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Longtime vegetarian - one-time meat bite in Queens

I've been tempted by so many incredible looking (and smelling) meat dishes throughout this fine borough (including, for instance, any number of dishes at Spicy and Tasty and Taqueria Coatzingo). I've had more or less success sticking to veggie dishes at places like Spicy Mina. But now I am looking to breach my pact of vegetarianism once, and only once (well, that's what I'm telling myself, anyway). So what should be my one-time meat bite in Queens? Where would you send me for that one, can't miss meat dish?

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  1. i would goto TC and get 3 tacos the tongue (lengus), the salt beef(cecina) and pork(carnitas). thats a tasty platter.

    or a platter of a lamburger and porkburger from the xian fine eats in the golden mall

    hmmm there are sooo many ideas and foods and i can list alot more but i will allow others to chime in.

    i was veg for 9 years and when ppl ask why i stopped i simply tell them i reaaaaaly love meat lolol


    1 Reply
    1. re: chefjellynow

      TC comes to mind immediately, and of course the ever funky tripe taco.

    2. Cheburechnaya kebab feast much?

      1 Reply
      1. re: JFores

        Ah, I should have clarified- I'm a cheburechnaya veteran. I'm actually not a vegetarian - I just keep kosher. So I guess what I'm saying is, I'm looking for a one-time treyf bite.

      2. Anticuchos (beef hearts) at Punto Fijo in JH
        Manchurian or Tangra Masala goat (dry) at Tangra Masala or Tangra Asian Fusion
        Matambre (veal roll) at Chivito d'Oro or Parillada Mi Tio
        Lamb skewer at one of the Xinjiang kabab places in Flushing
        Crispy pata (fried pork knuckle) at Ihawan in Woodside
        A hamburger at Donovan's Pub
        A cevapi or cevapzinica (sausage or meat patty) sandwich at one of the Balkan places in Astoria
        Sangyupsal (pork belly) BBQ at Ham Ji Bak in Flushing/Bayside
        Lengua (tongue), birria de res (beef chili stew), and al pastor at Taqueria Coatzingo. I have to disagree with chefjellynow about the cecina and carnitas. In NYC cecina usually comes packaged and it's simply opened and grilled. It's pretty much the same wherever you find it. I doubt that Coatzingo would cure their own cecina. I have found cecina at a few latin butchers, so maybe they're getting a better version from them. And the carnitas are good, but there are better versions around Roosevelt. The al pastor, on the other hand, is consistently the best version on the Roosevelt strip, and the birria de res is one of the better taco fillings.

        12 Replies
        1. re: E Eto

          How about the green curry with roasted duck and coconut milk (and pineapple, fresh basil, etc.) at Sripraphai? I think it's C29 on the menu and it's terrific.

          1. re: grisaille

            That's a good choice, but for someone wanting to dive into some meat-meat (rather than fowl), I'd suggest the pork leg with chili, or the panang curry with beef.

          2. re: E Eto

            Fantastic. These are EXACTLY the kinds of suggestions I was looking for. Will report back.

            1. re: bennyt

              Also, if you really want to eat meat, you could do far worse than ordering a melt-in-your-mouth skirt steak (entraña) at one of the Argentine or Uruguayan places (La Porteña, El Chivito d'Oro, or La Fusta).

              1. re: JH Jill

                How about going into any of the good Chinese places in Flushing or Elmhurst and ordering a duck, along with a good chunk of roast pig (how's that for treyf?)....and add a cuttlefish if it looks really good (and not like a dirty yellow balloon).

                1. re: EricMM

                  Hi, it's the OP. In case anyone is wondering, I ended up at Taqueria Coatzingo, where I had a taco de carnitas and the barbacoa de chivo. The carnitas- a bit greasy for my taste, but I can understand why it is recommended. But the barbacoa was so tender and flavorful, I loved it. Any other recommeded meat dishes? I was tempted by the lengua guisada but decided against it...

                  1. re: bennyt

                    Is this going to turn into a two-time meat bite? : )

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      Yes, it looks that way, doesn't it?
                      As for Joe MacBu's recommendation- I've always wondered about the meat dishes at the Szechuan places (so far, I've only had the various fish in hot chili sauce dishes). So you would go with Little Pepper?

                    2. re: bennyt

                      Lamb with cumin at Little Pepper.

              2. re: E Eto

                Eto, you've just about covered it!

                1. re: E Eto

                  The only Astoria Bosnians I'd consider for a breaking-the-rules meal would be Cevabdzinica Stari Most, for the cevapi, pleskavica or the "Bosnian burger", or (in a somewhat distant second) the tiny newish place with a name I forgot on 31st St. near 30th Ave., which I think is an offshoot of Bosna Express in Ridgewood. The almost-kosher halal meat they use, however, is made even better when it's smeared with these places' fresh kajmak and/or yogurt.

                  The lamb with cumin at Little Pepper is a hell of a thing, too.

                  IMO Donovan's isn't even the second-best burger in western Queens. It's big, though.

                  1. re: hatless

                    And what, pray tell, IS the best burger in Western Queens? this is important...

                2. Lamb burger from the Xian stall in Flushing,
                  morcilla from El Chivito d'Oro,
                  repeat Xian burger,
                  TX ranger BBQ,
                  repeat Xian burger <= repeat as needed...

                  1. That reminds me of two people who married into my family and they used to be vegetarians, be careful about coming to the dark side.

                    Get roast pork by the pound at East on Main Street. Make sure you don't get lean.

                    42-07 Main Street
                    Flushing, NY 11355

                    I don't recommend that place for dinner just take out roast pork.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: designerboy01

                      talk to me about this roast pork-- how is it taken out, exactly, and what should be done with it?

                      1. re: bennyt

                        You just walk straight inside East past through the doorway. You should see some BBQ after the doorway. Just say you want roast pork (it should look reddish) and they sell it to you by the pound. I just eat it. You can eat it with rice and veggies which is how its typically served in a Chinese fast food or BBQ place. They may have the rice option if you ask them. Most of these BBQ places serve roast pork and rice and if not stingy throw in some veggies. I like good roast pork as I get older.

                        This reminds me of Bourdain, when he went to Singapore and he was hanging out with a bunch old Chinese men. They were just hanging out with some roast pork and beer and sharing some laughs. I wonder if that is what I will turn into. I really like good roast pork as I get older.

                        1. re: designerboy01

                          How's East's pork (the one with the crispy skin, not the BBQ)? I usually get it at the shop near Main and Roosevelt (the relatively new place). Honestly, I don't think pork is something that I crave. But DH loves it with every fiber of his being. I think it must be a Chinese thing.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I only eat this when I'm at my parents place. I think the last time I ate it, it was pretty good after my Mom cooked it to something else, but that was a while since we had roast pig. I would give it a shot. If you are in Manhattan I still stick with Golden Gate Market (Kam Man) on Canal Street. I like the rib cut better.

                            1. re: designerboy01

                              I think DH found out that he wasn't a fan of the rib cut because of the excess fat that came with it (probably not very Chinese). But he does like the pork from Kam Man.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Yeah its not the most healthy, that is why I didn't eat it for a long time. But when I do, I cook it with shrimp paste and it gets really addictive. That always makes me come back for more. Its all your fault I feel like having some now...

                                There is a version roast pig with with Crab Roe in Hong Kong...you will fall out of your chair if you eat that.

                                1. re: designerboy01

                                  charsiu with shrimp paste? that is genius!

                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                    No its Roast Pig with Fermented Bean Paste.

                                    Adventures in roast pig (Cantonese)

                                    Another version would be Roast Pig Dark Soy with Sugar. Which is very good.

                                    The most luxurious one is Roast Pig with Crab Roe.

                                    You can't get your choice of skins here, but in HK you can get sandy skin or smooth skin Roast Pig. Its mostly sandy in NY. For Roast Piglets we go for the skin and eat it with bread similar to beijing duck bread. We use grain sugar on it, because it offsets the saltiness of the pig skin and gives it an extra crunch when you bite into it. Pork, pork, pork....

                                    1. re: designerboy01

                                      Wow. Now you're making me crave pork (which is rare). The crab roe one sounds awesome.

                    2. I'd recommend Christos Steakhouse in Astoria. For something more casual try Gyro Place in Astoria on Ditmars. They have a gyro sandwich with halomi cheese and bacon that's amazing. Of course you could always get a great burger at Jackson Hole also in Astoria near LGA.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: hudsonvalleyfoodblog

                        At long last, the OP has returned to this thread. I have tried many of your suggestions at this point, and I will report back in full in the near future (but at the moment, I'm running out the door to try a new Szechuan place in Flushing). But for now, I just want to give a shout out to "hudsonvalleyfoodblog" for his/her "Gyro Place Special Sandwich" recommendation (although nb. I think the restaurant is also called "Aphrodite"). It is by far the best sandwich I've had in recent memory (well, let me qualify that- best sandwich reminiscent of a Philly-style cheesesteak hoagie; I have, after all, had fantastic tortas at De Mole, Vietnamese sandwiches at Nicky's, etc.). The Gyro Place sandwich It's even better if you order some fries and throw them in the sandwich. What a great discovery. The gyro meat/haloumi cheese/bacon combination is a winner, and the rolls that they use are quite fresh (wonder if they're from one of the local bakeries?). And the price is right too. In sum, South Philly meets Astoria.

                        1. re: bennyt

                          (sung to Pringles tune...) "Betcha can't eat just one!" - huh, bennyt? (We won't tell the rabbi, if you don't)

                          1. re: fredid

                            Don't wory, ain't nobody tellin no rabbi.
                            FWIW, though, I will mention that I tried the sandwich with chicken. I guess I was expecting the gyro-style chicken (like a chicken shwarma sort of thing), but instead it was grilled chicken breast. Not worth it. Go with the beef.

                            That sandwich got me to thinking, though- are there any other gyros places in Astoria worth trying?

                          2. re: bennyt

                            Benny, glad you enjoyed it. I don't live in Astoria any more but whenever I am close I swing in for that sandwich.