08/16/16 3:46pm
ASSAMLAKSA

Asam laksa is a great way to beat brutal heat and humidity.

As many C+M readers know, I’m a big fan of late night and early a.m. kari laksa runs to Flushing’s Curry Leaves. For years the spicy coconut-enriched soup bobbing with all manner of wontons and fish cakes was the only Malaysian soup I tried. Lately though I’ve come to appreciated kari laksa’s sour sister, asam laksa. (more…)

06/29/16 12:47am
GAMJA2

Getting to the meat of the matter at Murray Hill’s Jeonju.

The K-town in Manhattan with its abbreviated strip of Korean restaurants along West 32 Street pales in comparison to the vast K-tropolis that runs east along Northern Boulevard for hundreds of blocks. Ground zero for this Korean culinary wonderland is Mokja Golmok or Eater’s Alley, which surrounds the Murray Hill LIRR station. I’ve eaten at many of the places that ring the rail depot, Ma Po Korean BBQ for savory short rib kalbi and Nolbu Food for the Korean take on sushi known as kimbap and the blood sausage soondae.

One place I’ve never tried until very recently is Jeonju Korean Restaurant. I’ve passed it for years, so when a friend raved to me about the 17-year old restaurant’s gamjatang, or spicy pork spine stew I happily agreed to meet him there for a bowl. (more…)

06/07/16 11:44am
Because nothing says Korean food like Canadian ham.

Because nothing says Korean food like Canadian ham.

Back when I first moved to Queens there was a pizzeria in downtown Flushing called T.J.’s that sold a Korean-influenced slice. Apart from a generous serving of tangy, peppery kimchi it was a classic New York City slice. And T.J.’s itself was a classic New York City pizza parlor.

A few weeks ago some friends and I tried out Pizza Maru, in the vast K-tropolis of Northern Boulevard. If T.J.’s was a classic New York joint then Pizza Maru is classic Korean fast-casual spot. It’s Pizza Hut as envisioned by Korean businessmen, complete with four types of stuffed crusts and more than a dozen pies, including honey gorgonzola and Chicago style. (more…)

03/08/16 11:01am
danis1

A pesto slice resting atop a regular one at Dani’s.

I’m a simple man when it comes to pizza. Buffalo chicken, ham and pineapple and other novelty pies are not for me. I prefer an old-school NYC slice, as executed by New Park Pizza or Margherita. There are some notable exceptions to this otherwise rigid pizza protocol: the falafel slice at Benjy’s, Zuppardi’s fresh clam pie, and the pesto slice at Dani’s House of Pizza. That last one, a sauceless slice stained green by pesto and flavored with basil and garlic is utterly delectable. The way the crust fries in the oil from the pesto is an added bonus to this oddball slice.

Dani’s takes great prides itself on the sweetness of sauce on its regular slice. It’s a bit too sweet for this pizza eater, but that never stops me from getting one regular and one pesto. On a recent visit I had the brilliant idea of creating my own novelty slice, by stacking a pesto slice atop a regular. “It will be a veritable Christmas morning of a stacked slice,” I thought as I sipped a Coke waiting for the red and green slices to emerge from the oven.

(more…)

02/09/16 4:34pm
yensuji

Taiwanese Gourmet’s exquisite salted crispy chicken.

Taiwanese Gourmet is one of a handful of Chinese restaurants in Elmhurst that for one reason or another I have not explored. I’ve passed by it for years on my way to Elmhurst’s Thai Town and have seen it go through two name changes, but until just the other week I’d never dined there. (Believe it or not, even this intrepid omnivore has his hangups and blind spots.) But I’m here to tell you that I have seen the light, and it shines forth from Taiwanese Gourmet’s yen su ji , or salted crispy chicken ($8.95). (more…)

01/12/16 10:46am
whitspie

Surf and turf Rockaway style: The wood-fired clam and sausage pie at Whit’s End.

I’m not much of a beach in the wintertime kind of guy. But when I found out that Whit’s End Rockaway was still open in the winter, I knew I’d be taking that long bus ride down Woodhaven Boulevard, not for surf and sun, but for top-notch wood-fired pizza and other goodies served up with a healthy dose of attitude.

Whitney Aycock is a chef who gives a fuck. A fuck about food from dishes like pig tenderloin with baked tomato and mortadella toast to the wood-fired “Fuckin Good Burger,” to the dozen pizzas. In fact as my buddy and I bellied up to the bar he was giving a fuck to somebody who entered his establishment reeking of weed. Once the fellow was properly chastised Aycock turned his attention to my buddy and me. (more…)

12/29/15 11:26am
patty

Sybil’s dainty Guyanese beef and chicken patties are a perfect snack.

The other week I found my self hungry but not hungry wandering Hillside Avenue. I’d spent the morning showing a consulting client the best pastries and baked goods Queens has to offer and wanted a snack but not a full meal. For a moment I thought about Spicy Lanka. I love their food, but couldn’t justify paying for a meal when I’d just eaten half my weight in croissants and other goodies. And then Sybil’s Bakery came into view on the corner of Hillside and 160th Street. (more…)

12/08/15 11:17am
Latke and matzo ball soup, together at last!

Latke and matzo ball soup, together at last!

“I don’t even come here for knishes any more,” a gentleman I shared a table with at Knish Nosh said to me yesterday. “I come for her cooking,” he said of Chef Ana Vasilescu, who makes killer perogies among other specialties. I had come for a bowl of matzo ball soup.

“Better than my mother’s,” my new friend remarked of the classic Jewish restorative. “Mine too,” I thought, remembering that I don’t have a Jewish mother. Then I noticed two golden brown patties next to his soup. “Are those latke?” I asked. (more…)

09/15/15 2:26pm

yakcheese

There are cheeses out there that prove challenging to some palates and sensibilities, most notably the infamous casu marzu, or Sardinian maggot cheese which is actually quite tasty. And then there are the so-called stinky cheeses Tallegio and its odiferous brothers all which I find quite lovely. The most challenging two cheeses I’ve personally encountered are from Tibet. Both are made from yak milk. (more…)

08/18/15 10:08am
A variety of tastes and textures orbit shrimp past fried rice.

A variety of tastes and textures orbit shrimp past fried rice.

The old school Thai noodle soups and newfangled desserts at Plant Love House are so good that’s it’s all too easy to ignore the rest of the menu at this family-run joint in Elmhurst. I know this because it’s taken me months to finally get into the rice plates, which are home cooking of the highest order as prepared by matriarch Manadsanan Sutipayakul.

Khow klup kapi or shrimp paste rice consists of a mound of rice topped with stewed sweet pork. Orbiting the rice and pork are slivered mango, pork sausage, chopped long beans, red onions, chilies, ribbons of omelet, and cucumbers. Mixing the whole lot together results in a universe of Thai flavors—salty, spicy, fishy, sweet, and herbaceous—in every bite. (more…)