Best Reason to Get Back Together With Small Plates

A&J Restaurant
1319 Rockville Pike, Rockville, (301) 251-7878; 4316 Markham St. NW, Annandale, (703) 813-8181
For all the small plates restaurants in the District, you’d think at least one would wise up and start bringing the tapas with a side of Valium. No dining experience creates more anxiety than shared small plates, from the eventual check-splitting to the near-certainty that your dining companions will devour whatever you ordered. It’s all the more confounding, then, that small plates restaurants have ballooned in the District while the plates themselves stay at entree-level prices. There’s a way around this, and it’s called A&J Restaurant. This cash-only dim sum restaurant with locations in Rockville and Annandale has so many good dishes, you won’t end up with any duds. From noodles in hot and sour sauce to pork potstickers, A&J is the rare restaurant with shared plates that justifies ordering more than one dish per person. The prices are so cheap—dinner for two with four plates runs around $11 each—that splitting the check is a treat. Maybe sharing isn’t so bad after all.