Tianjin Bai Jiao Yuan Dumplings, Beijing
No, I didn't intentionally try to do an American Presidential tour of restaurants in China or anything. This chain across Beijing is famous for having "hundreds" of different kinds of dumplings (think: different stuffings). Coincidentally, it turned out that George W. Bush himself dined at this very restaurant, and they featured a special "Bush menu" too. Well, we didn't order that, but we got tons and tons of dumplings, stuffed with everything from pork to shrimp to veggies to crab meat and a lot more. The wrappers didn't necessarily stand out as anything spectacular, but the stuffings were decent, and it's kinda cool to eat so many kinds of dumplings while you're in Beijing. I really liked their potstickers too, as they had a nice crispy, crusty, and greasy bottom.
We also got some non-dumpling items, including some kind of lamb with spices reminiscient of Indian food, a cold wide rice noodle dish in a light vinegary dressing, and a refreshing soup, which was interestingly based on cuttlefish eggs. This place isn't known for their "water cooked fish," but we got this anyway since my time in Beijing was limited. Indeed, right away you could see the huge difference between the Sichuan food in Beijing and Shanghai, as this was spicier and more numbing (while sitting in a huge submersion of oil). It still wasn't nearly as spicy or numbing as some of the more dedicated "water cooked fish" places that I had been to in Beijing a couple years ago (nor was it as strong as Chuan in Singapore), but the fish was tender and was very tasty with the oil. It also wasn't overwhelming with its numbingness. (I've gotta get out to Chongqing to get the real thing one of these days though.)
The only drawback of eating here is all the raw garlic (including the pickled cloves in the vinegar dip). Sure, it tastes great, but be sure to brush your teeth before going back into the office.