Editor’s note: As Metromix reported, the food offerings at this year’s U.S. Open are several cuts above the usual ballpark fare. There’s the half-pound U.S. Open Burger, Philly Cheesesteaks, crepes (both sweet and savory), lobster rolls, Carnegie Deli corned beef sandwiches, and ouzo shrimp. But what if you don’t want to eat in the stadium? After all, you are coming to Queens, home to some of the most varied and interesting ethnic foods in New York City. So we turned to our resident Queens expert Joe DiStefano to compile a list of 10 ethnic restaurants near the U.S. Tennis Center.
1. Golden Shopping Mall
This two-level food court in Flushing is actually a warrenlike collection of tiny restaurants that offers a cook’s tour of regional Chinese cuisines. Take care not to spill any of the fiery red chili oil from Chengdu Heavenly Plenty on your yellow cable-knit sweater.
41-28 Main Street, Flushing NY 11355 (map)
2. Jade Asian Restaurant
This sprawling spot is decidedly more upscale than the nearby Golden Shopping Mall. It also happens to serve what I consider to be Flushing’s best dim sum.
13628 39th Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354 (map) 718-762-8821
3. White Bear
Ignore the sign outside this hole in the wall at 135-02 Roosevelt Avenue. There’s no ice cream, just plenty of dumplings, including some wonderful pork-packed wontons with hot sauce.
135-02 Roosevelt Avenue, Queens NY 11354 (map) 718-961-2322
4. Dosa Hutt
This South Indian vegetarian spot specializes in dosai, gigantic crunchy, ghee-soaked conical rice flour crepes packed with spiced potatoes. It’s located at 45-63 Bowne Street next to the Ganesh Temple. Pop in and pay your respects to the elephant-headed deity. Dosa Hutt too crowded? Hit up the Temple Canteen in the basement, which serves similar veggie fare.
45-63 Bowne Street, Flushing NY 11355 (map) 718-961-5897
5. Southern Spice
With such dishes as sura puttu, or scrambled shark, this spot around the corner from the Hutt proves there's more to South Indian cuisine than dosai.
143-06 45th Avenue, Flushing NY 11355 (at Bowne Street, map) 718-359-3486
6. Cuy vendors
For the truly adventurous. These Ecuadorean folks set up shop near the soccer fields in the northeast section of Flushing Meadows Corona Park near the Queens Botanical Garden. Cuy, or guinea pigs, are spit roasted over coals until the skin is a burnished golden brown. Be advised: the critters will run you from $25 to $30. Not feeling so adventurous? They also have hornado, or roast pig.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park (map)
7. Park Side Restaurant
I’ve never eaten at this Italian restaurant located at 107-01 Corona Avenue in the heart of Corona, but I hear it’s good in an old-school way. Stroll over to the Lemon Ice King of Corona afterwards and then take in a bocce game in William F. Moore Park, affectionately known as Spaghetti Park.
107-01 Corona Avenue, Queens NY 11368 (map)
8. Himalayan Yak
The granddaddy of Tibetan and Nepali cuisine in Jackson Heights offers all manner of specialties from the rooftop of the world, including momo, the thick-skinned juicy dumplings that are Tibet’s national dish. If you’re lucky they might even be running a special of yak meat momo, which have a marrowlike richness that’s far superior to the plain old beef version they usually serve.
72-20 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights NY 11372 (map) 718-779-1119
9. Tortilleria Nixtamal
There are plenty of taquerias in Corona and Jackson Heights, but none quite like Tortilleria Nixtamal. That’s because it’s also a tortilla factory that makes the disks the old-fashioned way: from freshly ground corn, instead of maseca, or corn flour. Try the Italian tamale for some real neighborhood flavor.
104-05 47 Avenue, Corona NY (map) 718-699-2434
10. La Portena
Sometimes the mood to eat lots and lots of meat and drink sangria in an Argentine gaucho-themed space strikes. There's no better place in Queens to satisfy this craving than La Portena in Jackson Heights. Whether you opt for a mixed grill or one of the steaks be sure to slather on plenty of garlicky chimichurri.
7425 37th Avenue, Jackson Heights NY 11372 (map) 718-458-8111