Newsstand
12/17/14 10:04pm
JUNIVEAL

Juni’s veal and sweetbreads with quinoa and forest mushrooms.

Ever since I first tasted sweetbreads I’ve been a big fan. Whenever I see the veal thymus—aka sweetbreads—on a menu I order it. Rarely do I ever eat it with actual veal though. So I was glad to have dined at Juni last week where Shaun Hergatt has a veal and sweetbreads dish as part of his tasting menu.

Hergatt, who grew up on a cattle farm in Australia, counts himself a sweetbreads fan. Like the rest of Juni’s menu the veal and sweetbreads dish changes with the seasons. Currently, it’s in the winter incarnation. That means quinoa and several types of mushrooms. (more…)

12/16/14 2:00am
SUGARCLUB3

‘Egg pan’ at the newly expanded Sugar Club.

I am not sure whether brunch is eaten in Thailand. I prefer to think it’s not. For the purpose of this dispatch though, I had a lovely two-part brunch in Elmhurst’s ever expanding Thai town. Stop number one was the newly renovated Sugar Club. In addition to seating and room for an entire table laden with prepared foods and desserts, the expansion includes a café area, which serves up desserts and a savory breakfast called egg pan ($5), or kai kra ta in Thai. (more…)

12/15/14 10:12am
SWINEWAFFLE1

Nothing quite says Carolina ‘cue like spinach pie.

Much like Tyson Ho, pitmaster and proprietor of Arrogant Swine, New York City’s only Eastern North Carolina BBQ joint I am a fan of the spanakopita, or spinach pie. Or at least I am a fan of the idea of it—shattering layers of phyllo filled with a flavorful mixture of spinach and cheese—which is never attained. The ones I have are usually soggy or stale. Not so for Ho’s spinach pie ($6), which is crunchy and crispy thanks to being cooked in a waffle iron. (more…)

12/12/14 11:33am
DUNGENESS CRAB

Photo: John X. Choe

When I was a kid my father and brothers used to catch blue claw crabs. Eating them was a fun, but messy process. These days I don’t have much patience for that process, but I do enjoy N.Y. Noodletown’s  salt baked soft shell crabs, and I love munching on the pickled crab in a Thai papaya salad. Believe it or not after more than 30 years of eating Chinese food, I had yet to eat a Dungeness—or donkey as my father used to say—crab until last week. Fresh seafood is a staple of Cantonese cuisine, so what better place to try the giant crustacean than Flushing’s Canton Gourmet. (more…)

12/11/14 2:27pm
DANNYSTEAK

This porterhouse will satisfy any carnivore’s cravings.

And to think I almost missed out on one of the greatest steak experiences in Queens. It all happened like this. I’d been leading an epic Flushing Chinatown food tour all day. By the time 5 p.m. rolled around the last thing on my mind was more food, and then I remembered a couple of friends had invited me to check out Danny’s Steak House in College Point. So, as am I often called upon to do, I reached down and prevailed, and I am glad I did. The warm room in what was once a German restaurant with Sinatra playing in the background proved to be a perfect antidote to the Chinatown’s hustle and bustle. And the steak, perfectly pink with a nice crust was pretty darn good too. I even managed to find some room for a bite or too of cheesecake from neighboring La Cheesecake. It was lighter than air, which a was damn good thing considering how much food I had put away that day!

Danny’s Steak House & Oyster Bar13-46 127th St., College Point, 718-961-1688

12/09/14 1:49pm
KULU2

Kulu’s sawdust pudding is way better than it sounds.

There are more than a few a misconceptions about Chinese desserts floating around. There’s the completely wrong-headed notion that Chinese civilization was exposed to sugar later than its Western counterpart and therefore its desserts are simply not as good. Another perhaps less foolish notion, of which I am personally guilty, is that all Chinese desserts are either heavy and buttery like egg tarts and jindui, the fried Chinese “doughnut” filled with red bean paste.

As I’ve learned from experience with the wonderful dou hua or flower tofu from Soybean Chen, these Western misconceptions are just that. Last week Jayson Chong, owner and creator of Kulu Desserts, helped me to further dispel these lao wai misconceptions by introducing me to his more modern, lighter take on Chinese sweets. (more…)

12/08/14 12:34pm
SPACASTLE2

Eel hot stone bibimbap at Spa Castle.

Spa Castle, a five-story jjimjilbang, or Korean spa, in College Point is one of my favorite places in Queens. The Castle features several saunas of varying temperature, including my two favorites: the mud-walled Loess Soil room, which is a whopping 190 degrees and Iceland, whose frigid interior resembles an undefrosted walk-in freezer. There is of course spa food—grilled salmon, asparagus, fruit, even lasagna—to be had on the same floor as Sauna Valley. I never eat it. That’s because there is a decent Korean cafeteria of sorts on the top floor. And when in Rome, or College Point . . . (more…)

12/05/14 10:39am
NYFCSICHFRONT

Spectacular Sichuan street food can be had at No. 25.

“It’s the same thing as New World Mall Food Court,” a local restaurant owner said of downtown Flushing’s latest entrant in the Queens Chinatown food court game. Indeed the first thing one sees when entering the month-old New York Food Court is Tokyo Express, a fake Japanese chicken teriyaki joint that looks suspiciously like the one in New World Mall. And, yes just like at New World Mall Food Court, there’s yet another branch of Lanzhou Hand Pull Noodles as well as several spicy stir fry by the pound places, including the ridiculously named Incredibowl. Nonetheless I’ve been able to ferret out some good stuff. Let’s start with Szechuan Taste, No. 25, which lies just beyond the jivey Japanese. (more…)

12/02/14 4:56pm
MANJOO1

At the new Deli Manjoo Korean sweets are selling like hot cakes.

“Is there a Korean donut place like that one in Eater,” my doughnut obsessed pal asked via text message the other day. “Not sure,” I responded, but there are at least two places that sell piping hot Korean sweets. Deli Manjoo, the newest, opened in the bustling J-Mart supermarket a few days ago and is doing a brisk business. (more…)

12/01/14 1:10am
PLANTLOVE5

Plant Love House’s yum num tok.

It’s a good time to eat Thai in Queens. Arguably this has been true since Sripraphai Tipmanee opened her namesake restaurant in Woodside some 25 years ago. Of late though, Woodside and Elmhurst have blossomed into a Little Bangkok, with the emergence of spots like Khao Kang, Paet Rio, and Eim Khao Man Gai. The latest entrant into this arena of deliciousness is Plant Love House.  Judging by the logo of a street cart, this is back home hawker fare. This oddly named restaurant run by Peak Manadsanan and her family opened a week or two ago with an abbreviated menu in a space that had housed a Tibetan restaurant. Before that it was a Chinese noodle and dumpling house, so you could say that things have sort of come full circle. (more…)