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Best Indian food in Queens (not counting Spicy M)

I have to agree on Kebab King. Absolutely fantastic; especially (not surprisingly) the kebabs. The Bihari beef kebabs and the boti (chicken) kebabs are just phenomenal. I am surprised you think the veg curries are good. I have found them to be inconsistent. I basically go there and just order one meat dish after another.

Definitely one of the best in the city, and I remain surprised by how little attention it gets here.

HH

Jul 21, 2007
huzzahhuzzah in Outer Boroughs

Trip Report - The Hague and Amsterdam

I just got back from a 2-week business trip to The Hague (Den Haag), followed by a few days in and around Amsterdam. As an avid Chowhounder (though infrequent poster), I felt I should put in my two cents on the places we ate.

But first I want to thank mgarland, whose thoughtful and thorough posting (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/366212) provided me and my wife with much direction.

Restaurants in The Hague

Bali Breeze
www.bali-breeze.nl
Zeestrat 58, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 360 06 50
One of the best meals we ate in The Netherlands. We ordered the rijsttaffel, which was expensive but definitely worth it; a truly delicious meal. Bright, vibrant flavors in virtually every single dish. I cannot remember everything we ate, but the satay to start was the certainly best I have had outside Malayisa, and perhaps the best I have ever had. Following the satay came eggs in red sauce, beef rendang, spicy green beans, a whole fish, and a few other items. All were delicious. I should also mention that the rice itself was phenomenal, steamed inside a banana leaf with nuts and spices. (The only unexciting part of the meal was a green curry, which was somewhat bland.) Overall, Bali was fantastic.
Highly recommended.

Dayang
Prinsestraat 65, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 364 99 79
Dayang was an interesting contrast to Bali. We again ordered the rijsttaffel, and got a relatively similar set of items (eggs in red sauce, beef rendang, spicy green beans, etc.). Everything was delicious, spicy, and flavorful, though not quite as lively as the food at Bali. Still, our meal at Dayang was €40 instead of €120, so Dayang was obviously a much better value. And you could get a truly amazing value ordering a la carte, which would cost maybe €10 each instead of €20, for a mountain of deliciousness.
Highly recommended.

Garoeda
Kneuterdijk 18a, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 346 53 19
We also had the rijsttaffel at Garoeda (i.e., Garuda, Vishnu’s mount), which was not good at all. Even though some of the dishes were “spicy”, in the sense that they were hot, none were flavorful. The beans, for example, were limp, watery, and barely even green anymore. It looked like they had been steamed for 6 hours. Everything else was similarly disappointing.
To be avoided

Restaurant Maxime
Denneweg 10B, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 360 92 24
Along with Bali, the other great meal we had in the Netherlands. Top-notch nouvelle cuisine for a reasonable price. Maxime serves two set menus, each for €29, I had one, my wife the other. Both were excellent. Indeed, every single item on both menus was delicious; weeks later, I can still clearly envision the flavor of their shrimp bisque. Wow. The black cod I had was perfectly cooked, and set it a ridiculously good sauce. Another highlight was the winelist; affiliated with a wine shop down the street, every single wine was offered by the glass, allowing us to pair wine with our food without spending a fortune. Sadly, I know of no restaurant in my now-native Washington, DC that is serving food of this quality at this price.
Highly Recommended.

Limón
www.limon.nl
Denneweg 39A, Den Haag Centrum
070-356-1465
A nice tapas place along the Denneweg. Everything I ate was good, fresh, and flavorful. I recommend their tasty sardines, grilled chorizo, and jamon iberico. The waitress was nice as well.
Recommended.

Pinocchio’s Pizza
Korte Poten 12, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 364 41 96
This appeared to be an attempt at New York-style pizza (rather than Italian style). But, as a New Yorker, I can confidently report to you that this was not good pizza; not terrible, but certainly not good.
Not recommended.

El Fogón
Javastraat 134a, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 392 47 84
An Argentinean steak place that was relatively expensive but not memorable in any way. You know a restaurant is bad when the salad bar is the highlight. I ordered corn on the cob, which for €5.50 was half an ear of limp, lukewarm grilled corn. And the steaks were also a disappointment. For €20.00, the steaks were relatively thin, not terribly juicy, and just not very flavorful. Also, they were not seared on the outside, so instead of being golden brown, they were grey. Uggh.
Not recommended.

Popocatepetl
Buitenhof 5, Den Haag Centrum
(070) 392 46 07
Uninspiring Mexican right in the center of town. You know exactly what bland Mexican food tastes like, so I’m not even going to describe it.
Not recommended.

La Mano Maestra
Noordeinde 138b, Den Haag Centrum
A nice little eetcafe along Noordeinde, the kind of place that really makes me feel like I am in Europe. Just a pleasant place to sit, drink coffee, and read the paper, plus they had quite good simple food. We really enjoyed their thick slices of brown bread served with goat cheese and honey. Tasty stuff.
Recommended.

[Ooh, I forgot one. In the Hague, on Oude Molenstraat, there is a shwarma place with a very typical name (something like Ali Baba) that also serves "Turkish Pizza", i.e., lahamacun (lamb "pizza" with cilantro and lime). I honestly don't understand why lahamajun isn't incredibly popular. It is a near perfect snack. This place was good, though the gold standard for me is a place in the center of Sanli Urfa, in eastern Turkey, up on the second floor, which served lahamacun wrapped in newspaper, a treat I will never forget.

]

Restaurants in Amsterdam

Japanese Pancake World
www.japanesepancakeworld.com
2e Egelantiersdwarsstraat 24a, Jordaan, Amsterdam
Following numerous recommendations on these boards, our first stop in Amsterdam was Japanese Pancake World. What a trip. This was the most chowhoundy place we saw in the Netherlands (Dayang in Den Haag a distant second). The owner, operator, chef---and indeed only employee---is a German guy (Joachim, I believe) who married a Japanese woman and through her, fell in love with Japanese pancakes. I highly recommend sitting upstairs by the grill so that you have a chance to watch him cook (they take surprisingly long to make; almost 30 minutes), but more to get a chance to talk to the owner, who is fascinating and profoundly devoted to the art of properly making these amazing creations. We had the Shogayaki Special Osaka-style pancake, and the Hiroshima-style pancake with mushrooms. They were both delicious but surprisingly different. The chef said that he was working on plans to expand internationally. Foodies everywhere can just keep their fingers crossed.
Highly recommended.

Bonjour Bistro
Keizersgracht 770
(020) 626 60 40, Rembratsplein Amsterdam
Uninspiring French food at fairly high prices. The only highpoint was the service; the waitress was friendly, and on the way out (it was Valentine’s day) they handed my wife a rose.
Not recommended.

Pygma-Lion
www.pygma-lion.com
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 5a, Amsterdam
(020) 420 70 22
A South African restaurant specializing in game. The highlight was the peri peri, devilled guinea fowl livers in spicy cream sauce, served Durban-style in hollowed-out bread. Very spicy, tender, and really quite delicious. The pumpkin papadam was also delicious. My wife had the “Bokkie’s Salad” with goat cheese, grapes and cashews, and I had “Eliza’s Salad” with sliced blesbok and parmesan. The salads, however, had waaaay too much dressing, and just weren't that good (though they were enormous; more than enough for dinner alone).
Recommended with reservations.

Pata Negra
Utrechtsestraat 124, Amsterdam
(020) 422 62 50
Mediocre tapas joint open late, but rather greasy and really nothing special (Limón in Den Haag was much less greasy and much better). The gambas al ajillo were sweet and very flavorful, but everything else was mediocre: the chorizo incredibly greasy, and the tortilla español was both thin and rubbery. Annoyingly, when the kitchen was closing, I asked if there was anything left I could order, and they pointed to the ham, so I did. However, they neglected to mention that while most things on the menu were between €4 and €7, the jamon iberico was €16.50. Anyway, I am being a little unfair. This place is more of a place to drink than a place to eat, and it had a great drinking atmosphere.
Meh.

Beyrouth
Kinkerstraat 18, Amsterdam
(020) 616 06 35
A little Lebanese place; we ended up sitting at the bar and ordering the 10-mezze platter, which was pretty good. In particular, I liked the selection, moving past the normal hummus, babaganoush, and tabuleh, and into several bean and meat dishes I have never had before. A fine meal, but nothing was really delicious, and this was nowhere near as good as Lebanese food can be, so this was something of a disappointment. The first warning sign was that the pita bread was clearly packaged rather than home-made, and was served room temperature.
Recommended with reservations.

Zuid Zeeland
www.zuidzeeland.nl
Herengracht 413, Amsterdam
(020) 624 31 54
Similar to Maxime’s in The Hague, but more expensive and not as good. A beautiful restaurant with friendly service, good wine, and an amazing menu. My wife ordered the Scottish beef tenderloin with garlic, paprika mousseline, Brussels sprouts, new potatoes, chervil carrot, salsify and béarnaisse sauce. It was perfect; incredibly delicious. I had the raw marinated salmon with nutmeg sabayon, langoustine, cold couscous salad and quail egg, which was really salmon served three different ways. This was also incredibly delicious, in particular the langoustine. My main course was wild boar with chicory, chestnut cream, bacon, shiitake mushrooms, pearl barley and game sauce. Frankly, this was somewhat disappointing. It just didn't have that much flavor. We closed with desert, a bombe of milk chocolate and orange with caramelised pear and gold leaf. Also delicious. Overall the food was mostly fantastic, but my main course was a disappointment. So, I recommend it, but order something different.
Recommended.

Kanis & Meiland
Levantkade 127, Amsterdam
(020) 418 24 39
A great coffeshop/bar on KNSM Island. An excellent place to spend a few hours reading the paper, playing games, and looking at the harbor with a bunch of locals and their kids. Plus, if this motivates you to go, KNSM Island is a really nice change of pace from Amsterdam Centrum.
Recommended.

Nielson’s
Berenstraat 19, Amsterdam
(020) 330 60 06
Good coffee, a nice atmosphere, and a surprisingly good club sandwich. Feels more like a good American brunch place than anything else I’ve had in Europe.
Recommended.

Anyway, those are the places we ate. Overall, the food we ate in the Hague was better than what we ate in Amsterdam, with Bali, Maxime's, and Dayang providing the real highlights.

HH

pongal, Madras Mahal, or Chennai Garden?

I second (third) Saravannas. It is much, much better than the others.

Nov 18, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Manhattan Chinatown Report (long)

Not yet, but in the next few weeks I'm looking to eat pho at Pho Grand, salt-baked shrimp at Kam Chueh, shrimp and watercress dumpling soup and bamboo rice at Sweet n' Tart, I'm not sure what at XO Kitchen, roast baby pig and rice casserole at Yummy Noodles, roast pork at some no-name place on Chrystie, spicy noodles with ground pork, xiaolongbao and cold dishes at New Yeah, dumplings and sesame pancakes at Prosperity Dumpling, noodles at Hongkong Station, and ginger scallion lo mein with a side of pea shoots at NY Noodletown.

If a get a few more tips, I might even try Fuleen Seafood again, and if for some reason a cold weather spell kicks in, I might even get some hot pot at Happy Shabu Shabu.

Thanks everyone for the tips!

HH

Aug 24, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Manhattan Chinatown Report (long)

Those pictures sure look intriguing, especially the Stuffed Sesame Pancake with Vegetable. I've never seen anything like that. Unfortunately, both Dumpling House and Prosperity Dumpling are a bit of a hike from my office. Do you know if Prosperity sells frozen dumplings? If so, it might make the trek a little more worthwhile.

HH

Aug 24, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Manhattan Chinatown Report (long)

jungirl, I've been meaning to try Nha Trang's pork chops for a while, mostly based on your own recommendation in an earlier thread (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...). I managed to get there today for lunch, and yes indeed those are some tasty porkchops. I've had the same dish at the uptown mecca of mediocrity, Saigon Grill, but never at one of the linoleum table places, where I order pho about 98% of the time. Needless to say, Nha Trang's porkchops were delicious and far superior to the Saigon Grill version.

I'll have to try the salt-baked shrimp at Kam Chueh. I was impressed by the steamed fish and remain somewhat dumbfounded by the emptiness of the place, considering the apparent quality of the food.

I also agree with you that Pam Real is good for Manhattan Thai, but I don't think it is in the same league as Sripraphai. I'll try to make it to Pho Grand, Sweet and Tart, and XO Kitchen. Thanks much for tips.

As for Fuleen Seafood, once again it seems that everybody else is having solid meals there while I am 0 for 3. Dungeness Crab with pepper dry seasoning sounds worth a try, but does anybody else have any concrete recommendations?

HH

Aug 24, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Manhattan Chinatown Report (long)

I am nearing the end of a year's employment near Manhattan's Chinatown, and wanted to post about my experiences in searching for good food. As background, my job is located a little southwest of Chinatown, so my eating primarily focuses on places closer to me rather than further away. I also try to eat cheap and fast lunches, but occasionally splurge. Anyway, I would love any tips people have about what I shouldn't miss before I leave (in about six weeks).

Great NY Noodletown - 28 1/2 Bowery (Bayard & Pell)
My Chinatown standby, where I ate dozens of times. I almost always ate the roast pork wonton noodle soup, which for $3.75 or something is one of the best bargains in the city: The savory broth, perfect shrimp dumplings, and sweetness of the pork make for a truly fantastic soup. When I was feeling a need for meat, I would get the roast baby pig, which just melts in your mouth. (Occasionally I would talk them into putting two and two together, and having the amazing roast baby pig wonton noodle soup; not on the menu but highly recommended.) I also enjoyed the salt and pepper squid, the soy sauce chicken, which is a very plainly flavored roast chicken that is nicely juicy, the BBQ squid, and the sampan congee (congee with seafood, peanuts, and scallions). However, their vegetables are pretty run of the mill, and their ma po tofu was bad. I also dislike the tea that they serve, which is too dark and kind of bitter. I have heard gripes about the service, but I think it's about average for a cheap chinatown place. The waiters are reasonably attentive and not rude; if you want better service, go to a tablecloth restaurant (where you will likely get worse food). Anyway, armed with some knowledge of what to order, this is hands down my favorite Cantonese place in NYC.

Big Wong - 67 Mott St. (Bayard & Canal)
Another Cantonese place with a very similar menu to NY Noodletown's. However, I thought the food here was not as good, and in particular I thought the roast pork wonton noodle soup was not as good: the broth was less flavorful, the pork less juicy and sweet, and the dumplings just less yummy. I also don't like the weird fast-foodish decor, and the greasy red-tile floor.

Big Wing Wong - 102 Mott St. (Canal & Hester)
Like Big Wong, I thought that Big Wing Wong's soup was not as good as that at NY Noodletown. That being said, I thought Big Wing Wong had excellent congee; less watery than Noodletown's, and really surprisingly flavorful for what is ordinarily one of the world's blandest foods.

Dim Sum Go Go (5 East Broadway @ Chatham Sq.)
By a mile, my favorite dim sum in Manhattan (yes yes, I know the best dim sum is in Flushing, but that's a hike). Unlike HSF, Golden Unicorn, and a few other places I have been but whose names I cannot remember, Dim Sum Go Go does not use carts. Instead, they make the food fresh after you order it. The result is fresher, more flavorful, and less greasy food. The regular assortment of dumplings are solid (shumai, shrimp dumplings, etc.), and they also have a vegetable one (I think the jade dumpling but maybe the pea shoot dumpling) that is surprisingly flavorful. All of the other dim sum standbys are good. The real crowd pleaser, though, is the pumpkin cakes. These are packed with deliciousness and I honestly cannot imagine anyone disliking them.

HSF - 46 Bowery (Bayard & Canal)
Greasy, lukewarm dim sum that has been sitting in carts for hours.

Golden Unicorn - 18 East Broadway (Catherine & Market)
Greasy, lukewarm dim sum that has been sitting in carts for hours.

New Green Bo - 66 Bayard (Mott & Elizabeth)
I'm not sure what to make of this place and the strong opinions it generates on this board. As everyone has said, the soup dumplings are excellent, much larger, more soupy, and more flavorful than the dumplings at Joe's Shanghai or at Grand Sichuan. But, other than the dumplings, I've had nothing memorable. Any tips would be appreciated. I should also mention that it was reasonably clean, so maybe the health code violations have hit home and now they are doing a better job on this front.

Joe's Shanghai - 9 Pell St. (Mott & Bowery)
As everybody knows, the soup dumplings are good but everything else is bad.

Grand Sichuan - 125 Canal St. (@ Chrystie)
Terribly disappointing. Such a far cry from the apparently unrelated uptown mini-chain of the same name. I was really hoping that this would pack the same explosion of flavor found at the 9th Avenue and Lexington Ave. branches (much less the food in Chengdu or Chongqing, which is far spicier and numbing than the food at Grand Sichuan uptown). Not a chance. I'm not sure I saw a single sichuan peppercorn and I sure didn't taste it. The ma po tofu was dull, the cold chicken with red oil was boring, and the kung bao chicken was Americanized and greasy. Lame.

Banh Mi Saigon Bakery (138 Mott St. b/w Hester and Grand)
Now that is one tasty sandwich. I dig on the crunch of the french bread contrasting with the savory-sweet of the roast pork and the seafood sausage, and again contrasting with the pickled cucumbers and cilantro. Since having their banh mi, I have not been back to a western deli. My only criticism is that, even though the ingredients are identical, it seems that sometimes the sandwich is more flavorful than others (perhaps they just add more ingredients). Still, it is always delicious (and cheap) and if my office were closer I would eat there twice a week.

Fuleen Seafood - 11 Division St. (Bowery & Market)
One of the many dingy but popular Fujianese seafood places on Division. I thought this was overrated and overpriced. Their king crab, which is apparently something of their speciality, was something like $40 and just not all that good. Although I have not spent much time eating Fujianese, you can find far more flavorful crab dishes at virtually any Chinese restaurant in Malaysia. Their blue crab was kind of gross; slimy and grey, making the dish appear like you were eating crabs off the bottom of the ocean. Perhaps someone can convince me otherwise, but for now I have no interest in returning.

Kam Chueh - 40 Bowery (Bayard & Canal)
Like Fuleen Seafood, Kam Chueh is far from cheap and not the kind of place to go for an ordinary lunch. I did, however, have an excellent steamed whole fish with ginger and garlic (for something like $20-25). This tasted almost exactly like the fish I have eaten in southern china, and thus I was quite impressed. Strangely, considering the quality of the fish, the place was almost entirely vacant at lunch (perhaps the dinner crowd is larger). Kam Chueh is also clean and pleasantly lit, so it is the kind of place you could bring non-chowhounders.

Peking Duck House - 28 Mott St. (Chatam Sq. & Pell St.)
Another of the more expensive tablecloth places, except specializing in duck rather than seafood. I would highly recommend this for dinner with non-chowhounders, as the atmosphere is nice and the food is consistently good, non-greasy, and non-spicy. I would also recommend this to chowhounders for their Peking Duck, which I thought was really good, with the proper crispy skin and juicy meat, and properly presented with the scallions and hoisin sauce. Probably the best Peking Duck I've had outside Peking. Other than the duck, nothing is fantastic, but also nothing is bad.

Pho Tu Do - 119 Bowery (Hester & Grand)
The best pho I have had in NYC. The pho dac biet (special pho with everything) is fantastic. The broth is far more lively and flavorful than at the other places I've been; beefy, peppery, and just a little sweet, the deliciousness really jumps off the tongue. The meats are also excellent, especially the thin-sliced raw beef. Good stuff.

Nha Trang - 148 Centre St. (Walker & Canal) and 87 Baxter St. (White & Walker)
Decent pho joints that, to me, define the norm for NYC pho. Not the best, and certainly not the worst, just totally normal and consistent. If anyone can tell the difference between the two branches they are a better man than I.

Pho Viet Huong (Nha Hang) - 73 Mulberry St. (Bayard & Canal)
Another Vietnamese place. The pho is not as good as at Nha Trang, and thus is a far cry from Pho Tu Do. But I did enjoy their Vietnamese chicken salad, a light chicken dish with cilantro, lime, and fish sauce, and the chao tom is also pretty good. For me, the one real winner here is the bo la nho, a stuffed grape leaf appetizer much like a greek or Turkish dolma, except that it is stuffed with sweet BBQ beef and then fried. Wow.

Tasty Dumpling - 54 Mulberry St. (Worth & Bayard)
Dumpling House - 118 Eldridge St. (Broome & Grand)
Very tasty. These two "restaurants" are almost identical, with similar (excellent) fried dumplings and a similarly limited menu. Aside form the fried pork & chive dumplings, I really enjoy the sesame pancake with beef, which is a thick sesame pancake cut open like a sandwich and filled with beef and pickled vegetables, not entirely unlike banh mi. Even if the food is virtually identical, I definitely prefer Dumpling House, which is laid out so that you can see them cooking the dumplings and cooking the amazing sesame pancake. I highly recommend watching them make the dumplings, then buying a pack of 50 frozen ones and cooking them at home by mimicking their technique (FYI, in a cast-iron pan, add maybe a 1/4 inch of oil and heat until quite hot but not smoking; then add as many dumplings as you are going to cook. Shortly thereafter, fill the pan most of the way with water, and then crank the stove to boil it off ASAP. All in all, it takes about 7 minutes to do this hybrid of frying and steaming).

Pongsri - 106 Bayard (@ Baxter)
Although Pongsri is a real favorite of the courthouse scene, I think it is utterly mediocre, remarkable only if you think Lemongrass is good. I have eaten there numerous times and never had anything that I thought was special or in any way different. That being said, I don't know any other Thai places in the neighborhood, and sometimes Thai is what you feel like eating. But if you want delicious, authentic Thai food, get thee to Sripraphai.

Finally, I can't forget:

Fiorlini's - 93 Baxter
Disgusting Italian food. Looks like you are taking a step back in time and tastes like you are taking a step back in quality. Also takes the dubious distinction of serving the worst cannoli I've ever had.

Anyway, I guess this got kind of long, but I hope to hear any thoughts or suggestions anybody has about places that I've missed or dishes I should try.

Thanks.

HH

Aug 23, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

ISO Really Good Fried Pork Dumplings

Have you tried Dumpling House on Eldridge or Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry?

Aug 06, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Durian

Do you know how to pick a ripe durian?

Jul 11, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Visiting Hound: Lupa, Otto, or Max??

I agree that you should walk in and wait for a table. Especially if you are willing to sit at the big communal table by the window, you should be able to sit without waiting too long. It is worth the wait; it totally outclasses a place like Max.

Jul 11, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Nha Trang -- Centre or Baxter?

I have had the pho at both numerous times, and have not found any noticeabale differences. Unfortunately I haven't tried the pork chops, though. That might be lunch tomorrow.

Jul 11, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan

Looking for great Mexican at De Guerreros and El Paso Taqueria...what to order?

I have never been to De Guerreros, but I have been to both branches of El Paso many times. The Lexington Avenue branch is the best Mexican I have had on the east coast. Enjoy.

I personally love the tacos for the combination of deliciousness and value; at $3.50 or so, the Carne Enchilada, Al Pastor, and Chorizo tacos are phenomenal. I also highly recommend the guacamole, although the quality fluctuates depending on avocado season. I also have had excellend mole poblano there, but it seems to be more variable in quality from day to day. The tamales are consistently excellent.

At the Lexington Avenue place, there is a longer selection of Sopes (not soups, little pupusas). Tasty stuff.

Jul 11, 2006
huzzahhuzzah in Manhattan