Corner 28 is great!
When a Cantonese restaurant prepares a casserole I like, I keep it in mind and at some point I go there again. But when a restaurant serves a sweet and sour dish I like, it's worth writing about.
Corner 28 has been written up before on this board, but I don't think there have been any reports from people who dined upstairs. Downstairs is like a dingy food mall without the ambiance, but upstairs is another world. Nice decor, well-padded chairs, platoons of waiters and headwaters and busboys... and because I got there early I got one of the tables next to a floor to ceiling window overlooking the crowds thronging down Main Street. The big glossy menu has pictures of every dish. And there are a lot of dishes. Sea bass prepared two ways, goose intestine with preserved mustard and pepper, lots of Dungeness crab preparations, beef with golden straw mushrooms in sha cha sauce, goose feet in abalone sauce. But the sweet and sour fish just looked so good in the photo, and it was only $11 for a whole fish, a croaker (a lot like Shanghai's yellowfish). So I got it.
It came, beautifully fried, split and with some (but not all) bones removed, and topped with diced macerated fruit and peppers and pine nuts. Around it was the sauce, bright red like a takeout nightmare, but as thin as broth, almost no cornstarch, with a lovely flavor more tart and sour than sweet. It was a lovely dish. But next time I'll order something more traditional I bet it's even better. .
40-28 Main St, Flushing
I've eaten at Corner 28 three times since writing this. Food quality, preparation, and presentation have never been less than excellent. I'm told there were lines out the door when this place first opened. I'm surprised there still aren't long lines. (There always seem to be free tables nowadays.)
Here's what I had:
* Just got back from enjoying a lovely seafood casserole. Yes, the standard seafood and dofu casserole, but the seafood perfectly cooked, beautifully arranged with a nice broth and all for $11! Tonight they gave each customer a free plate of toothsome honey-roasted pork, which they probably won't do again since the plate was so big the customers were ordering less than they planned, except for me.
* A few months ago I had teriyaki roasted sea bass. Thin fillets of delicious fish, crispy on the outside but still succulent. A weird sweetish sauce, not my favorite, but not bad.
* Two weeks ago I ate squid in XO sauce. That was a delight. Perfectly sauteed squid, with a subtle XO sauce which brought out and complemented the squid's flavor. The squid reclined atop a bed of crunchy pea pods, which had been cooked separately.
Upstairs is quite elegant. Some posters have said that the NY Chinese community is not as rich as those in California. But at the table next to mine, a group of precocious eight year olds were discussing, in English, their upcoming cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. (They wondered whether the boat would have authentic Chinese food available, or only generic stuff dumbed down for tourists.) Well, if rich people do indeed come to Corner 28, they won't be disappointed.
Having recently had a very disappointing version of Crispy Yellowfish w/ pine nuts at nearby Shanghai Tide, a well prepared fish completely covered with a sauce that tasted like ketchup and sugar, it sounds like Corner 28 has the right idea. The sauce should enhance the natural fish taste and texture, not obliterate it. I look forward to trying their version on my next visit.
re: squid kun
I read those posts when they came out. I forgot that there were two posters who ate upstairs. Most posters didnt because the lines were too long, and most of the post was about the 75¢ duck (with an interesting digression on Chinese restaurant economics). So here's an update about 8 months down the road:
1)The lines are gone. If you get there early, before 7, no problem getting a table... and you'll probably get a table even later, at least on a weekday.
2) The management has, at least judging by my $11 big fish, kept portion sizes large and prices low.