el jefe's Profile

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Indian/Thai/Vietnamese in New York.

There are/were 3 Keralan restaurants in that neighborhood that may still exist.
Five-Star in Nassau County may or may not exist any more. I haven't been past in about 2 years.
Kerala Kitchen and it's newer incarnations -- Taste of Kerala Kitchen etc, changes owners so often that i can't keep track.
I've been going to Taste of Cochin on Union Turnpike but I've only been for their lunch buffet where they always Fish Molly (unfortunately they don't use kingfish), and two excellent Keralan vegetarian dishes that they rotate. Their palak paneer and goat curry, while not Keralan, are always good too.

Aug 26, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

I don't remember Scott's. It was probably too upscale for my parents in the '60's or '70's.
I actually miss the Howard Johnson's on Queens Blvd next to Alexander's. Specifically for the ayce fried clams.

Aug 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Outer Borough Memories

Broadway Sandwich Shop for the best Cuban food in Queens.

Bownie for Sri Lankan.

Burmese Cafe

A Fan Ti, maybe the original Dong Bei restaurant in Queens.

Aug 19, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

kavkaz (kavkaze / kavkazi) food in kensington/ditmas/midwood?

I've never had a "service charge" added to the bill at any of the Bukharian restaurants in Rego Park or Forest Hills, though I've only been there with groups of more than 4 on two occasions.

Aug 15, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Inviting Professional Voices to the Community

My first reaction was going to be "I wonder what Jim Leff has to say." My second reaction is to say "read what he wrote above and go to his link."

I've only been reading and writing here for 14 years. It's been pretty easy to spot the shills but the decline of Chowhound has been going on for a long time. Now it will be no better than TripAdviser and Yelp. :((

Sky Cafe - Indonesian in Elmhurst.

How was the Mie Complet?

Jul 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Sky Cafe - Indonesian in Elmhurst.

Quick review based on one visit. Three of us went to Sky Cafe yesterday, the new Indonesian restaurant on Whitney Ave in Elmhurst. We shared 5 dishes; all were good to excellent. The Beef Rendang was the best version I've had in any of the Queens Indonesian restaurants. We're looking forward to working our way through the rest of the menu.

Service was friendly and excellent. Most surprisingly, even though every table was taken at 4:00 in the afternoon and the restaurant has only been open for four days, the kitchen was up to the task. Dishes came out quickly, the timing was perfect.

Jul 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Best Filipino restaurant in Queens?

Reviving this mostly 11 month old thread, I finally made it to Tito Rad's. Too bad I didn't go before they moved to their new space next door. Maybe the kitchen and staff could have better handled the number of tables they had before the move.

We ordered 3 dishes:
Ginataang Langka -- excellent; it says "with shrimp ..." so it could have done with more than two size 61/70 shrimp, but it was still the best dish of the night.
Sizzling Sisig -- by far the driest, toughest version I've ever had.
Inihaw na Baboy-- small serving for the price and nothing special about it.

The Crispy Pata and Kare Kare on other tables looked good.

The most disappointing part of the meal though was the service. Approximately 35 minutes after we ordered, a waitress brought us a new pitcher of water. That was still the only thing on our table. Three times after that, someone came by to say our food would be out "in a few minutes." "A few" turned into another 15. 50 minutes is unacceptably long. The waitress did apologize at the end in an attempt to salvage a tip for the staff. A complimentary avocado shake or a dessert would have been appropriate under the circumstances.

This was my first and probably last experience at Tito Rad's. I miss Mama Meena's. I'll be going back to Ihawan, Renee's, and Papa's Kitchen for my Filipino fix from now on.

Jul 16, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Khao Kang in Elmhurst?

Thanks, Polecat. It's nice to get actual recommended dishes.
I'll definitely try it on a Sunday for the Hor Mok.
That corner is "Little Thailand" with Ayada, Spicy Shallot, and Tea Cup, not to mention the Mai Thai Liquor Store

Jul 11, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Xi'an Food Stall in Flushing

I hadn't read this thread until now but I was there a couple of hours ago and they were very much open.

Jul 05, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs


There is still a Tulcingo (part of the original chain) on 102 St between National and Roosevelt. that was my go to place for Mexican before Brian S clued me in to Coatzingo. I haven't been back to Tulcingo often enough siince then to offer an opinion if it's still good.

Jun 26, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Jamaican food in Queens (and Long Island)

Any specific place?

Jun 24, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Jamaican food in Queens (and Long Island)

I've yet to find a Jamaican restaurant in Queens that I'd go back to but, admittedly, I don't get to southeastern Queens often enough.

The best jerk chicken I've had in Queens is when I do it myself, but most people think I cheat. Some s&p, then I marinate the chicken overnight in plenty of Walker Woods Jerk Sauce. Then roast it in the oven the next night.

I'll try St Best. Thanks.

Jun 23, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs


How are their lengua or chorizo tacos? Do they have barbacoa tacos?

Jun 17, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs


I wasn't impressed with their tacos. What do you like there?
I'm not trying to replace Coatzingo. I still love their entrees. I'm just looking for someplace with great tacos.

Jun 15, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Pye Boat Noodle Astoria 35-13 Broadway

I hope they use a little sugar in their dishes, like every restaurant in Thailand. Even without speaking any Thai, it should be pretty easy to tell them you don't want any.

Jun 09, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Best of the Best

Yes, Uncle Zhou's. They also do a Big Tray Crispy Chicken that, imho, is even better.

I guess now we can't use Big Tray Chicken for Jeff's food tour since we have 3 different votes for the best. They may all be phenomenal but obviously #1 is not "far and away the best more so than the number 2 best in the same vein?"

May 29, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Top 10 Recent Dining Experiences

That's a great list by StuartLF and now that I know the OP is from Miami, I'd make the following changes:
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Bens Best and Rincon Criollo but you can probably get equal quality for that type of food in Miami.
I'd add instead:
the Saturday night goat special at Coatzingo
Little Pepper for Sichuan.

Biang is excellent but I would go to the Golden Mall location one block away. This would allow you to choose from two dumpling vendors and an array of authentic regional Chinese cuisine.

And since there's only nine on the list above, I'd add Uncle Joes for Henan cuisine.

May 28, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Best of the Best

No I haven't. And that's my point.

May 28, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Sahadi's vs. Trader Joe's: bulk prices

While there's no doubt TJ's is a big business, it is not a public company as you claim. It is 100% owned by the Albrecht family trust. It's a family business just like Sahadi, just bigger.
Why do you want to penalize a family that employs 10,000's of people and pays them a pretty fair wage?
Keeping it food related, people seem to like their products too.

May 28, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Best of the Best

That's a great post by Swannee.
But what really makes this whole thread silly is, for example, that there are only two places that do Muslim lamb chops and, imo, Fu Run's are only second best. And I would have said that my favorite place for Big Tray Chicken is the best by far, but I've never tried Spicy Village so maybe it's only the best by a little bit.

May 27, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Spicy Lanka: Sri Lankan Cuisine Returns To Queens

Thanks. We asked the waitress and that was her answer. We just assumed it was an unfamiliar variety of bamboo. And, of course, now that you've supplied the link, it's common in many sambars.

May 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Spicy Lanka: Sri Lankan Cuisine Returns To Queens

I've been to Spicy Lanka twice now, the second time last night with a group of 4. It's a very limited menu and I've now tried one variety of almost every dish they offer except the biryani and fried rice.

Rolls and Patties -- all are freshly fried and are much lighter than they appear. Not greasy at all.

Vegetarian Thali -- it comes with 4 vegetable curries and there are only 4 listed on the menu but since they cook something different every day, there's some variety. Yesterday's selection was:
-- a chunky Dhal and Potato mash. I don't know if this was the dhal curry, the potato curry, or something entirely different.
-- Beet curry
-- "Banana Curry" which turned out to be a banana blossom curry. I've had this as a salad in many SE Asian countries but never before as a curry.
-- "Drumsticks", a very fibrous bamboo curry.
All were spicy and very good. The bamboo was the least favorite of our group but that was probably because of the texture and the need to spit out the tough outer shell.

Fish curry -- big chunks of kingfish in a delicious bowl of sauce. Probably the biggest hit of the night.

Ambul Thiyal (sour fish curry) -- this is a dry curry, made with tamarind. Most of us liked it but it is an unusual taste.

Kotthu Roti -- we had it with lamb. It comes as a well-plated huge mound. It looks dry. It's not. It was one of the moistest and most flavorful versions I've had. And big enough that we took half of it home.

Devil dishes -- I tried the chicken the first time I was there. I asked for it spicy. The hostess explained that they've had customers order it "spicy" and then send it back because it was too spicy. I explained that I've been to Sri Lanka and know how spicy the food can be. It came out perfectly spiced. Unfortunately, the chicken was overcooked and dry. The heat level of the sauce was great but I found it too sweet for my liking.

I loved Bownie but I think the food at Spicy Lanka is a little better. And there's no comparing the atmosphere. Hopefully Spicy Lanka is doing a good catering business because based on the number of customers I've seen, they won't be able to survive. It would be a shame if Queens lost its only Sri Lankan restaurant again.

May 21, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Bangane – A Korean Goat Specialist And One Of The Most Exciting Restaurants In Flushing

We went to Bangane on Wed night and got the 3-way Boiled Black Goat and the "Seasoned Black Goat Meat".
Both were excellent. Yes, the dipping sauce was like crack. Maybe it's the perilla seeds in the sauce that make it addictive. The panchan was disappointing, except for the lotus root, but we were there for the goat.

My sister in law explained the medicinal purpose of eating black goat meat. If you read in the papers about a 55+ year old man having a successful pregnancy .....

May 16, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Next Indonesian Food Bazaar: Church not Mosque

Because that's what they told him!

"I stopped in back of there recently and spoke someone who says they're not expecting those to happen this year."

The first one is usually in May. AubWah, do you have any info that it's happening?

May 15, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Bangane – A Korean Goat Specialist And One Of The Most Exciting Restaurants In Flushing

People who have an aversion to goat are also missing the best dish at Coatzingo.

Silverjay told me about Bangane. I've convinced my Korean sister-in-law to go with me, hopefully sometime later this week.

Any time you want to try something that "most people" will avoid, feel free to count me in. Silverjay knows how to reach me and my contact info is on my profile.

May 12, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Britain Indian Restaurant cheat

Obviously you've worked in the kitchens of some pretty despicable restaurants.

But if you didn't actually see them do it, do you really want to condemn them for it?

All I know is that it JonKyo, who speaks of the language being English though syntax it is not, says "I will not return." It seems like the restaurant figured out how to get rid of him. Maybe that's all it was.

May 07, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs

Low-key pub in Brooklyn or Queens with great burgers and beer

I've never been to the Bayside location but it doesn't meet your "close to Manhattan" requirement anyway.

I was going to recommend Donovan's in Woodside, but missed by a few minutes.

Apr 30, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs


In Luang Prabang, Tamarind is a good introduction to Lao food, even if the spicing is adjusted for western tastes. The owners and staff are very friendly and will explain everything you are eating and their tasting menu often has dishes that you'd have trouble finding elsewhere in LP.

Tamnak Lao is a little more upscale than many of the typical restaurants on the tourist strip and they usually do a better version of their Lao dishes than any of the others.

It's been a long time since I've splurged on the expensive restaurants in LP like 3 Nagas and L'Elephant so i can't give an up-to-date report.

Malee's, on the southern edge of town, does a great BBQ with an almost exclusively Lao clientele, but if this is your first trip to Laos and you only have a few days, it won't make your itinerary.

You should also go to the local morning market, about 2 kms south of town on the way to the waterfalls. It would make a great stop for breakfast or maybe lunch. It's one of the few places in LP to sample traditional Lao foods not prepared for tourists.

Op Ed Tuesday NYT: Queens Diversity and Eating

thanks for the history lesson but there was really nothing in that Oped piece about food, except this:

"Esquire dismissed the majority of foreign pavilions at Flushing Meadow as geopolitical “small potatoes.” "

I went about 50 times over the 2 years but I don't remember the food.

Apr 25, 2014
el jefe in Outer Boroughs