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Nov 17, 2008 04:17 AM

Waterfront International--Flushing..

I am planning a dinner for a group (about 8 people) of Chinese-food-loving friends. I have read a few reviews but there does not appear to be all that much discussion of this place here on CH. What exactly is the style of cooking here? Could I get a short list of recommended dishes and some opinions of the restaurant. None of us speak or read Chinese, by the way. Favorite dinner spots among our group so far have been Sichuan and Shanghai in orientation.

Many thanks!

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  1. Part of the problem may be that the place is now called Fu Run (Fu Ran?). I found one brief thread that I posted on: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/531287

    There's probably more. It's very good and a # of us have been there several times since the original post. The staff is very helpful but they dont speak much English. Since there's mainly an Asian clientele, just look around and point.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Steve R

      Thanks, Steve! Can I get some recommendations on what to order from you?

      1. re: erica

        As I remember my several trips there this year, the mung bean sheet noodles tossed with cucumber, etc. was the highlight for me. Dont miss this dish there. The pork strips that were to be rolled into square sheets of ??? was excellent as well. (ask them about this... they'll probably understand what you're trying to say). The lamb with cumin was not as crispy as is made at the place in Bay Ridge (actually, its the cumin beef dish at Bay Ridge that's crispy, but dont quibble) and not as hot as the one at S&T, but was a credible version as well. The small whole jelly fish w/"couch" (actually conch) was a little more than ok & the watercress with garlic was very nice. The whole fish was sauced very differently from other versions and was the best I've eaten in awhile. The fungus dish less so but interesting all the same. There is a strange looking dish that many of the patrons order that is a big deep wok with large disks of bread all around it's edges and cooked food in it's base. It seems like their signature dish (you'll see it, no doubt). However, it was, to us, disappointing and not recommended except for the novelty. Again, I'd really recommend turning on the smile and trying to get the very friendly staff to recommend dishes... make it clear that you want to eat like their local patrons and see what happens.

        As an aside, I remember that Dave Cook was with us on at least one of our dinners there but I cant seem to locate any posting on this meal on his site eatingintranslation.com I know he took a couple of hundred photos, so it must be there somewhere.... Dave? Also, polecat and prunefeet were there and may remember more. Have fun.

        1. re: Steve R

          Since I eat much more than I can possibly blog, I never did update my older Waterfront/Fu Run post, but I do have a few pictures that might help:


          1. re: DaveCook

            Those pics are great and will help a lot! Thanks!

          2. re: Steve R

            Steve, for the sake of clarity, I believe the noodles are described here as green bean, not mung bean sheets. But really really good, I highly recommend them too, they have mustard oil on them and have a nice chew. I also highly recommend tiger vegetables, which is shredded scallions, chiles and I don't remember what else, but much more than the sum of its parts. The shredded pork Steve described is wrapped in tofu skins. And that specialty dish that we do not recommend was called something like "miscellaneous fish with assorted cookies"...the fish had a strong star anise flavor and the "cookies' were some sort of cornmeal cake slapped onto the sides of the wok...tried to like it, failed. I love this place, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

        2. re: Steve R

          The New York Times erroneously seems to think that Waterfront International still exists. Well, they do have a recommended dish which might still be served:

          1. re: Joe MacBu

            And, as tempting as it is to blast them for not keeping up, they got the dish that I loved and forgot to mention: dried tofu with fresh hot peppers. Damn them.

        3. As the poster “Steve R” has stated, the original “Waterfront International” went out of business a while back. The “Waterfront” restaurant served northeast Chinese food, which is not a favorite Chinese regional food in Flushing, as several restaurants serving northeast food have come and gone. The restaurant now in the location of the old “Waterfront” still serves many of the dishes in the former “Waterfront” restaurant, but it does not exclusively serve northeast food any longer.

          However, if you would like to try a Chinese restaurant serving exclusively northeast cuisine, as “Yoda” would say, “there is another one.” We had posted information in Chowhound about a restaurant named appropriately “Northeast Restaurant” located at the southern end of Flushing on Main Street, last November 2007 (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4643...).

          It should be noted that it has been a while since we last dined at the “Northeast Restaurant.” One year is a long time for Chinese restaurants as chefs, waiters, and even owners can come and go within one year’s time period.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lwong

            Many thanks to two particularly helpful hounds! I think I will suggest ex-Waterfront/Fu Ran to the group.

            Would love to read further suggestions on what to order there..with a group of 8 or so, we can sample many dishes..

            1. re: erica

              The dessert that we had was great for a group. Lots of fruits and potatoes, with crispy, syrupy (though not sickeningly sweet) skins, piled high on a plate and stuck together to the point where it sometimes took two sets of chopsticks to pry a helping free. As instructed by the wonderful and helpful waitress, we all took great pleasure in hoisting our helpings aloft, watching strands of hot sugar stretch into the air, before plunking them down in cold water to cool them off. This dessert reminded me of the glazed potatoes that are sometimes served as pan chan in Korean restaurants. I can't remember the name of this dish - nor can I vouche that it's of this planet, looks more like a science project gone wrong and tasty at the same time - but if you describe it to the wait staff, they'll know what you mean.

              On the whole, I enjoyed the group meal I had at Fu Ron. Pretty much everything we had was good, but, for some reason, the cumin lamb, which was especially tender and flavorful, stays with me, along with a jellyfish dish or two. The waitstaff, as Steve noted, is generally very helpful, so don't be bashful. Ask about their northern chinese dishes/specialties, and enjoy some kimchi and peanuts as you wait.


              1. re: Polecat

                Many thanks! I will put this place on the list for our group..we try to hold a dinner once every two weeks..

          2. Five of us had an excellent dinner at this restaurant last night. Staff were most warm and welcoming and several waitpeople spoke fluent English. These were our selections:

            Mixed Vegetable with Green Bean Sheet Jelly--shredded vegetables, strips of pork, small cooked shrimp, tossed with thick translucent noodles made of bean curd (noodles were similar to those at the Xian stand in the basement of the Main Street food court). I would love to have a better description of these noodles and how they are made.. The waitress asks if we like spice and when we answer in the affirmative, but with some hesitation, she drizzles a small amount of mustard oil on the platter. My advice here is to ask to have the bottle left on the table, so you can add additional heat, as we did. Like wasabi, the heat travels up through your sinuses to the top of your head!

            This was the only dish that I was lukewarm about. The flavors were good and ingredients were sparkling fresh; I did not like the consistency of the thick bean noodles. My fellow diners were most enthusiastic, however. Interesting and different.

            Dried tofu skins with Fresh Hot Pepper--Hot green pepper tossed with squares of thin, pressed bean curd sheets (think maltagliati pasta!) Most excellent!

            Celery and Dried Bean Curd (from the paper menu; no longer on the regular menu). Different rendition than that of both Spicy and Tasty and Little Pepper, this dish combined celery with ribbons of pressed (not smoked) bean curd. Excellent!

            Crispy Lamb with Chili Pepper--Fabulous! The hit of the evening! Crispy, indeed, with appropriate heat but not very oily. Although the bulk of the menu focuses on the cuisine of NE China, (and one waitress described herself as "Korean Chinese") this dish reflects Uighur Muslim tradition from Western China.

            Shredded Pork Wrapped in Tofu Skins--Strips of braised pork served with scallions, served with a plate pressed bean curd skin wrappers, like an exalted version of Moo Shu Pork. Excellent!

            Crispy Pork with Orange--Fried pork studded with orange rind. Excellent. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here??)

            Dou Miao--pea shoots. Very ood.

            Whole fish--sorry I do not know which fish dish this was but it was very good, in a brown sauce. (Ordered by the Chinese speaker at our table.)

            Eggplant and Potato--We asked the waitress to recommend a typical Liaoning vegetable dish. The result, swathed in a soy-based sauce, combined creamy eggplant and browned and braised potato chunks. Very good!

            There were too many tempting dishes that we were not able to sample on this first visit, including the popular sweet potato, banana and taro dessert. We plan to return here very soon!

            With quite a few beers, the bill for 5 of us, with food left to take home, totalled $28 per person with tip.

            As I wrote above, the staff was warm and welcoming and at least two of the female servers were fluent in English. Although there are still many Liaoning dishes, the menu covers a broad swatch of geographical territory and I spotted a number of Sichuan items as well as the NW/Muslim offerings. Highly recommended!

            Near the corner of Prince Street and Roosevelt Avenue, at #40-09 Prince Street.

            4 Replies
            1. re: erica

              Great report, thanks!

              Fu Run
              40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

              1. re: erica

                So glad you enjoyed it! I love this place, and I agree with your assessment of the staff, very warm and friendly and helpful. I like the green bean sheets much more than you do, I love the texture. Be sure to try the tiger vegetables next time. I really like that shredded pork with tofu skins dish too...with the exception of the very strange Assorted fishes with miscellaneous cookies (or something very much like that), I have very much enjoyed everything I have had here.

                1. re: erica

                  So glad you enjoyed it, I love this place. I like the green been sheet jelly a lot more than you do, I think, I love the chewy texture. Next time be sure to try the tiger vegetables. I also liked that dish with shredded pork and bean curd sheets a lot. About everything we tried at this place was fresh and tasty and agree with your assessment of the staff, warm and helpful.

                  1. re: erica

                    My husband and I went last night. We had 3 dishes, which was more than enough for the two of us. We started with the country style vegetable with Green Bean Sheet Jelly. My husband LOVED this. I thought it was OK, though an interesting mix of flavors. I've also been burping mustard all day...Then we had the dried tofu skins with fresh hot pepper. It was my turn to really love it and it left my husband lukewarm. I loved the texture of the tofu skins and the simplicity of the taste informed by the peppers. I had the rest for lunch today and it was even better as the peppers had more time to permeate the tofu. We also had the lamb with chili pepper, which is the best lamb I've ever had (proviso -- I rarely eat lamb). It was not too oily, not too chewy and not too crisp, but tender little cumin-y morsels. Almost Indian.
                    I would love to try more items on the menu, but that menu is encyclopedic, and thus, daunting! Got any other recs??

                  2. We liked this place so much that we are planning a repeat visit this week. I'm just wondering if anyone else has been and can recommend additional dishes..

                    About the casseroles: Little Cabbage with Tofu in Casserole. This sounds similar to a dish I had and liked very much in Seoul.. Has anyone tried this, or any of the other casseroles?

                    Also, what is "sour cabbage?" (This seems to be an ingredient in quite a few dishes..)

                    Many thanks!

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: erica

                        I didn't see your "sour cabbage" question until now:
                        You can find perspective for this place (now called Fu Run?)
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/246958 and the bit about the sour cabbage that was staple of the Northeastern China cuisine.

                      2. re: erica

                        Jeff many thanks for the full review! I went back last night and had another excellent dinner; if you have a group and call ahead they will give you the private room at the back of the restaurant.

                        We ordered the same things as last time, and added:

                        Casserole of little cabbage and tofu. Although this is listed as "spicy" on the menu, it was actually a light, almost clear soup of bok-choy-type vegetable and soft tofu with a little meat (not sure which kind)good flavor but not essential.

                        Fried eggplant and pork-- Large chunks of eggplant fried until the outside is very crisp, almost hard; the inside remains creamy. A sauce of ground pork (and peas and carrots!) is heaped on top. Excellent! Wonderful contrast between the hard outside and the soft inside of the eggplant.

                        Sweet Taro--we liked this. Served with bowls of water to use as dipping medium, to harden the outside of the sugar-coated taro slices. The inside, again, remains creamy, and without much taste,but the outside is almost addictive.

                        Noticed a table eating what looked like satay.

                        Again, an excellent meal,although I suspect that they toned down the spices. They did not bring the hot mustard oil for the bean sheets this time, and when I asked, the waitress told us she had already put the oil on the dish. But it was not at all spicy and thus not as interesting.

                        Also,being in the back room means that it is not as easy to get the attention of the servers.

                        With beers, $22 per person. Excellent.

                      3. Hi all. Ate here last night, the place is now named Fu Run, yes. Erica, I see that I must have looked at your post before I went last night, so I'm not sure how many new dishes I could recommend to you. But anyway:

                        Been meaning to come here for quite some time, and a small family dinner seemed a good way to try some dishes; we ended up ordering 4 dishes plus noodles, and dessert. total bill was $74 everything included (no alcohol, a ton of food and a ton of leftovers).

                        The place was empty when we walked in at 6pm on a Tuesday but quickly filled by the time we left 2 hours later. There is a board of specials right when you walk in which is written in all chinese; actually, almost everything in the place was written in chinese; the specials seemed to be where the action was but we didn't actually see it until we saw some intriguing dishes being bought out that we didn't see on the menu and our waitress pointed it out; would be good to get a mandarin speaker in your group to decipher.

                        The food was interesting; we were served roast peanuts and a hybrid kimchi as soon as we sat down (tasted more like pickled cabbage with chili garlic sauce) and we ordered:

                        - mixed vegetable with green bean sheet jelly
                        - crispy lamb with chili pepper
                        - shredded pork stomach in fresh hot pepper
                        - pork with sour cabbage and pig blood in casserole
                        - jajiangmian (noodle with minced meat sauce)
                        - mixed delight sweet stuff (taro, sweet potato, apple and banana)

                        overall, the food was quite good and unique. The sheet jelly stuff is basically like mung-bean sheets, same as the liang-pi, and tossed tableside with cucumber, bean sprouts, woodear, some egg, pork, etc. served cold and quite delicious. they sprinkle it with horseradish/wasabi oil and I'm sure you could ask for more or less spice. the salad was quite salty, lotta raw garlic and very good for an app. the lamb was good, very tender shreds, almost like a bulgogi cut for lamb, and sauteed with cumin, crushed red pepper, quite tasty. the pig stomach was also good, served with a ton of mild jalapenos. also salty, quite "xia-fan" (literally, down rice) and that was the case for almost everything we had; very tasty, flavorful, could easily have 3-4 bowls of rice with what we ordered. but we held back cuz we wanted the dessert. we ordered the casserole which came in the typical "sa-gua" dish and it was really good. the sour cabbage is your basic sua-cai but very finely shredded almost, the pork was basically thin slices of pork belly with a ton of fat; the meat was alright; the pigs blood was good but overall, a fine casserole. I'd strongly suggest getting any of the casseroles with the sour cabbage, but you could probably skip the pig's blood; it wasn't that amazing. the noodles were alright; quite greasy and very different from any that I've ever had (korean-style, or homestyle with more black bean paste); the basic flavor was salty and sourish, wouldn't recommend it but for $5, a steal.

                        lastly we saved room for dessert (we got most of the food to go, there was so much and so salty!) and it was the fried things in sugar, served w/ bowls of cold water so you had to dunk it in to get them crispy. so good! I would skip the medley and just get taro only (cost $3 less) or if you're going with a big group, just get two orders of taro; it is really really good and we even saw people ordering it as part of their mains, just to eat as a vegetable.

                        our neighbors had some interesting specials; a large platter of 6 fried croaker (yellow fish?) fish was $9.95, your basic bone-intensive fried fish but it looked like a real good time. People also ordered a shredded pork dish that came with flat sheets of tofu skin, looked like a pile of napkins and I guess you could make little rollups ("shredded pork with black bean pasta"). Our waitress also recommended a soup that was "Chicken with mushroom and vermicelli" but I wasn't in the mood. We saw some other people ordered things that arrived on sizzling platters "tie-ban" which, at least, sounded exciting.

                        Overall, the place has a ton of sichuan stuff like the water-cooked meats and fish and also the stomach/tripe/roast beef cold meats with chili oils, there seemed to be some nice soups and casseroles as well. the problem with the place is that their english translations made everything sound really boring (and there are tons of typos) but the actual dishes are quite exciting so its hard to figure out if maybe that chicken and mushroom dish was actually something amazing. any of the organ meat stuff should be really good but my dad isn't usually into that, otherwise I would've ordered the lamb kidney or lamb liver, etc. would have also liked to try more of their seafood; probably the oyster with pepper and salt should be really good or some of the conch, squid or clam dishes. apparently their jellyfish is good, I read on some other post. we didn't try any of their plain vegetable dishes but they should be good.

                        basically, try to bring a native speaker with you to get good translations because you might not know what their translation actually refers to, and try to get them to run through the specials because those should be good. The place is BYOB cuz we saw people walk in with cases of Tsingtao and whipping out bottles of mao-tai (dangerous!). And, definitely save room for the fried taro dessert.

                        Fu Run
                        40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354