In a nondescript shopping mall, just past a plastic bottle recycling station, in Jackson Heights, Queens, lies one of the best French bakeries in New York. Case in point: this all-chocolate, all-the-time dessert.
Forest Hills, the sleepy Queens neighborhood where I grew up, isn't considered a must-eat food destination. But what it lacks in a flashy restaurant scene it makes up for with some great businesses that have stood the test of time. There's certainly enough in the neighborhood to warrant a day of eating around; here's where you should go.
The key to a successful experience at Crazy Crab is twofold: flexibility and knowledge. If you're looking for a full-blown Burmese or Yunnanese experience, you will be disappointed, as the menu offers only a handful of dishes from each cuisine. And if you're in the market for a legit Cajun seafood fiesta, then I have to ask what exactly you're doing in Flushing. But if you enter Crazy Crab with a plan of attack, an open mind, and a willingness to make a cross-cultural mess on your plate, you won't leave disappointed.
Ed Cotton, the executive chef of Sotto 13, has lived in Long Island City, for the past four years (he's in a building right behind the Pepsi-Cola sign). Here's where he goes out to eat.
As the weather starts to warm there should be one thing on your mind: Italian ices.
Astoria's Koliba specializes in oversized plates of comfort food. Chief among them: spaetzle with sauerkraut and bacon.
This Seoul-based chain is founded by comedian, MC, and former professional wrestler Kang Ho Dong, which may lead you to believe that Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is something of a gag. But on my visit that couldn't be further from the case.
Of all the Burmese specialties at Flushing's Crazy Crab, this salad of shredded young ginger and fried crunchy bits is the most compelling.
Marani, a recently opened Glatt kosher Georgian restaurant in Rego Park, prides itself on being only the second kosher Georgian restaurant in the world featuring two separate kitchens. Of the two, the dairy-only bakery downstairs is the star.
Yee sangis a large-format salad of raw fish, shredded vegetables, and crunchy bits eaten exclusively during Lunar New Year. It originated in mainland China, but these days it's most commonly found in Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. And in Flushing at Malay Restaurant, which serves my favorite version of the dish—Malaysia included.
The specialty at Gregory's 26 Corner is, resoundingly, its warm hospitality. The food doesn't disappoint, either.
When Miroslav Uskokovic, the head pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, moved to Astoria in 2009, he felt right at home. As he puts it, "I try to eat in Queens a lot. Everyone comes to Manhattan. Why not support your local places?"
Uncle Jack's Steakhouse has three bustling locations in New York—two in Manhattan and the original location in Bayside, Queens. As is befitting of a true New York steakhouse, each location dry ages its own beef, and in that tradition Uncle Jack's has a purchaser that still heads down to the Meatpacking District at an ungodly hour to personally select the restaurants' beef.
As one of the city's Asian food meccas, Flushing has no shortage of good food courts. But one of the best receives little attention from Yelp or small food blogs, likely for one simple reason: it's a 25-minute walk from the 7 train on Flushing's Union Street in a Korean supermarket chain called H-Mart. Unless you have a car (it's five minutes from the Whitestone bridge that way), Namoodol, the H-Mart's lunch counter, is a trek, but the Korean barbecue and free tea alone are well worth the trip.
Though the food at Taste of Kerala Kitchen is mostly true to traditional form, some of it is better than others. Here's what should you order on your first visit.
Cheesy, oily, mega-enchiladas have their place. When you're not in that place yourself, these lighter ones do quite well.
Coffee and Danish lovers rejoice. Paris Baguette has you covered with their new all-in-one Coffee-Danish ($2.50). The lightly sweetened pastry combines an almond flour dough and a thick coffee coating.
This mild dish at Biang! acts as a refreshing pause in between bites of fiery noodles and more assertive salads