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Tangra Wok in Rego Park

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Went with Indian frind to Tangra Wok (95-24 Queens Blvd. opposite Sears Mall) for the first time last night. We had been so disappointed with Tangra in Sunnyside where nothing stood out except the rose-flavored ice cream. This is definitely a cut above in food but also decor and service. We both ordered soup - Sweet Corn Chicken and Manchow Chicken - and they were both flavorful though I didn't find any chicken in the Manchow. It was like a somewhat spicy eggdrop soup, but we both managed to finish the last drop. The Lollipop Chicken (wet) had a complex sauce and was pleasant, light but not earth-shattering. Our two entrées, Chicken with Eggplant and Chilli Fish were tasty, both somewhat spicy though nothing was really that spicy. All of the vegetables were nice and fresh and bright tasting and the Basmati rice was perfectly done. I just had left-overs and liked both of the entrées the second time around too. The surprise for me, and probably something most CH's wouldn't think of ordering, was the American Chop-Suey from the Side Dishes section on the back of the menu. My friend wanted it for old-times' sake since it is what she used to eat for 3 rupees in her student days in Delhi. It was delightful - the bed of fried noodles was composed of something a bit thinner than spaghetti and fried to slight crispness, covered with fresh sweet-and-sour veggies, a bit of chicken and a fried egg on top. It's nothing like any chop suey I'd ever tasted and a fun dish all around. We're definitely going back.

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  1. Went back again this weekend. This place is getting to be one of my favorites. Tried a gingery soup, and a sesame chicken app that had a more complex spicing than the usual Chinese fare. We got the Ras Malai and you're right. My Indian friend was in heaven, and the owner who came over to see how we liked it discussed it with her and it turns out they got the recipe from her favorite Delhi pastry shop. It has pieces of rabri in it - to die for. I think he said something about the chefs being Tibetan-Indian.

    1. My husband & I ate here last December while visiting my parents. I can't wait to return! Here's a link to my original post on Tangra Wok:
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. Actually, I would like the food to be a little more spicy, but I still find it to be spicier than Tangra on Queens Blvd in Sunnyside. I know that the chilie symbols they have listed on the menu are rather sparse, and our pleasant waitress confirmed that there are many spicy dishes that they forgot to put chilies by. What I like, though, is the complexity of the spicing. The taste is exciting without needing to be too fiery. I'll try asking for them to raise the heat quotient a bit next time.

        1. TANGRA MASALA IS MORE AUTHENTIC.
          You've just convinced me that there's no point in trying Tangra Wok. I'm a somewhat regular customer at Tangra Masala on Grand Avenue. I don't have to ask for my food "spicy"; it comes that way anyway. They aren't catering to a western clientele.
          If I want westernized food I have plenty of options. Thanks for the warning.

          3 Replies
          1. re: el jefe

            I would beg to differ. It was Indian friends who told me they found Tangra Masala to be disgusting, and it was an Indian chef who told me about Tangra Wok. She loved it. I went there with another well-traveled Indian who declared that it was much better than TM and reminded her of things she'd had at Indian-Chinese places back home. The food we get is spicy, but I said I wouldn't mind it spicier. I've seen almost all Indians eating at TW. TW has a lot of spices, complex spicing, but it isn't fiery hot. I found the food at Tangra in Sunnyside, which is supposed to be owned by the TM people, to be downright bland compared with TW.

            By the way, I just checked with an Indian friend about why they hated Tangra Masala. She said it's because it's overwhelmingly Indian curry with too much garlic. To them it's missing the Chinese part. She did say that TW's food isn't as hot as some of the dishes she had at Tangra places in India but that not all of the dishes are supposed to be hot.

            1. re: el jefe

              I should have listened to el jefe, but as a regular Tangra Masala AND Tangra customer, I had to check out all the hype about Tangra Wok. It's not that I can't imagine Tangra Wok being delicious, it's that the board messages were reminiscent of political campaigns gone bad- trash the other guy to prove you're good. Seems to me there's room enough and palates enough in Queens for all Indian-Chinese fusion restaurants to flourish.Anyway, I took the challenge on with an open mind today and chose to NOT drive past Tangra Wok without trying it any longer. Tangra Masala might look plain and ordinary inside, but the food is anything but plain and ordinary-the food transports you to places you can only dream of reaching from your current vantage point in NYC. In contrast, the decor and ambience of Tangra Wok was the only flavor to be had today during my lunch at Tangra Wok ( and that includes the lack-luster service and highway robbery of a 3$ can of soda). My husband who rarely consumes spicy foods was so impressed by the flavor journey he took at Tangra Masala that he requested to meet the owner/manager who gladly obliged. We now greet the owner nearly each time we eat there, and his spirited passion for the intricately combined flavors and aromas of their cuisine are clearly passed onto the staff who are beyond courteous and accomodating- no matter how you prefer your spice. I'm already planning my next TM journey. Thanks el jefe.

              1. re: Mervil

                Personally, I am not campaigning except to say I and my Indian friends have had at least three good experiences at Wok. I must note that I have only gone on weekend evenings, and lunch may have a different chef, wait staff, etc. Also, I would like to try Tangra Masala for myself but I think I'll have to go alone since my usual local dining partners make faces at the mention of it. I'm actually looking forward to trying Chilli Chicken which also has the advantage (for me) of being on 73rd and Roosevelt.

            2. I work nearby and have walked by this place many times without a thought. Thanks for your interesting review, I'm going to try soon w/my vegetarian friends and will report back.

              1. Finally tried TW and was pretty much underwhelmed. Chili fish tasted mostly of salt. Manchurian chicken consisted of a few chicken pieces swimming in a pool of bland gravy. Chili garlic noodles were disappointingly nondescript. Hot and sour soup was ok at best. Our request for "spicy" was smilingly, graciously ignored. Service sporadic and generally inept. True the place is comfortable enough and the music kind of fun. All in all it's Tangra Masala (Grand Ave original) from here on out.

                1 Reply
                1. re: burton

                  It's unfortunate that your experience was so bad. I agree that the chilli fish is too salty for me. I must also say that in some of the chicken dishes it is hard to find much chicken. But the taste and servuce has always been good overall when we've gone.

                2. Um, sorry if this is "uncool", but what about Raj Gate next door? Sure, the decor leaves a lot to be desired, but I always enjoy their lamb biryani and samosas. Never disappointed.

                  1. Some of our friends from New York had recommended us to try food at Tangra Wok. So when we were driving from Virginia to Boston for our vacation, we decided to make a stop
                    for lunch at Tangra along with our friends.
                    It was after 2.00p.m when we reached the place.
                    We ordered Hot and Sour and Sweet Corn Chicken soups, which were very flavourful. The Gobi manchurian and chicken lollipop were just fabulous, reminded me of the chinese
                    food we get back in Bombay.
                    For entrées we ordered, Chicken manchurian , Chilli Fish and vegetable fried rice.
                    The chicken manchurian was nice and spicy and the Chilli Fish was very tasty. We came across some Indian desserts on the menu and ordered Rasmalai which was fabulous.
                    We found the service very friendly and the atmosphere very comfortable.We are definitely going to visit again when in NY and recommend it to all our friends.

                    1. My husband & I just got back from our annual visit to NY and ate again at Tangra Wok last week. It was even better than we remembered it being last year! We went for lunch and were prepared to order the lunch specials. Our (very pleasant) server told us about a special they had going on---everything on the regular menu (except seafood dishes) was HALF PRICE! We re-reviewed our options and ended up ordering spring rolls, gobi Manchurian, chicken with eggplant, and a vegetarian eggplant & spinach dish.
                      The spring rolls (2) were crisp, not a bit greasy, filled with a crunchy blend of vegetables. They were served with a delicious, garlicy sauce.
                      The gobi Manchurian was outstanding. If you come here, you MUST order this! A wonderful blend of spices, and the cauliflower was cooked perfectly. Could have made a meal out of that alone!
                      Our entrees came with plain, perfectly cooked Basmati rice. The chicken with eggplant was delicious---full of tender eggplant pieces, lots of chicken and a spicy, flavorful sauce. The eggplant/spinach dish was also very good, but we didn't realize until it came that the sauce would be identical to that of the chicken/eggplant. Will try for more variety next time!
                      The entire meal came to just over $20 for the two of us (I just had water, DH had green tea). Our leftovers were quickly packaged up for us and there was enough to feed us both for lunch AGAIN the next day!
                      I really can't recommend this place highly enough. Can't wait to go back next year---we may just eat there every day!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Anne

                        GREAT EXPERIENCE AT TANGRA WOK

                        Thank you Anne for recommending Tangra Wok. After reading your review, we went to tangra wok and we ordered the chicken lollipop and the Gobi Manchurian. I think this is the best Indian-Chinese that I have eaten in New York. It is true that the appetizers were not extremely spicy, but the taste was excellent. After finishing our appetizers, we ordered the Lamb Bockchoy and the Fish in Garlic sauce. Both the dishes were very good. I must say that the ambiance of this place is excellent. When we received the check it is true that we paid HALF PRICE for a GREAT MEAL. I will definately return with my family.

                        1. re: mineola

                          Glad to hear you enjoyed it as much as we did. Next time I really have to try the chicken lollipop. I must say, I was surprised that the menu items are still half price---I assumed this was a "holiday" special.

                      2. personally, I was underwhelemed by Tangra Wok as well. The food is decent but not great. I went with my boyfriend and we ordered one appetizer and two main dishes. The appetizer-lollipop chicken-was good but not great. The chicken had a weird aftertaste and it was swimming in that sauce, which could have been spicier. The main dishes came. We ordered the chili fish and the honey chili lamb. They were sufficiently spicy-and I am a good judge of spiciness because I was raised in a South Asian household. However, the fish tasted like supermarket fried fish in a spicy sauce. The sauce was pretty delish. The lamb was unremarkable. I am not returning here again.

                        PS-to all the TW vs. TM debaters. There is a better place and its called "Chilli Chicken." Its on 74th street and roosevelt avenue in Jackson Heights. The food is flavorful and spicy. And the lollipop chicken there is to DIE for. Its only a few more stops on the train and its definitely worth trying.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Msgurlygrl

                          Thanks for the reminder about this place, which I've been meaning to try. It's certainly closer to home than either of the TMs.

                          What dishes have you liked besides the lollipop chicken? And have you tried the actual Chilli Chicken?

                        2. Gotta get the gobi Manchurian. It's out of this world! I haven't tried the chilli chicken, but I did have the chciken with eggplant and that was delicious.