09/24/13 9:45am

Dim Sum at East Ocean, Dani’s Pesto Slice are Queens’ Best Jury Duty Lunches


Dim sum at East Ocean Palace will lift your spirits if you are on jury duty.

“A food writer?” Judge Ira H. Margulis asked as I squirmed in my seat hoping not to be picked.”Well, what’s good to eat around here?” “With the exception of Dani’s House of Pizza it all stinks,” I replied. As a reward for my culinary candor both the defense attorney and the assistant district attorney deemed me fit to sit on a jury. The case was expected to take a week or less. It wound up taking 10 days.

In those 10 days I found only two things that were truly delicious. One was the dim sum at East Ocean Palace (113-09 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills), a short walk from Queens Borough Hall. If only I’d served in Manhattan, then I could have undertaken a survey of the neighborhoods Vietnamese sandwiches, Cantonese roast meats, or eaten myself silly at Xi’an Famous Foods. Alas I was serving my time in Kew Gardens, where East Ocean Palace is the only game in town for good Chinese. The dim sum—shrimp in rice noodle, flaky pork pies, and dumplings—was quite nice, but one juror can only eat so much dim sum.


Dani’s Pesto slice makes for a fine light jury duty lunch.

As I mentioned to Judge Margulis, Dani’s House of Pizza (81-28 Lefferts Blvd., Kew Gardens) makes some mighty nice pizza, particularly the pesto slice ($3). I was very disappointed to find them closed for lunch on Mondays. So when I returned the following day, I immediately ordered a pesto slice. I love how the oil in the pesto slightly fries patches of the crust. And the flavor of the pesto is lovely, so much so that I ordered another slice.

We were typically given an hour and a half lunch so on one day I shot over to Phayul in Jackson Heights. Much as I love this Tibetan place it’s better for a leisurely lunch. And on another day I hit up nearby La Boulangerie for a sandwich. I suppose a taco from the cart on 71st Avenue and Austin Street would also have been nice. The sad truth about jury duty at Queens Borough Hall though is that the surrounding neighborhood is practically devoid of anything good to eat. I suppose it could have been worse, I hear the area by the Jamaica courthouse is even more of a culinary wasteland.


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6 Comment

  • Joe – no love for Homestead deli ? They make pretty awesome heroes, especially if you ask them to top it with their homemade cole slaw or cucumber salad. You can get a nice smoked salmon on pumpernickel with cucumber, for instance… or my favorite, bloody roast beef with mayo, tomatoes and slaw. Tasty stuff.

    • Wayne,
      I think they were closed for vacation when I was on jury duty. I will have to go back and try it out for Sandwich Wednesday!

      • You won’t be disappointed … Other favorites there are the herring in cream, landjager, pate, and german potato salad (with bacon). Their homemade strudels in the window are also very good

  • Don’t knock the food in Jamaica. Options there are getting better all the time. City Ribs and many of the places in Jamaica Market as well as Margherita’s pizza are all great options.

  • Just wanted to say thanks. A few days after reading your blog post I was called in for jury duty myself. And lo and behold, I was sent to the Kew Gardens location. Grabbed a couple of slices at Dani’s and really enjoyed them!