Ocean Jewel Seafood Restaurant, Flushing
Well, the real name is "Ocean Jewels"... but I've noticed this board has a really high Google rank and out of fairness to the restaurant, I don't want the first thing anyone sees when they do a Google web search for this restaurant to be my review.
On my forays into Flushing I've noticed a palatial new Hong Kong style banquet hall, called Ocean Jewels, and last night I ventured inside. It's spiffy, lots of headwaiters in black suits, but a bit tacky too, like a big Trader Vic's. The menu is huge, all dishes with English translations, and there are lots of dishes I've never seen before, like fish head in clam sauce. It's also expensive. I ordered the cheapest casserole, which was $14. It came in a huge porcelain vat, without a lid, and not a clay pot. An attempt at elegance. There were huge chunks of beef, not a good cut but stewed till tender, and big pieces of crunchy cooked radish. A lovely brown sauce flavored with star anise.
Will I go again? Well, if it were half the price and in Chinatown, and served the traditional clay pots, I'd go quite a lot. I'd want to try some of those casseroles I've never heard of before. It's rare for me to find a Cantonese place that serves new dishes; most are stuck in tradition. But it's probably not worth a long trip with a $14 tab, even though the napkins are folded like little fans and you get a hot washcloth after your meal. I might try that fish head one day, I've never had a clam-flavored sauce except in a Portuguese restaurant.
Ocean Jewels, 133-30 39 Av, (718) 359-8600
Finally, a year later (but still better than General MacArthur) I returned. It was wonderful. I had the fish head, not with clams but steamed with diced pepper. The steamed head was cut into strips, artfully arranged on a big plate shaped like a fish, covered with minced everything -- preserved veg, diced parsnips, chives, shredded meat, a bit of shrimp paste... but no diced pepper. Around all this was a red, fiery broth... not hot for Sichuan but hotter than anything I've had in a Cantonese place. I've never seen anything quite like this, though I've had steamed fish head with black bean sauce at Cantoon Garden in Manhattan. It was excellent. Unfortunately I didnt see anything else on the menu that looked exciting. If they had a full menu of dishes as innovative and well-prepared as this, Manhattan Chinatown would be empty, except for tourists.
re: Brian S
I think I ate there 2-3 times but I also didn't find it very exciting to eat there. I only remember having the fish stomach which was decent but I can get that at other Cantonese restaurants. Never had the Dim Sum there, I usually like going to East on Main Street for Dim Sum, especially on a weekday where I don't have to fight with the crowds.