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Nominate your favorite restaurants in New York Outer Boroughs for "Best of 2014."

Since the category is "favorite" restaurant and not "best" restaurant, I'll go with Piccolo Sogno. It's a little Italian restaurant on a residential street (195-14 47th Avenue) in Flushing. They turn out fantastic dishes, especially the pastas. Good food, good service, and it's close to my house. It's one of those places which wouldn't have survived, situated where it is in a quiet neighborhood, if it didn't serve good food.

http://italianrestaurant-flushing.com/

Nov 21, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Which Flushing supermarket has the freshest seafood?

You can buy live swimming shrimp at some Asian markets but they are much more expensive. I believe most shrimp at the market were previously frozen. The problem is that quality starts to deteriorates once the shrimp is defrosted. It's hard to tell how long the shrimp has been sitting there. What my father does is that he buys the frozen shrimp in the box it's shipped in, either 5 or 10 lbs per box. He then defrosts it himself and repackages in smaller bags (and passes some to me). He buys them from a fish supplier to a restaurant owner that he's friends with. You can try asking the fish guy in the Asian market if he can sell the shrimp in the box. But it's a lot of shrimp!

Nov 10, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (Flushing)....Any Better Successors?

You're right, so I guess the lesson here is not order XLBs at non-Shanghai restaurants. In my defense, I've had XLBs at non-Shanghai places before and the ones at Nan Bei Ho were truly bad. I did not choose the restaurant or do the ordering, so I'm gonna pass the blame on other members of the family (and hope they are not reading this). Since I live nearby, I've been here several times before and none of the meals have been memorable. I prefer going to Mama Lee on the next block instead.

For the record, I like the XLBs at Shanghai Cuisine 33 on Main St.

Nov 03, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Mama Lee: Taiwanese in Bayside

Nan Bei Ho, which is one block away from Mama Lee, has stinky tofu. I ate one piece this weekend and decided that I can't get past the smell. Must be an acquired taste. I have no idea if it's good or bad, although the rest of the table finished the dish.

Just don't get the soup dumplings (xiao long bao) there. Their soup dumplings weren't good at all.

Nov 02, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (Flushing)....Any Better Successors?

This is not a recommendation but is one to avoid instead. Went to Nan Bei Ho on 48th Ave Bayside for lunch Saturday. The XLB was the worst I've had in recent memory. The skin was thick and the broth was way too salty. We ended up draining the broth from the dumplings before eating them. Most of the other dishes were passable, and I especially enjoyed this flatbread rollup with eggs (don't know the name for it). It's a shame since I live nearby but I don't think I'll be coming back to this place again.

Nov 02, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Mama Lee: Taiwanese in Bayside

I did not see any stinky tofu dishes on the menu.

Oct 25, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (Flushing)....Any Better Successors?

I'm probably committing a faux pas, but I use my fingers to get them onto my spoon.

Oct 24, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Mama Lee: Taiwanese in Bayside

If you're talking about Avli, yes it's still good. I especially like the pork doner there. While it's still hot, the crispy edges of the meat is so good. When the weather is nice, I prefer going to Gyro World on Northern Blvd. It sits on a corner and their walls are doors that open up, making it feel like you're eating outside. Order the Gyro World Plate and you'll get a monstrous plate of meat that will feed a small army.

Oct 23, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Mama Lee: Taiwanese in Bayside

That was my understanding, too. I've been to the Bell Blvd location a few times before and after it was sold and, honestly, couldn't tell the difference in the food. Parking on Bell is hit or miss, so I now go to Piccolo Sogno (which is closer to me) for my Italian fix.

Oct 23, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Mama Lee: Taiwanese in Bayside

I have enjoyed a few meals there. As the review said, the food tastes homemade and the owner makes the effort to make the restaurant feel like home. If you're eating in, she would come by and ask if you need more tea, soup, or rice.

It has some dishes that I haven't seen before (like Braised Pork with tofu & egg). The only miss so far has been a fried chicken roll which was a little greasy.

I would describe the dishes as not overly complex but done well. They close kind of early (7 or 8 pm) so call ahead if you plan to show up around that time.

Oct 22, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Thai in Queens

BKNY is located in a residential neighborhood. Street parking is plentiful in the area in case the parking lot is full. The space is pretty big inside so you won't feel crowded in a big group.

Taking a trip to Flushing

Driving around in downtown Flushing can be an ordeal, especially on weekends. You have to watch the signs. Some intersections allow no turns while some only allow turns for buses, with restrictions only during certain hours. Free parking is also very hard to find.

New World Mall has paid underground parking. You may be able to get free parking if you spend over a certain amount at JMart (supermarket) in the mall.

Since you're driving, I suggest going to where Main Street meets LIE. It's much easier to find street parking there, and there are many restaurant choices, such as Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, Main St Imperial, Happy Garden, Lake Pavilion, Shanghai Cuisine 33, etc. There is also a Chinese supermarket nearby. I don't think there is a desert place there, though.

There are a couple of nearby Chinese supermarkets with their own parking lots. Gold City Supermarket is one. SkyFoods (40-24 College Point Blvd) is another - it's located in a mall and there is free 3 hr parking.

Sep 17, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

good italian in central westchester

Try Sergio's in Valhalla: http://sergiosrestaurantandbar.com/

The food is great and the prices are reasonable. Don't miss soup of the day. I work nearby so we go there frequently for lunch (for their prix fixe). When I pass by the restaurant on the way home, its parking lot is often full. It's gotten very popular since it opened a year ago. They do take reservations.

The Thai Shack in Yonkers

I'm no expert on Thai food but I've always enjoying going to D Thai Kitchen in Thornwood for lunch. Also, the owners are the nicest people.

Outdoor dining in lower Westchester

D Thai Kitchen in Thornwood has a small outdoor patio in front of the restaurant. Food is good but if you want it really spicy, you'll have to tell them. You can also ask for their spicy condiment tray.

A’Mangiare in Pleasantville is a lunch favorite with my coworkers. Very large outdoor space and they have lunch specials that change quite often. The patio is surrounded by vegetable and fruit plants. If the figs were ripe, I would have reached out and grabbed one when I was there.

Torta Neza location...

I went by Juan Bar a few weeks ago and did not see Galdino behind the grill there. They were still making tortas there (and wasn't bad) but they didn't have the fancy names that Galdino used at Neza. My Spanish wasn't good enough to find out what happened to Galdino and Neza as the guy behind the grill only spoke Spanish.

Aug 13, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Mami's, a Latino Steam-table in White Plains

I believe the progression went something like this.

Mami's
=> steam table takeout
=> nearby steam table places
=> Sunsplash
=> Crown Chicken/Indian takeout next to Sunsplash
=> fried chicken and biscuits
=> Popeye's
=> Kevin Bacon

Personally, I don't mind when things go off on a tangent. That's what make these boards interesting.

Mami's, a Latino Steam-table in White Plains

As far as I know, the new place hasn't opened yet where Zarape used to be.

I've been to Cholula's Deli once and found the food interesting. I'll try to go back when I'm dining by myself. When I dine with my coworkers, they prefer Azteca Paradise's endless chips and unlimited refills. For only $9, I can't argue with that.

Mami's, a Latino Steam-table in White Plains

Thanks for the Adal Deli suggestion. I have to try it out. I drive by that deli all the time on the way to Azteca Paradise, which by the way has a fantastic lunch value of entree, chips/salsa, and soda for $9.

I haven't found a "steam table take out" place that I like since El Zarape in Thornwood closed. I've been to Punta Cana a few times but didn't like the ratio of meat of rice/beans in their takeout.

I believe Sunsplash Caribbean in Elmsford has a steam table buffet but I haven't tried them yet.

Not exactly a steam table place, but Westchester Groceries (aka Khan’s Indian Kitchen) in Thornwood is a good place for takeout. They have food in a refrigerated case. You order from the case and they then heat it up for you. In addition, you can get takeout in many Indian places (like Mughal Palace in Valhalla) from their steam table buffet.

Finally, steam table places are not limited to Latin and Indian. Pat's Deli in Valhalla has an ever-changing variety of steam table dishes. I hesitate to recommend it because it's very inconsistent. I've had melt in the mouth brisket and bone dry pork loin. You really have to order carefully there.

I love to hear suggestions from other people. I work in the Valhalla area and am always looking for new places for lunch.

Two Buck Chuck? No Thanks

Instead of Two/Three Buck Chuck, I buy boxed wines (like Black Box) instead. It's a little more expensive per 750ml but it tastes better (to me) and it keeps a lot longer once it's opened.

Aug 09, 2014
Robotron in Wine

Favorite Xiao Long Bao ( soup dumplings) in Queens?

Right across from Lake Pavilion is another Cantonese restaurant, Happy Garden. It's my parents' favorite place. They have good lunch specials there.

Also in the area is 88 Canteen. It serves Hong Kong style food. Inexpensive, too. It has a few tables but it's not a real sit down restaurant.

Just a few years ago, this area of Flushing had very few restaurants and I could park right around the block on Horace Harding. Now, with the influx of restaurants, I sometimes have to park 2 to 3 blocks away.

Aug 06, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

New Chinese vegetarian on Queens Blvd.

You must be talking about Simple Veggie Cuisine (http://sveggie.com/). I have not been but my parents have. They are not vegetarians and didn't think it was that great. But they may have been comparing the fake meat at the restaurant to real meat. Or they may have ordered wrong. Other reviewers seem to like the place.

Aug 01, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

"Artisan" Western-style bread in Flushing

One big plus for Cannelle Patisserie is that they have a large free parking lot. Finding parking is never a problem. Can't say the same for Forest Hills. From Flushing, I usually take Grand Central Pkwy past the airport and take exit 5. It brings you very close to Cannelle Patisserie.

Jul 22, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

"Artisan" Western-style bread in Flushing

The walnut and fig bread at Cannelle Patisserie is excellent.

I don't remember ever seeing a Western style bakery near where you're staying.

Jul 22, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Birthday Chinese... in Westchester?

Try Imperial Wok in White Plains. Most authentic Szechuan food in Westchester. They also do a decent job with Chinese-American dishes like General Tso's Chicken. But when I go, I try to stick to the Szechuan or Taiwanese sections of the menu. My favorite was the double cooked pork. This place has been discusses multiple times on this board.

bayside bay terrace whitestone

I've been to Lima 33 twice. They always start you off with some addictive fried yucca along with a mustard based hot sauce. The sauce is good but Pio Pio's green sauce is better.

First time, we got the chicken combo. A lot of food and everything was great. Compared to Pio Pio, I thought the chicken was a little bigger and a little less seasoned (that's good or bad, depends on your salt tolerance).

Second time, got the chicken combo again along with the ceviche. Decent rendition for the ceviche. The chicken this time was slightly overcooked, but still delicious.

Service was attentive and friendly.

Jul 08, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

bayside bay terrace whitestone

There are 2 Indian restaurants in Bayside close to each other. One is spanking new (Masala Box: https://www.facebook.com/themasalabox) and the other's been there for 2+ years (Agra: http://agrarestaurantnyc.com/).

I've only been to Agra once and found the food and service to be very good.

For empty calories, I prefer to go to Cannelle Patisserie in Jackson Heights. If I don't want to brave traffic, I'll hit Two Bites Bake Shop in Fresh Meadows.

Jul 07, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

bayside bay terrace whitestone

Have not been to Blue Water but H-Mart on Francis Lewis has a decent and clean fish section. Also, there are lots of good Korean restaurants in the neighborhood. I don't have a particular favorite so I'll let other people chime in with their favorites.

In Whitestone, I like Villagio for Italian. In Bayside, Fino for wine/tapas and BKNY for Thai.

Jul 07, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs

Great Chinese Restaurant in Nassau County?

Try Fortune Wheel in Levittown. I have never eaten there but a Chinese friend who lives in Flushing would drive out to Fortune Wheel for meals. That's saying something if he thinks it's better than the restaurants in Flushing. It's a Cantonese restaurant so don't expect too many spicy dishes.

If you're willing to travel a little bit into Queens, try Northern Manor in Little Neck. I have eaten there and they have great Cantonese food. I really enjoyed the soft shell crabs and the crab in sticky rice here.

New in Flushing: Lok Lok Restaurant

My parents and my nephew tried it on 2 separate occasions and they were not impressed with the food. Their impression was that the food was decent, but price was kind of high.

I don't think they tried the casseroles so maybe they didn't order the right dishes.

Jun 16, 2014
Robotron in Outer Boroughs