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Sep 5, 2006 04:15 PM

Is any "ethnic" food in Manhattan worth the trip from Queens??

I live in midtown Manhattan but more often than not I find myself eating in Queens. So often, as I read this board, I read posts where people ask, where is the best Thai restaurant, where can I find the best Sichuan food, where's the most authentic Greek or Indonesian or Mexican? And I want to say (and sometimes do) "It's in Queens!" So my question is, is there any nationality about which, if you saw a question posted on the Outer Boroughs board, you'd say "Come to Manhattan! It's better there!" The only things I can think of offhand (and these are maybes) are Cantonese and Fujianese in Manhattan Chinatown, Puerto Rican and Dominican and perhaps West African uptown.

I apologize for using the word "ethnic": It doesn't really fit but I couldn't think of one that did. What I meant was a restaurant (often inexpensive) primarily run and patronized by members of a specific community or nationality. But that's a rough definition.

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  1. Japanese, high to low, is far better in Manhattan.

    7 Replies
    1. re: squid kun

      Absolutely agree with this. Have never had really good authentic Japanese outside of Manhattan, and never had anything even remotely passable in Queens.

      West Indian, African, and African-American (i.e. soul food) are all better in Manhattan, but may be even better in Brooklyn.

      French and Spanish?

      1. re: Woodside Al

        West Indian and soul food are better in Qns, BK and BX than in Manh--this is not even debatable. For example, you can't even get decent Haitian food in Manh--must go to BK or Qns.

        1. re: Ora

          What did you think of Krik Krak around 99th and Amsterdam?

          1. re: nobody special

            Cute spot--very average food. I really wanted to love the place. I had had the poisson rose--seasoning was off, rice wasn't great and the sauce rouge wasn't special. I'd stick to Le Soleil, which also isn't what it used to be.

          2. re: Ora

            I would debate you on the soul food issue, as a lot of great places have closed in the southern queens area in the past few years. I know there are some good places in Brooklyn: Mitchell's, Royal Rib House, that great little corner joint on Halsey and Lewis that whips up some great Carolina Sage Sausages (the name escapes me for now). But, I'm open - what soul food joints in Queens do you recommend?

            Also, for Haitian, the one place I've hit is a small take-out joint on Linden and 229th (I think) called Good Taste. Excellent fish, beef, dirty rice dishes. Ever try it? This would be worth the trip from Manhattan or anywhere.

            1. re: Polecat

              Caribbean population is larger than African-American, thus the dwindling soul food situation is Qns--recos are below so I will not repeat.

              Haven't tried the Haitian spot you mention--but I will next time out that way. Remember a long gone spot called La Detante, near LGA? In its day that was a good haitian sit down place--I miss it..

              Ever been to Nagasaki?? Its like caribbean chinese--used to be really good--never get that far out anymore...

            2. re: Ora

              i'm sorry but to claim there is no good soul food in harlem is a bit ridiculous, to my mind

        2. how does skyway (manhattan) compare to malaysian restaurants in queens?

          5 Replies
          1. re: the brooklyn pilsner

            Better than anything I've had in Flushing.

              1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                Get anything called "spicy" or "aromatic" that features seafood (crab in spicy sauce, aromatic squid, and the like). Also get the satay, the nasi lemak, kangkung belacan, and pasembur.

              2. re: Pan

                Does this sentiment still hold true 2 years later? What about Malaysian in Elmhurst or Jackson Heights?

                1. re: NancyC

                  Funny, people were just discussing that.

                  Two years ago, or maybe a little more, two of the best Manhattan Malaysian places closed, and moved to Queens. Taste Good and Sentosa.

            1. Brian, I would scratch the "maybe" off of the African category, at least as far as Senegalese food is concerned. As a Queens resident, I cannot think of anywhere where I can get Cheb Jeune or Mafe in my home borough. Have to go to Harlem for that, my restaurant of choice being La Marmite. Now that I think of it, the same thing goes for Ethiopian food as well.

              Also, soul food options, what with various south Queens stalwarts - such as Carmichael's Diner - having closed up shop lately, have been dwindling out here as well. So, for fried chicken or a fried whiting sandwich, I might find myself making the trek to M&G Diner or A Taste of Seafood, or even heading out to Brooklyn.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Polecat

                I haven't heard of any restaurants, but there is a small African community in Queens near LeFrak city in Elmhurst/Corona. As JHJill has described in the thread below, there are African groceries, so perhaps there are eateries around there too.


                1. re: Polecat

                  What soul food is left in Queens? Other then Rockaway Fish House and JJ's Southern, I don't know of any other places. What do you suggest in Queens?. I get my fix in Manhattan
                  (Charles's, Copelands or Londel's)or Nassau (Riddick's or Willie B's).

                  1. re: stuartlafonda

                    Yeah, Stuart, that's pretty much what I was saying. The scene used to be better, but it has dwindled. You mention the Rockaway Fish House, which I heard about from a guy at a bar a few months ago. Since I did case management out that way for a while, I searched Rockaway Blvd high and low, couldn't find it. Do you have the cross street or address?

                    1. re: Polecat

                      Take the Van Wyck south toward Kennedy Airport. Exit Rockaway Blvd headed east, it will be a couple of blocks east on the south side. It is pretty good, the biggest drawback is that it is takeout only. Fried chicken, mac and cheese and collards were good, chopped "bbq" beef was bad. Banana pudding was fine. The place is good, but not as good as the places I mentioned in Manhattan.

                      1. re: stuartlafonda

                        Thanks. Next time I'm out there, I'll give it a shot. P.

                    2. re: stuartlafonda

                      Check out Rack & Soul next time in Manh and looking for a good sit down spot.

                  2. I'm not sure you'd call BBQ "ethnic", but it certainly a specialty. And Manhattan is the only place for decent BBQ in NYC(May not mean much to you, but important to know for those of us who don't get to Tulsa <g>). Also, from what I read here, Caracas Arepa will beat out any non-cart arepa place in the outer boroughs.

                    1. The takoyaki and okonomiyaki at the little place on East 9th Street between Second and Third Avenues.