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Cornel's garden

p
phyllis Apr 6, 1999 03:58 PM

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. b
    Bea Apr 11, 1999 11:23 AM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bea
      p
      phyllis Apr 13, 1999 05:16 PM

      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.

    2. j
      Jim Leff Apr 6, 1999 10:05 PM

      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. a
        Allan Evans Apr 6, 1999 04:27 PM

        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
        must.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Allan Evans
          p
          phyllis Apr 7, 1999 11:29 AM

          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).
          Promise.

          1. re: phyllis
            a
            Allan Evans Apr 7, 1999 03:08 PM

            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
              p
              phyllis Apr 8, 1999 09:55 AM

              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
                j
                Jim Leff Apr 8, 1999 11:46 PM

                what was your main dish mistake?

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  p
                  phyllis Apr 9, 1999 09:10 AM

                  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
                  off.

                  1. re: phyllis
                    a
                    Allan Evans Apr 9, 1999 10:15 AM

                    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
                      p
                      phyllis Apr 9, 1999 04:00 PM

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

                      1. re: phyllis
                        a
                        Allan Evans Apr 9, 1999 06:34 PM

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

            2. re: phyllis
              p
              pat hammond Apr 7, 1999 04:36 PM

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

              1. re: pat hammond
                j
                Jeremy Apr 7, 1999 05:00 PM

                "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
                j
                Jim Leff Apr 8, 1999 12:20 AM

                "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!"

                Oy.

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