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Aug 1, 2006 02:46 AM

Tangra Wok in Rego Park

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. The original comment has been removed
    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.

    2. 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:

      1. The original comment has been removed
        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.

            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.

            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.

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              1. 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.