Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Apr 6, 1999 03:58 PM

Cornel's garden

  • p

Jim, Cornel's opened last week and we tried it Friday
night. Had terrific trout and very good cole slaw.
Bread was awful, veggies over-cooked. Service was
lovely. They allow smoking, which we hate, but,
luckily there was very little of that. So, thanks.
Nice tip. We'll be going back.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You must try the Roumanian specilaties: above all the
    sarmale (stuffed cabbage), tocana (stew), mititei
    (grilled sausages) with mamaliga (polenta). And ask
    which soups are prepared: anything with ciorba is a

    11 Replies
    1. re: Allan Evans

      Thanks, guys. I don't remember the specials being
      mentioned so I will ask next time. Also will take your
      suggestions on the cabbage, soup etc. We will learn as
      we go now that they are just steps away from us
      Sunnysider Gardeners. If you guys go, please take a
      walk through the gardens. We don't look as good as we
      once did but it is still a special place (planned
      community from the 20s).

      Jim, I will buy your book (but don't have it yet).

      1. re: phyllis

        Always ask which traditional specials are ready. Try
        the 'tochitura' stew, and meatball stew "kiftalutse
        marinate" with mashed potatos. And never leave without
        papanashi or crepes.

        1. re: Allan Evans

          Thanks one and all. We did have the crepes, luckily,
          and they were terrific. We'll end our passover with a
          meal there this weekend and hope they have some of the
          great specials you describe.

          Jim, I didn't think you were pushing the book so don't
          worry. I agree that it's strange that our ethnic
          restaurant friends leave the best "off the menu."
          Didn't have that experience this weekend. We tried La
          Gaviota (on Broadway near 63rd St) for Chilean food.
          The owner made a special effort to introduce us to his
          cuisine. We had some wonderful appetizers and a
          disappointing main dish (our mistake, not theirs) and
          very good, homemade dessert. They also made their own
          bread (which we missed due to Passover but our friends
          loved). So try it.

          1. re: phyllis

            what was your main dish mistake?

            1. re: Jim Leff

              We ordered the seafood casserole. We failed to ask
              specifically what was in it. We figured it would have
              fish and shellfish but it turned out to be only
              shellfish and lots of stuff we don't love to have in
              large doses. Usually we like a bouillabaise-type dish
              to have chunks of fish, which this did not.

              We liked the place and the owner a lot and my husband
              asked me just this morning if I wouldn't like to just
              return there and try it again. So clearly the overall
              impression was very good. Hope I didn't turn anyone

              1. re: phyllis

                How odd... although downtown Bucharest has an Arc du
                Triomphe, isn't it a bit unusual to expect a Romanian
                restaurant to serve French style cuisine? Try the
                Roumanian speciaties or stick to Manhattan bistros for
                their take on French cuisine.

                1. re: Allan Evans

                  Hey, Allan--I was responding to Jim's question about a
                  meal at La Gaviota--a Chilean restaurant. Why that

                  1. re: phyllis

                    Oooops, thought it was Cornels. Try the congrio (eel
                    species).. their best fish.

        2. re: phyllis

          Please tell what the Sunnyside Gardeners is about.
          Maybe this should be moved to "not about food"(?).

          1. re: pat hammond

            "Sunnyside Gardeners" = residents of Sunnyside Gardens,
            a neighborhood in Queens. Cornel's is located in
            Sunnyside, just steps away from Sunnyside Gardens.

          2. re: phyllis

            "Jim, I will buy your book (but don't have it yet). Promise"

            Oops, wasn't trying to shame you into it! I just thought you had it. Anyway I tried, when writing it, to be extra clear and careful about what to order, how to order, how to get to the good stuff. You know, the chowhoundy "take" on places. Newcomers need help in places like Cornel's, where the good, authentic dishes are hidden. Can't figure out why they do that.

            This kind of thing is distressingly prevalent among lesser known nationalities. There was once a crappy "gourmet" pizzeria that quietly sold bannizzas (like boureks...pastry meat/cheese/spinach pies). I knew they are a Bulgarian specialty, but the counter guy had no idea about their background. One day I was served by a woman with a thick Eastern European accent, who was clearly a manager or owner. I asked if she was Bulgarian. She asked why I asked and I pointed out the origins of bannizza. She emphatically denied it; "No! I'm NOT Bulgarian! Bannizzas NOT Bulgarian!"

            I got to know her over several months, and it came out that, yes, she was Bulgarian, but that she didn't want customers to know they were eating something from there. Her explanation was "Americans aren't interested in food from the old country. They like PIZZA!"


        3. Order off-menu romanian specials next time; the regular
          menu is just ok (you should know that, Phyllis...I
          think you said you have my book, right?)

          1. So -- what's the address of Cornel's Garden??

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bea

              It's on Skillman Avenue between 47th and 46 Streets in
              Sunnyside. It has a nice new exterior with glass
              doors. Let us know if you like it.