ordered two of the Szechuan double cooked pork belly, and one each of the hot and spicy fish in clay pot, the Cumin shredded chicken, the crispy diced beef with peanut, the fresh chili prawn with vermicelli and zucchini, the Emperor’s fried rice, and the Szechuan pepper beef tenderloin.
I personally ordered the fresh chili prawn. This dish was visually appealing with its bright and colorful display. Bursting with flavor, the prawns covered in a bunch of chili peppers and scallions sat on a bed of zucchini. The meal was light and fresh, perfect for a summer evening.
I also tried most of every other main dished ordered by the group. My favorite was the hot and spicy fish in the clay pot. This dish was fully bodied both texturally and flavor-wise. The sauce was spicy and packed full of warm, delicious flavors. The fish…well…I need to take a pause to compose myself because this was the most divine fish that I have ever eaten. It was absolutely succulent and just melted in my mouth.
The other dishes were also fantastic. I have never tried at dish from Q that I didn’t love. Chang truly knows how to develop a flavorful menu that keeps you wanting to come back for more. He is constantly changing the menu, so you can expect something new to try every time you dine there.
We absolutely devoured our food and greatly enjoyed our dining experience. The service was excellent, and overall, it was an excellent dining experience. I honestly cannot say enough great things about this restaurant. There is nothing else like this in Bethesda.
*This post reflects my honest views. I did not receive any compensation or other incentives to post this review.
Q by Peter Chang
4500 E W Hwy #100, Bethesda, MD 20814
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