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New in Flushing: M&T Restaurant - A Taste of Qingdao

In “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles,” Jennifer 8. Lee laid out some parameters in her search for great “Chinese restaurants for Chinese people”: chopsticks at the table, menus in Chinese, wait-staff who speak Mandarin, house specialties written on the wall in Chinese and “fish tanks with live creatures that might end up on your plate.”

You’ll find four out of five at the new M&T Restaurant Inc. - 美而特 (Mei Er Tai - “ Beautiful and Special” in Chinese.) It is barely ten days old and the owner is Mr. James Tang (唐). He speaks very little English but his wife does and his son Tom, to some degree. They are all very friendly and welcoming. They arrived from Qingdao, the northern port city of Shandong province and have staked their claim at 44-09 Kissena Boulevard, just off the corner of Kissena and Cherry Avenue.

There are four square tables for four and two round tables for eight. As you enter, on the right there are about eight cold appetizers in trays by the counter. On the wall, to the left are listed about 30 House Specials; not all of which are available as Mr. Tang is still importing some special ingredients from Qingdao. Upon his suggestion I sampled three of these specials plus a Bean Jelly dish from the appetizer section of the menu. Before they arrived Mr. Tang served up some special Green Tea from Qingdao.

青島涼粉 (Qingdao Liang Fen) $5.95
Qingdao Cold Pasta with Special Sauce on the menu but it seems to me it is Grass Jelly with Special Sauce. A large bowl of dark black jelly cubes with cucumber, garlic and some kind of minced sea-type vegetable. A hint of vinegar offsets the slightly bitter jelly taste.

椒鹽嶗山蔘 (Jiao Yan Lao Shan Shen) $9.99
Salt and Pepper Lao Shan Ginseng
Lao Shan is a revered mountain east of Qingdao and thought of as one of the places where Taoism was born. Here ginseng is lightly battered (almost tempura-like) quickly deep fried and served with bits of sliced red and green pepper. A slightly bitter taste of ginseng is offset by the batter texture and salt.

韭菜比管魚 (Jiu Cai Bi Guan Yu) $9.99
Squid with Chinese Chives
Lightly stir fried tubes of squid with Chinese chives. Simple yet tasty.

青島小炒 (Qingdao Xiao Chao)
Qingdao Quick Stir Fry

Here slivers of stir-fried potatoes, bacon, red pepper, celery and pine mushrooms, Fist Vegetable and Chinese fiddleheads! Delcious.

松蘑 (Song Mo) or pine mushrooms are a wild, edible fungi found in northern China (as well as Sichuan, Taiwan and other places.) Also, another exotic vegetable in this dish is

拳頭菜 (Quan Tou Cai) “Clenched Fist Vegetable” or “Fist Vegetable” which is a wild herb I think is called bracken fern. The spring sprouts of young bracken fern are curled at the end like a child's fist, hence its name Quantoucai or fist vegetable. The curled fronds are also called fiddleheads.

A welcome edition to Flushing and I place I certainly plan on delving into again.

For a slideshow:
http://picasaweb.google.com/roswellhi...

More on Fist Vegetable:
http://en.bailongwan.com/newEbiz1/Ebi...

-----
SN New Restaurant
44-09 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

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  1. Thanks scoopG, looking forward to trying this - haven't eaten specifically Qingdao food ever before, and dongbei food in general is not too plentiful in NY.

    10 Replies
    1. re: buttertart

      Love to hear what you think. I once had had tiny fried scorpoids in Qingdao! Not to pick nits but...Shandong Province is not considered Dongbei. That would be Heilongjiang, Jilin and Shenyang Provinces. Not to worry am working now on a review of a new Dongbei place in Flushing! More later...

      1. re: scoopG

        What is it considered then? Just Shandong? I thought I knew my Chinese geography reasonably well.
        Flushing is a subway haul for us but will get there as soon as possible.
        Look forward to yours on the other restaurant. More Northern food in NY please, ate a lot in Taipei and miss it to this day.

        1. re: buttertart

          I think just plain old Shandong. The Germans had absolute control over it from 1918 until 1945. Here's more on Dongbei in general if you don't mind (last time I got into Chinese geography I was flamed!)

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeas...

          1. re: scoopG

            since we're picking nits - the germans had the concession for Qingdao and jiaozhou bay from 1898. At the beginning of the first world war, the japanese attacked and took it over. China regained it in the 1920's.
            Dongbei = Manchuria.
            Shandong is south east of Beijing.
            I wonder if they have a special kind of jiaozi - qingdao is famous for... Lujiao (oven dumplings) served like a pinwheel and fried.

            1. re: Jerome

              Well your right and wrong and I am wrong and right! I did say geography was one of my slamming points and so it is. Must have gotten mixed up between the review of M&T and Golden Palace. Of course Shandong is not Dongbei! The Japanese did not have to do any attacking though to take control of Shandong Province from the Germans in 1919 - they were "awarded" it from the Western allies at Versailles. This outrage prompted the famous May 4th Movement in 1919.

              I'll have to ask at M&T about the oven dumplings. Which Lu is that? Lu3 of the stew variety like Lu3 Shui3? They do feature Three Delicacies Dumplings, Squid Dumplings, Shrimp Dumplings and Vegetable Dumplings.

              1. re: scoopG

                QIngdao was taken by the Japanese on november, 1914. The takeover was suported by th versailles conference and yes the May 4 (wusiyundong) movement started as a result.
                http://www.dhm.de/ausstellungen/tsing...
                http://www.dhm.de/ausstellungen/tsing...
                I think it's this Lu
                爐 炉
                lu2. oven furnace stove.
                not lu braised or lu shandong.
                there are some nice pictures here from the german period in qingdao. - to be fair, when I was in Jinan in 1982, there were some wonderful fruit jams offered at breakfast to european tour groups (germans) - we got hte local breakfast - xifan with smoked fish.
                http://www.deutsche-schutzgebiete.de/...

                1. re: Jerome

                  Thanks much for those links (will have to dust of my German!) especially the old photos. I do recall seeing the old German style homes in Qingdao in the late 1980's. So these special dumplings are called lujiao 炉饺 then? I will definitely ask at M&T about them.

                  1. re: Jerome

                    I asked the owners of the M&T and while they said they were familiar with oven buns in Qingdao (炉包子 – lu2 bao1 zi) they were not with oven dumplings (炉饺子 = lu2 jiao3).

                    1. re: scoopG

                      my mistake. they are lu baozi.
                      jiao bao jian jiao, guotier, in the north sometimes the distinctions blurred for me. But I porbably just wrote it down wrong. The restaurant in monterey park/alhambra that had them is called qingdao bread food (kid you not). it's possible that it was lujiao - but if they're served in a dish pinwheel style and that's the dish.
                      the yelp review calls them lubao. so my mistake, probably. try them. they're pretty good.

                      1. re: Jerome

                        I don't they have them! Interesting though when I plugged the characters of lu jiao zi into baidu.com plenty of vendors for the small lu jiao zi serving pans showed up so I could see how they would be served pinwheel style.

      2. Sounds like an essential stop on the Flushing chow trail! Thanks for the report and the pics!

        1. nice scoop, G. your squid dish, in particular, looks tender and absolutely delicious.

          i think clenched fist vegetable is actually a bit different than what are sold as fiddleheads in the U.S. or at least they look and taste pretty different to me. (might just be that they're dried and reconstituted?)

          2 Replies
          1. re: cimui

            Hi Cimui! Yes that squid dish was nice and light, very little oil. I think you may be right regarding fiddleheads. I've had them fresh here in the USA in the spring and they are green. These were dark in color and most likely dried and reconstituted. You can see one in the photo of the dish on the top upper left side of the plate - dark and rectangular tube like in shape.

            1. re: cimui

              that clenched fist vegetable (or fiddlehead, etc.) is something I've seen in most bi-bim-baps I've had; very same color, shape, texture. you can always find it at woorijip in their bi-bim-bap to go although they tend to overcook it so it ends up too soft. found in a lotta banchan too, prepared like the shigumchi (sp?) or spinach (sesame oil and whatnot).

            2. Oh, I should point out that the 31 House Specials are written in Chinese only. But M&T does have a full menu with both English and Chinese.

              2 Replies
              1. re: scoopG

                And you know what the house specials only in Chinese means...get that pencil sharpened, my man. You chould sell this service, I should think.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Am on the road now and can't get back there until mid-August. They wrote the specials in almost grass-like strokes so I would have to have go over them with them when they are not busy. There is one waiter there on weekends I think who speaks English well enough.

              2. awesome, thanks for this (and your other) post.

                1. Thanks, scoop - appreciate the tips.

                  I dropped in yesterday afternoon, showed Mr. Tang a printout of your post and tried the Qingdao xiao chao. Great dish - a delicious tangle of vegetables, by turns earthy, woodsy, chewy, crunchy. Mine also had a small amount of seafood: clams and bits of squid.

                  When I sat down I was brought a dish from the cold case: peanuts and bits of carrot, celery and dried tofu, lightly salted. Nice way to start. Next time I'll definitely hit the cold appetizers. There was a tray of good-looking squid with celery in there.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: squid kun

                    Thanks for the update - don't know how I missed the clams and squid bits in the xiao chao!

                    1. re: scoopG

                      Maybe it varies depending on what they have on hand. Mine didn't have red pepper like yours, for example.

                      I liked the vibe here BTW. Mr. Tang was very friendly. He and his wife (I think) took turns filling dumplings at the back of the dining room.

                      When I arrived around 4, I was the only customer and one employee (a son, maybe?) was dozing at one of the large tables. By the time I left three other parties were there, working on beer, tea and small plates. That seems like a good way to go if you're not looking for a full meal.

                  2. My mid-summer romance with M&T continues…

                    I stopped in again this week for a visit with my good friend Anya in tow. Their menu offers 31 “Tastes of Qingdao” dishes (青島口味 Qingdao Kouwei,) 35 Cold Appetizers, 29 Meat Dishes, 13 Vegetable Dishes, 19 Noodle Dishes and 8 Soups. There are also 28 Lunch Specials at $4.50 each. There are now some 64 House Specials written in Chinese on colorful strips on the wall, arrayed in two rows. While Mrs. Tang presented us with tea and an appetizer, Mr. Tang was adding four more House Specials to the wall!

                    Anya wanted to try one the wall-listed House Specials: “Fragrant Floating Golden Dragon Beard” (飄香金龍須 - Piao Xiang Jin Long Xu) but Mr. Tang said it was not available, as he did not have all the ingredients. Maybe next time. He suggested we try a dish not even listed on the wall or in their menu! 韭菜炒海肠 - Jiu Cai Chao Hai Chang. Seems some special ingredient had just arrived in one of his weekly air shipments from China. We just had to say yes. More on this dish below (#4 below.)

                    Here is what we had:

                    1.) Kelp with Carrots, Garlic and Cilantro Stems (海帶 Hai Dai)
                    A hint of vinegar present in this refreshing appetizer.

                    2.) Qingdao Smoked Fish Fillet with Sweet Sauce (#12 under Cold Appetizers)
                    (青島熏魚 – Qingdao Xunyu)
                    Six to eight pieces of a blackened dried and smoked fish with a scattering of ginger that was only slightly sweet. Anya noted that the fish here is not really filleted. What you get appears to be steaks cut from a fairly bony fish. More flavorful and better textured than fillets would be but with bones.

                    3.) Zha Jiang Mian (#2 under Noodle Dishes) 炸醬麪
                    A huge portion ($4.50) with plenty of sauce. Bits of dried tofu, preserved vegetables and even tiny green peas made this very delectable.

                    4.) Stir Fried Sea Worms with Chinese Chives (韭菜炒海肠 Jiu Cai Chao Hai Chang)
                    A surprise hit. 海肠 - Hai Chang or “Sea Intestines” to the best of our knowledge are Sea Worms! Lightly stir-fried with chives. Barely any oil and very tempting.

                    5.) Salt and Pepper Bombay Duck (Wall Listed House Special)
                    (椒鹽龍頭魚 Jiao Yan Long Tou Yu) Bombay Duck is lizardfish, which is salted and dried like bacalao. It must have been soaked to reconstitute it. Here pieces are dipped in a light batter and then fried with some fried basil pieces on top. Enjoyable.

                    6.) Fried Pork Belly (#18 “Fried Beacon” on the menu under House Specials)
                    (炸五花肉 Zha Wu Hua Rou) OK, you’ve had David Chang’s Pork Belly Buns and Temple Snack’s Gua Bao. Now kick it even higher with their even lower cholesterol fried pork belly strips! Seems there is a trace of five-spice powder in the pork. Scrumptious.

                    After we paid our bill Mr. Tang gave two appetizers to sample on the house:

                    Peanuts with Celery (#19 under Cold Appetizers)
                    (西芹花生米 Xi Cai Hua Sheng Mi)
                    He had served up this to Squid Kun to start his meal off right.

                    Pork Skin Aspic in Jelly – (#24 under Cold Appetizers)
                    (皮凍 Pi Dong)
                    There was an excellent dipping sauce (black vinegar, garlic, other flavorings) served up with the Pork Skin Aspic. The aspic itself was darker, clearer, and more elegant than the versions Anya had tasted in Dongbei restaurants (where it usually is more grey in color, blander-flavored and is presented in coarse chunks instead of attractive slices.) Mr. Tang tells us that since the pork skin is very rich in natural gelatin, there is no added packaged gelatin to their pork skin aspic. That's what makes the aspic jell so well. Formerly no one in Qingdao would try making it except in the cold season (prior to the availability of refrigeration) because it would just melt in hot weather. It became a familiar Lunar New Year treat. The portion he gave us even started melting on the plate the longer we talked about it! Not available for takeout in hot weather.

                    The place was packed by the middle of our meal and we also met the Tang’s English speaking niece Sally and younger brother John who also speaks English. Anya also loved the hunks of cold watermelon he brought out before we left - a perfect touch considering the hot weather.

                    For another slide show:

                    http://picasaweb.google.com/roswellhi...

                    海肠 - Hai Chang or “Sea Intestines” or Sea Worms seems to be Urechis unicinctus. For more:

                    http://www.chinatravel.com/china-trav...

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpstvN...

                    ex www.baidu.com:
                    Sea-intestinal:
                    “To fishermen in the Jiaodong it is also known as "sea chicken.” In some places it is called "naked sea cucumber.” Its nutritional value is not less than the sea cucumber. But over the years it has often been used as bait. For the general population it can be fit for human consumption, with liver and kidney warming as well as an aid against impotence, especially for male consumption.”

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: scoopG

                      Thanks again, this sounds better than the Liaoning place actually - must try. The watermelon at the end is sooo old country Chinese, I wish NY CN restaurants did this routinely in the summer as is common in both the PRC and Taiwan. Melon should be both better and cheaper than oranges (which a lot of places do serve of course) this time of year.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        I still have dishes I want to try at the Liaoning place. The watermelon was served special to us - they did not serve fruit to other guests. One of the reasons I like M&T is the family atmosphere there.

                      2. re: scoopG

                        You've got me chomping at the bit here, Scoop. Fantastic review, and thanks for those links. Lately, one thing or another has come up to foil the best of intentions, but, by hell or high water, I'll be hitting this joint soon.
                        P.

                        1. re: Polecat

                          It is fast becoming one of my favorite spots in Flushing with so many unique food offerings.

                        2. re: scoopG

                          sounds really good! that smoked fish dish, that's found a lot in shanghai restaurants right? I love that stuff, really good. sounds like you are getting into some great stuff, very tempting. thanks.

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            I would guess that since the Chinese have been smoking foods since antiquity it could be found across a wide range of their cuisines.

                            1. re: scoopG

                              Thank you Mr. scoopG. The folks at T&M were helpful and friendly to a surprising degree. They asked about my food preferences and suggested dishes from their region. The food here has the glow that comes from care and expertise. The steamed fish I had evokes another two over used words; subtle and perfection. The Hai Chang with chives was in the simple broth that has been eluding me for years.
                              Many postings request the hole in the wall with special food. For now at least T&M is one of those near mythical places. Time to show up.

                              1. re: wew

                                Glad you enjoyed your meal there!

                        3. It appears that the NYT’s Oliver Strand basically had almost everything from this Chowhound posting, save the "Pickle with hot sauce," which he rather glibly describes as "Chinese broccoli with dried chili" (the menu says xue li hong, which ought to be the "red-in-snow" vegetable -- an amaranth Anya tells me.) Oh, their House Specials listed on the wall in Chinese are now up to 56 dishes!

                          http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/din...

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: scoopG

                            I was very amused to see that. I suppose it's Sietsema's next "find" as well. And no credit to CH either, a bit much given that the research on truly new and exciting places is obviously done here. Will go back soon, but will have to put major pressure on my husband to get him away from insisting on another visit to Shanghai Xiao Chi first as Jiangzhe food is is his absolute favorite.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I know Oliver Strand plagiarized CH because he repeated something Anya pointed out to me from my original post that I failed to correct! Good solid research on his part would have revealed that the "Qingdao Cold Pasta" on the menu is not actually "grass jelly." Strictly speaking, that is jelly made from a particular plant, liang fen cao ("cold starch grass"). Anya’s dictionary of Chinese food plants says the botanical name is Mesona chinensis. You can find images and descriptions of real grass jelly on Google.

                              Anya informs me that Liang fen "noodles" are different. (Though you can see how the confusion of names arose.) They are usually made from mung bean starch that is dissolved in water and chilled to form a jelly. Then you cut it into strands or scrape it the way we all used to see it being done in that stall at the Roosevelt Mall - with that wonderful little scraping tool they had!

                            2. re: scoopG

                              amaranth greens are delicious! it's a good example of this place's home-style or family-style food cuz that's a vegetable found in many chinese family gardens (mine included) that you just might cut a bunch down and stir-fry real quick for dinner. their qingdao xiao chao (and pretty much every region of china has a similar dish of basically, julienned vegetables with a little bit of pork) is also very home-style and totally delicious.

                              1. re: scoopG

                                So it wasn't this place Sietsema picked up on, but M&T...too tacky for words.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  sietsema's M&T review is coming . . .
                                  http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkint...

                                  and of course, you just saw the thread on Golden Palace too, buttertart:
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6408...

                                  ah well.

                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                    Oops had my restaurants mixed up. The man needs to be reprimanded.

                                2. re: scoopG

                                  spoke with my parents regarding "xue-li-hong" and i have it mixed up with the name of a vegetable versus a dish; actually its pickled mustard greens usually stir-fried with chilis and maybe some shreds of pork so indeed, pickle with hot sauce might work in the translation and something that seems like chinese broccoli is actually pickled mustard greens. there are many kind of mustard greens so this isn't the big one, jie-cai, that is usually cooked with shredded dried scallops or anything like that, but the smaller kind, chopped, pickled, etc. where the mustard loses its pungency but picks up the pickleness. should be a very "xia-fan" dish! and, like i said before, very homestyle. amaranth greens I'm actually thinking is what they call "xian-cai" which is greenish leaves with a red color emanating from the middle; texture and weight is like spinach or sweet potato leaves and very lightly/quickly stir-fried.

                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                    picture of xue-li-hong dish from petercherches' site, from a meal he had at Hunan House:

                                    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_zztJlWAZWvM...

                                    http://petercherches.blogspot.com/200...

                                3. Had a wonderful meal here last night with a hungry, enthusiastic group. We didn't always know exactly what we were ordering - of course a great deal of the stuff was what has been covered thus far - but we just kept ordering. Some standouts that come to mind are a dish called "sea worms with chives", which is, apparently, a sea critter not far removed from the sea cucumber, tubular in shape and cut into sections that resemble rubbery penne. Excellent. We also dug a deep fried pork head dish that was sectioned and basted in a shrimp batter and served up in a basket a la popcorn shrimp. Speaking of pork, we also liked the gelatinous and slippery pork in aspic, which came with a nice, deep vinager-based dipping sauce. Chicken gizzards, a cold app that came from behind the counter, were gray in color, chewy and hot. The very nice and helpful proprietress also pretty much forced a deep fried lotus sandwich dish on us - the sandwich filling having been minced pork - that the chef had apparently prepared as a special that evening. We noted that she was bringing these golden yellow orbs to just about every table. Can't say as how I minded. We were already full, and pretty much polished off a plate of 8 of them.
                                  We also had a whole fish, sectioned out on the sides and lying in a gooey, dark brown, sweet concoction - closest thing to General Tso's they serve at this place. The Qingdao Xiao Chao was loaded with stuff, including those already infamous gnarled black root veggies that looked like something out of Tim Burton. The breaded and fried pumpkin fritters also did it for me. As a "dessert" it was light, crisp, not overly sweet - you taste the pumpkin in there. Anyhow, I'm sure I'm leaving stuff out, and will leave it to my fellow diners to fill in the blanks regarding the chow, because I want to get to what's really important here:

                                  M&T has Budweiser on tap. Hard behind the front counter, it's a little, makeshift tap that fills a big pitcher for 10 bucks, a little one for 3. So, in case TsingTao is too highfallutin' for some, t here's always, well...Bud.

                                  The place was full with at least one party waiting outside on a Wednesday night - good news for these guys. I had a great first experience here, and look forward t o coming back. M&T doesn't force the issue; they serve simple food with some subtle and unique flavors.

                                  Thanks to Scoop for hipping us to this joint in the first place, and to Big Jeff, whose knowledge of Mandarin saved us the embarrassment of pointing, gawking, casting our fate to the wind and ordering stuff like chicken with broccoli.

                                  Highly recommended.
                                  P.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Polecat

                                    thanks man! our timing was impeccable, what with not only the NYT brief but also a nice(r) writeup on SE courtesy of Joe DiStefano (http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...). Also, someone from Flavor and Fortune (http://www.flavorandfortune.com/) was also there that day, dropping off some back issues of this most interesting magazine. we didn't even get to read through any of them since we were so busy gawking, pointing, eating and ordering more dishes. there will certainly be some good photo coverage from davecook and when i have the chance, I'll try and do a breakdown, scoopG-style. wonderful meal; the place was totally jumping with 97% chinese folk; lines out the door on a wednesday night on kissena blvd? congratulations to the restaurant.

                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                      Thanks for the linkage Jeff...and many thanks again to Scoop for doing the original reconn. on this joint!

                                      Keep on smokin',
                                      Joey Deckle

                                    2. re: Polecat

                                      a quick thing; we had a few pork-based dishes so to clear any confusion:

                                      1. we had a cold dish of cucumber with pork face (fatty bits of meat from the head)
                                      2. we had pork cutlet/fingers that were dredged in a "batter" of freshly ground shrimp (apparently a tiny translucent one) which they then deep fried and served in a basket over deep-fried rice vermicelli. this was briny and delicious and amazing. roll in there, order a couple baskets of these along with a few pitchers of bud and you have a real good time.

                                      1. re: bigjeff

                                        I'm two days behind on editing photos (I'll get to M&T tomorrow), so I don't deserve seconds, not yet, but I sure wish I had another basket of that shrimp-battered pork to go with my beer.

                                    3. Thanks Polecat and big jeff for your reports and link to Joe's review. I am so glad you all liked M&T. I'll start looking for our pied-a-terre on Cherry Avenue ASAP! I look forward to your report and even more photos, Dave.

                                      Oh about the beer situation. I think they serve Bud because as we all know the wide world of beer is dominated by only two companies: In-Bev (who owns Anheuser-Busch) and the other guy. Well AB practically gives away their beer for free to many vendors. Also, it was actually the Germans that invented Qingdao beer when they controlled Shandong province so I wonder if there is a feeling among some that if the choice is between a German brew and an American one.....

                                      Edit: I had trouble opening the SE review by Joe DiStefano. Maybe this one works better:

                                      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/0...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: scoopG

                                        ya it's the CH URL engine, it added my parentheses into the hotlink. oops!

                                        thanks again scoopG, we'll be back to this place for more pillaging. one idea we had was to just go in with a large group and order all the purple paper specials and see what happens. around 10 dishes, should be a feast! or, actually go with someone who can read chinese, that would be helpful too! but seriously the staff are so accomodating and really want to show off what they can do.

                                      2. not sure this will be complete but here's my review of our 5-top chowdown last week with DaveCook, Polecat and assorted (appreciated) guests. we started by ordering from the cold case up front, then picked some items we saw on other tables, consulted printouts of this thread (and joeydeckle's SE post), got waylaid into a couple dishes (luckily for us, probably selections from the wall of colored papers; all house specials written in simplified chinese). the meal came in waves and was awesome.

                                        from the cold case, pork skin in aspic, chicken gizzards and the sickest animal face salad yet. this one beats liang pi's lamb face salad by far; it's just cucumber with pieces of fatty meat from the face of a pig and its perfectly done. that first gel/aspic thing, I'm not really into; I usually skip it if its on a typical chinese cold platter.

                                        polecat fired the first shot, demanding at least one intestine dish. thinking that this was actually the intestines of a fish, I kept asking our server which fish they came from for the dish "sea intestines" and she just explained that it was some other long thing, chopped up. ok sure, one order. (she came by later to explain that they were relatives of the sea cucumber but naked kinda, and called sea worms). polecat also demanded that we get the squid and chive dish which we learned later was quite similar yet, i would totally order the pair again. we then saw these pork chops at the next table served in a basket and was definitely planning to get that, especially after she told us it was marinated in ground shrimp and fried (might be 28 on the menu, pork chop with shrimp sauce). we didnt get the fried ginseng cuz we got that pork sucker (good thing because later we got these slit, stuffed with shrimp and pork battered and deep fried lotus root sandwiches, the debut night of a new house special). we ordered their xiao-chao (isnt this like chinese chop-suey?) which was really good.

                                        we then plied the waitress with a request for sweet n sour and she recommended this sweetnsour fried fish (the last time i ordered this in a chinese restaurant was yeah shanghai and out came the most sweet sauce over birdseye frozen vegetables over a fried fish) and this time, at least the fish was presented nicely to facilitate easier meat removal. its called huang-hua-yu which translates to yellow flower fish but not sure if thats just a homonym but actually its yellow croaker (the upturned lower lip on its rather round face).

                                        later, we ordered zha jiang mian which was quite good although noodles overcooked. the korean(s) in the house gave up that they've never had as fragrant a rendition of jjm and it was really quite good; they just gotta fix up their noodle situation. and then, after not ordering the fried ginseng we ended up with the lotus things which were delicious served with their salt-pepper mix, this one dark and chunky, comprising mostly of dried crushed sichuan peppercorns with a tiny bit of salt. we asked for 3 dishes of the stuff; it was so savory that it tasted of pure msg although it wasnt.

                                        there were many people ordering big fish stews, maybe a good fish head casserole, but served in these big woks. perhaps the dish named "boss fish with pepper and salt" was the huge platter of fried of about 5-6 fish. next time i would also want to explore their vegetables more; i bet they have nice bamboo pith and loofah dishes and someone else recommended their wood ear dishes. the "qingdao xiao-chao" was really good; simple food, potato sticks which remind me of how my dad would make this dish, just a very nice bunch of funny vegetables with great textural contrast; like i said earlier in the thread, the fiddlehead thing is like dried and reconstituted stuff and ive had it before specifically in woorijip's bibimbop; they usually overcook and its gross but M&Ts was good. dont be folled into thinknig it is only vegetables too cuz it had clam, squid and pork in it.

                                        the server was trying to sell us on the sea cucumber, saying that they did it a different way than usual; can anyone confirm that it is different from the typical braise? also, if any one has had the "clam with original sauce" or "spicy clam"? can they confirm the dish called "chicken with ginger and basil" [i can only make out the first letter (three) and the last(chicken)]. for the offal lovers it looks like they have a kidney salad but i didnt see it that night in the front case. we asked on the qingdao sausage and she told us that they just received the casings that day so they didnt have a chance to make them but they are unsmoked and i don't know what else. they also have "cumin lamb with chilis"; their noodle offerings dont look strong, at least in engish where it just says "noodles with assorted seafood", "noodle with assorted vegetables" but we did see a table order boiled dumplings and they looked amazing.

                                        dave had been there for lunch once and there is a whole page of goodies, all $4.50; can you elaborate? he also spotted the times clipping behind the cashier but i didnt look; can you confirm the presence of good luck dollars? when i walked by today they had the grand opening plants out front. as mentioned, flavor and fortune was in the house, having dropped off a few copiesf or reading within the restaurant only. the guy behind the register said that this week, theyll probably drop off more copies so people can just grab them. not sure though.

                                        so the takeway (ready for a bad joke?) is that honestly i can see this as a takeway place although we didnt see any orders go out. you could really put on a feast at home by going there and picking up a bunch of dishes. that and a full rice cooker (none of us ordered any in order to chow). dont get me wrong; i fully support eating there: the place is awesome, the food is really fresh and different (very light), and their service is excellent. all of them came from qingdao where they all worked at different restaurants; its unclear if they met here or over there but they work well together. and polecat has already broken down the other incentive to eat in: $10 pitchers of bud and can i add, makes for a, uh, fun atmosphere?

                                        last but not least, the fried pumpkin cake (a designed must-have from the beginning) was really good; flat discs of crumbed ground pumpkin with rice flour or something, fried, made for a somewhat savory but greaseless dessert that (unfortunately for us because we forgot about it) doesnt compare to Fu Run's fried taro dessert.

                                        anyway, check this place out: be prepared to ask for and try new things, get good honest opinions about the specials of the day and eat really really well.

                                        dave's photoset here:
                                        [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingin... ]

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                          great review! wooohooo

                                          next get together give me a holler, i live in flushing and love it all

                                          again... AWESOME REVIEW i will be hitting it soon

                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                            Thanks big jeff for the update and I am glad you had a good meal there. They are family - Mr. and Mrs. Tang, a niece, a brother, a son Tom etc. Oh, Dave's first photo on the flickr stream is of Golden Palace...

                                            1. re: scoopG

                                              thanks for catching that, and thanks for putting us on to this place! we'll definitely put together a nice group for the next outing. dave must have snapped that since he got to the joint earlier (that man does get around!). appropriate link starts here (no storefront shot):

                                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingin...

                                          2. The 54 Chinese House Specials have been translated into English - and M&T has added about 25 more to their wall!

                                            1. A group of 9 of us today enjoyed a very exciting lunch of dishes largely unfamiliar to us thanks in good part to the availability of the English translation of the house specials. Seaweed salad and a pickle of celery, carrot and boiled peanuts with sesame oil were provided as appetizers, and were followed by pumpkin cakes (patties of pureed pumpkin dredged in breadcrumbs and fried, sweet and with a nice contrast between the softly-crisp ouside and melting inside); spicy flash-fried pig's tongue (thin slices of a pleasant biteyness in a spicy sauce with chili peppers dried and fresh green, bamboo shoot, and leeks); the same preparation of pork liver, which was lapped up by the liver fanciers at the table; pork belly stewed in kelp (a brothy soup with lots of sliced haidai seaweed and thin slices of quite lean pork belly, a standout); battered and fried salt and pepper ginseng tossed with little cubes of red pepper mentioned here before (if a deep-fried food can be described as refreshing, this one was); stewed Laoshan mountain pine mushrooms with pork and tofu noodles (another soup, with sliced pork, nappa cabbage, the eponymous mushrooms - which are similar to cloud ears but more flavorful, their caps are sort of sueded in texture on the surface - and bean thread noodles, no tofu in sight); an off-menu and off-specials list dish the staff recommended to us of red bean paste rolled in potato shreds and deep-fried (a delicious contrast in texture and taste); 2 kinds of shuijiao, boiled dumplings, one with dill - wonderful - and one plain, with a vinegar sauce with tons of minced garlic; and the fragrant firecracker squid flowers (small pieces of squid, finely crosshatched with cuts, scrupulously fried just to tenderness, tossed with very hot peppers, garnished with fresh basil). We got friendly with a couple at another table who ordered several dishes and were kind enough to share: squid heads with cumin and hot pepper (very cumin-y and peppery, these were wonderful); fragrant pepper sea prawns (shell-on shrimp with dried chilis and huajiao, again deepfried and perfectly tender); shrimp paste with pork ribs (actually pork chop meat breaded in ??? crushed dried shrimp??? and fried, this would be a great food to eat while drinking to excess); and a dish of tiny, tender clams sauteed with cabbage. The cooks have a particularly light hand with the seafood, all of which was excellent. It was especially fun to be in a larger group, exposed to a wider range of dishes, and to different ones from what we would have come up with, put to this menu on our own. The staff is very nice and friendly, and English is not an issue. The cost for all of this including several Tsingtao bottled "draft" beers was less than $20.00 per person, an astonishingly small amount for an adventure of this sort.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                whoa. gangster! the english translation is a great move; how was the lunchtime crowd for a group as large as yours?

                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                  They were filling up when we got there (at 12) and were full by 12:30. They had a few people waiting outside during the course of the time we were there (until 2). An off-time might be a bit better since as you know they have only 2 large tables. They were extremely nice and did not try to rush us in the least.

                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                  Thanks for the detailed report and I am glad you enjoyed your meal there! Any fault with the menu translations lies with me I am afraid. I too had the red bean paste dish - called Bird’s Nest Red Bean Paste - 巢雀紅豆沙 (Que4 Chao2 Hong2 Dou4 Sha1.) Not too sweet. I liked it. It is one of the newly added 24 house specials! I'll report later on some of the other specials I tried....

                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                    I think the tofu/noodle issue in the one soup is that the noodles are made of bean starch, the dish name doesn't include mention of tofu in iteslf (no doufu pi, bai ye, etc).

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Oh I asked the Tang's on this (since I did the translation) and they said the chef most likely forgot to add them. They said some Chinese people specify more on this dish when they order....

                                                      1. re: scoopG

                                                        If it's the 1/2 inch tofu skin "noodles" with the impressed slightly crosshatched surface (bai ye) that are normally added to this, the tonguefeel with those wild (in both senses) mushrooms would be quite divine.

                                                    2. re: scoopG

                                                      > Any fault with the menu translations lies with me I am afraid

                                                      Any fault with the menu translations is waaay outweighed by the value of the info you've put up here. I'm looking forward to getting back, next time with a posse.

                                                      BTW M&T has been picked up again in the Chow Digest ... http://www.chow.com/outer_boroughs_di...

                                                      1. re: squid kun

                                                        Thanks for that link! I look forward to your next report.

                                                  2. The lady in charge wanted us to know that they had a parking lot behind the restaurant that was free of charge. Good to know for those to whom that matters - we are foot (and subway) soldiers in the service of good eats.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      buttertart, I saw another restaurant in Flushing which offers similar cuisine and they just opened recently; overlap with a lot of the seafood selections; will post info when I have it but you may want to bring your army there sometime!

                                                      1. re: bigjeff

                                                        Is it the Liaoning place on Cherry or something entirely new? This is getting really exciting!

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          It's called Lu Xiang Yuan, it is located on Main Street across from Northeast Restaurant and Buddha Bodai. When I walked in over the weekend, they had just opened and, the place was kinda jumping! the place had a mix of sichuan but also a lot of interesting stuff. I asked the hostess what their specialty dishes are, she mentioned a whole fish wrapped in rose petals and baked, their sea cucumber preps, their soups/casseroles and some other dishes. The menu looks awesome with very interesting vegetable choices as well: "love for all season", "lady's smile", "yi pin mountain herbs", "mountain herb stir fried lily", "special spinach pancake", "silk melon with clam" (loofah maybe?), some very inexpensive noodles (all under $5). many of the apps look great (a lot of the dishes say qingdao in them) and the seafood and fish selection looks amazing (two different sections on the menu).

                                                          Hit this place up; perhaps we can do a meet'n'greet there.

                                                          Lu Xiang Yuan
                                                          42-87 Main Street
                                                          Flushing, NY 11355
                                                          718-359-2108

                                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                                            Fish baked in rose petals? Wow. Must get there soon.

                                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                                              What are the characters for the restaurant name? Want to look up in Chinese media.

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                who/where/what is the chinese media!!!

                                                                and . . . my chinese sucks but all i know is the 2nd and 3rd character means "fragrant" and "garden/round" very typical restaurant characters, the first one I don't know if it means green or deer or braised or what and . . . I don't think I could get any pinyin in this post, let me try though . . .

                                                                LU

                                                                also, attaching scans of menu (2 pages)

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                                  Chinese media = whatever I can find by searching characters or Pinyin. This character Lu3 is a nickname for Shandong (Spring and Autumn period 8th to 5th century BCE kingdom of Lu). You made me learn something today.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    so it IS more shandong stuff! i am so jealous of a friend of mine, he is relocating from park slope to . . . freakin' Qingdao!!

                                                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                                                      Lucky him, I've never been there but understand it's one of the nicer Chinese cities - and the air quality is good because of the ocean - and the food is obviously v good. But he's going to be coooooold this winter....

                                                              2. re: bigjeff

                                                                I finally stopped in here at Lu Xiang Yuan and it is Flushing's second Qingdao restaurant with some overlapping menu items from M&T. The Owner is from Qingdao and the one English speaking waitress is from Changchun (capital of Jilin Province.) Had a large bowl of Zha Jiang Mian ($4.00) with a good sized portion of meat sauce and julienned cucumbers over al dente noodles. Topped off with 10 Open Dumplings which were delicious (not for the oil adverse!) The open dumplings (10 for $6.00) had a delicate skin and were more delicate than the usual potstickers (Guo Tie.) One end was open and in the middle was a dollop of pork and scallions. No dipping sauce was served with them or needed. It certainly merits further visits and a review of its own.

                                                                1. re: scoopG

                                                                  Sounds great - reminds me of the meal recommended to "Li Dawei" as a good snack in my Chinese textbook of happy memory. We must get out there.

                                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                                    yo Scoop; thanks for the report! haven't been out to flushing for a couple months; glad you are blazing the way for us.

                                                                    1. re: scoopG

                                                                      I went to this location with Dave Cook yesterday. The menu still says Lu Xiang Yuan but the sign now says Hong Shun. The two things we tried (a small component of a Flushing field trip/binge) were dreadful. The three kinds bean jelly (there seemed to be one) had an awful fall-apart texture, swimming in a poorly balanced soy/vinegar/mustard sauce that was overpowering to foul. The lily with mixed seafood was bland except for being overly salty, the squid was like rubber bands and the seafood didn't seem fresh in general. We left most of both dishes. This may have been the worst Chinese food I've had in a long time. I commented that the food that tourists to China in the '70s complained about was probably at this level. Probably new owner and chef.

                                                                      http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                                                                       
                                                                      1. re: Peter Cherches

                                                                        I dunno, went there in early winter and felt the same way. Nice folks but mighty strange and not very tasty, as least for my tatses.

                                                            2. Here’s some more news on a few of the new House Specials:

                                                              #38.) Feihong Chicken Slices - 飛鴻雞片 (Fei1 Hong2 Ji1 Pian4)
                                                              This is sort of like a mild version of Kong Pao Chicken. Or Kung Pao Chicken on crack if you will. Here the chicken is lightly breaded and mixed with a modern Chinese snack called Fragrant Crispy Peppers (Xiang Cui Jiao 香脆椒) in turned named after a mythic figure of Chinese culture, Wang Feihong 王飛鴻. The crispy snack is imported by M&T and not available in Chinese stores. The Fragrant Crispy Peppers essentially are large hot red peppers that are fried or baked with peanuts! This reduces the heat level and Mr. Tang tells me the snack is a popular after school snack in China. Also available in Feihong Fish Slices.

                                                              Here’s more on the Fragrant Crispy Peppers:
                                                              Click on the package that is third from the left in the row of five below the large package featured in the box.
                                                              http://www.shinho.com.cn/product_h.asp

                                                              And on Wang Feihong:
                                                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Fei...

                                                              #30.) Small Peppers with Slivered Tripe - 小椒肚絲 (Xiao3 Jiao1 Du3 Si1)
                                                              Tender slivers of tripe with dried hot red peppers, green peppers, garlic and scallions. Very light and tasty.

                                                              #47.) Qingdao Clams and Egg White “Omelet”
                                                              青島蛤蜊肉芙蓉蛋 - Qing1 Dao3 Ge2 Li4 Rou4 Fu2 Rong2 Dan4
                                                              Juicy clams resting on a bed of Egg whites topped off with a sprinkle of goji Berries.

                                                              #36.) Small Salted Fish Pancakes - 咸魚小餅子 (Xian2 Yu2 Xiao3 Bing3 Zi)
                                                              Here, a dozen or so pieces of what seems like a fried cornbread topped with crunchy pieces of fish. Best shared with a large group.

                                                              #54.) Mustard Tree Ears - 芥茉木耳 (Jie4 Mo4 Mu4 Er3)
                                                              The tree ears come with a sharp wasabi and black vinegar dipping sauce. When you just got to have tree ears, this dish is for you.

                                                              #27.) Grilled Pork Bones with Bean Paste 手扒醬骨頭 (Shou3 Pa2 Jiang4 Gu3 Tou)
                                                              Not really grilled, these are served with a black vinegar and minced garlic dipping sauce. You’ve got to tackle the little meat on these bones with your hands really. Great for your World Series or Super Bowl party!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                a dish named after Once Upon a Time in China? that's awesome.

                                                                thanks on the recon! are you a regular there or what?

                                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                                  No - I just have been in a few times recently to go over the House Specials translations....but I love the home-style family atmosphere and their attempts at deliciousness....

                                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                                    They really are very sweet people, I enjoyed meeting them. Another nice PRC in NYC experience.

                                                              2. Qingdao fanciers check out this from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/10/15/...
                                                                Didn't know QD dialect for "beer" before!

                                                                16 Replies
                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  kinda silly - there are many many brands of beer in china and there have been for years - even during the cultural revolution. In beijing alone thirty years ago there were the local yanjing and beijing beer as well as wuxing, qingdao and shanghai beer brought in. most large cities have had breweries for years.
                                                                  a good one to try is harbin beer. available in the us for quite a while at asian groceries.

                                                                  1. re: Jerome

                                                                    Yes, I know, I love Chinese beer, Taihu especially. This is however an interesting article for those who might not be as familiar with China and Chinese beer as you or I.

                                                                      1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                        Great story, must have been fun. What was the lotus root marinated in?

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Thanks, it was such a surreal experience that I had to write about it. Obviously my memory is a little hazy, but I remember it being a pretty simple dish with rice wine vinegar and a little sesame oil. I tried to get the waitress to translate some of specials on the wall for me, but I don't think she got what I was saying.

                                                                          Has anyone been recently? The last report I saw was from World's Fare last month.

                                                                            1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                              Isn't there a English trot to the specials being handed out? Thought there was when we were there. (Reason I asked about the lotus root is that there's a fantastic dish of lotus root slices marinated in tangerine juice served at the Wang Si in Suzhou that I adore - the dish and the restaurant - was hoping this micght be the same.)

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Definitely no tangerine juice, but that sounds pretty tasty. I don't recall seeing anything with the specials translated into English, there were so many specials on the wall, I wanted to try some. Next time for sure.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  They have a new menu which incorporates the previous laminated translated specials - also they have put about 20 of the specials on the wall in photos with English/Chinese.

                                                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                                                    Awesome. I'm planning on a Friday Flushing excursion and was thinking about circling back to M&T, I may hit up Northeast Taste and Golden Palace too.

                                                                                    1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                                      Scoop, I know you already threw this on the Golden Palace thread too:

                                                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/din...

                                                                                2. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                                  Here's another good write-up of the same dinner covered by World's Fare: http://iwantmorefood.com/2010/01/26/t...
                                                                                  About half-way down the page there's a picture labeled as taro root, but I'm pretty sure it's lotus root. Is this what you had?

                                                                                  1. re: jaingmaster

                                                                                    Yup, that's the one. I also had the baby shrimp and green pepper dish that's pictured.

                                                                                    1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                                      That's definitely lotus root. Looks good, lotus root done any way is one of my favorite things on earth. (Clams in the soup id'd as mussels? Isn't the pork chop coating partly ground dried shrimp and not shrimp sauce?)

                                                                          1. re: Jerome

                                                                            When I was at Donglaishun, the famous lamb hot pot restaurant in Beijing, the waitress asked us, "Drink? Piju?"

                                                                            "Tsing Tao?" I asked.

                                                                            "No Tsing Tao. Fefsta!"

                                                                            I had no idea what she was trying to tell me.

                                                                            "Beijing?" I asked.

                                                                            "No Beijing. Fefsta!"

                                                                            "OK," I said.

                                                                            She brought us a couple of cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, brewed under license in Beijing.

                                                                            http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                                                                        2. did a stop-in on a four-top, post-order so I only sampled bits and pieces:

                                                                          + my favorite sea worms / sea intestines!
                                                                          + naigamo or mountain yum, fried then dipped in honey and served with ice water to swizzle
                                                                          + tofu skin with peppers
                                                                          + shrimp with kimchi it looked like
                                                                          + qingdao special pasta (salad-like thing)
                                                                          + qingdao clams with celery?
                                                                          + qingdao squid topped with parsley and other aromatics
                                                                          + clenched-first fern, stir-fried with pork

                                                                          there were two or more dishes; most were delicious as usual, the typical homestyle plain flavor. the qingdao seafood stuff was probably the weakest; sure, fresh as can be and tasting like the sea, it just needed salt. the mountain yam prep was so delicious! I love mountain yam, and I love that candy coating treatment; the combo is the devil. clenched first (bracken?) was so homestyle and delicious. apparently, tofu skin dish was not that good; didn't try it. shrimp dish looked really good, like sauteed "fresh" or "young" kimchi with shell-on shrimp.

                                                                          I had come from a potluck so I was just picking; spent most of the meal trying to correspond the dishes to the menu and the specials wall; place was bumpin' as usual and, food just as good. the place deserve a proper throwdown; gotta get that pork chop with shrimp batter again and, they looked like they had tons of good stuff; neighboring tables had some interesting dishes as well.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                                                            Wew! Sigh of relief. Ran into someone recently who told me she had a bad meal there...I've not been there in ages.

                                                                            1. re: scoopG

                                                                              Seven of us had dinner at M&T last night and I am happy to report that the restaurant is still superb! We revisited some favorites from our first dinner in early January, and were pleased to be able to sample some new specials. The latter were listed on the wall in Chinese, but after James Wang pointed to his recommendations, we were offered full translations by his wife, the lovely Mei. Together this congenial husband-and-wife team has created a most welcoming atmosphere, and since M&T contains only a few tables, diners benefit from a level of personal attention not usually found in neighborhood restaurants.

                                                                              We were treated to a cold appetizer of pork ears in aspic (see explanation of this dish in the 8/21/09 post by ScoopG, above) which was proclaimed very tasty by the group.

                                                                              From the new specials listed on the wall on pink paper streamers, in Chinese:

                                                                              M&T Meatballs. The chef's riff on the Shanghainese favorite, lion's head, this dish was simply terrific. Large, light-as-a-feather balls of pork were presented on steamed lettuce leaves.
                                                                              We could not get enough.

                                                                              Vegetarian dish. Cubes of pumpkin, mushrooms, and carrots were tossed with peanuts and topped by broccoli and crowned by a drizzle of surimi, the faux fish product that apparently held in higher esteem on the Qingdao table than here in the US. This dish held flavors that elevated it head-and-shoulders above the sum of its parts. Recommended.

                                                                              Pumpkin Soup with special dried shrimp that the owners import from Qingdao was next. another excellent dish..light and flavorful.

                                                                              The dried shrimp reappeared in the Sauteed Spinach with Pidan, or "1000-year-old eggs,"
                                                                              which was also delicious.

                                                                              While we were delighted to explore the menu, several diners (or was it only yours truly?) insisted on ordering dishes that we had enjoyed on our last M&T outing. One of these, the Salt-and-Pepper Ginseng, fried in a light batter and tossed with a few red peppers, elicited raves from the entire group.

                                                                              The second repeat dish was a tad less successful: The squid heads tossed with cumin and red pepper, pictured in a photo within the wall gallery with the caption Squid Seasoned in Hot Chili, offered a stupendous flavor profile that I thought reminiscent of the spice mix found on Fu Run's celebrated Muslim lamb chop. The larger of the squid heads were quite tough, although the smaller of these was tender and tasty. On my next visit I hope to explore other dishes that might employ the same spicing since it is a personal favorite.

                                                                              Back to the smash hits: One of the best-received dishes of the night, from the regular table menu, was the Fei Hong Fish.
                                                                              (see ScoopG's report of 9/28/09, above, for the interesting derivation of Fei Hong.) These were pieces of light, very fresh-tasting fish that were lightly battered and then stir-fried with a combination of spices, red peppers, and peanuts found in a Chinese snack popular as an after-school treat. I want a plate of this right now!

                                                                              Another dish from the table menu: Crispy fried pork belly. Not at all greasy. Addictive.

                                                                              Finally, another hit at the table: Pumpkin pancakes, a sweet treat to close a superb meal.

                                                                              The total bill amounted to $25 per person with quite a few large Qingdao beers, and tip.
                                                                              i hope that this is the second of a long series of meals at M&T.

                                                                              -----
                                                                              SN New Restaurant
                                                                              44-09 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

                                                                              1. re: erica

                                                                                I pretty much agree with erica... very nice meal with some unexpected (by me) flavor profiles. I'd never been there before, actually never have seen this thread (must've missed it somehow... I usually hang on Dave Cook & polecat's every word (Cherches only gets me to hang on every other paragraph)) so I didnt really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. As stated, pumpkin was prominent, although I cant figure out where they're getting it right now at perfectly sweet ripeness. Very nice influence on most of the dishes. The large meatballs are one of the only things I miss about not going to Joe's Shanghai for the last 15 or so years (the soup dumplings being the other) & this place does it better than Joe's did, even when it first came on the scene. And all the fried foods (pork belly, ginseng, pancakes, fish cakes) were virtually greaseless and crisp. But what really intrigued me about M&T was that, in addition to our table of 7, there were two other large tables and one small table taken, all Asian customers, all eating completely different items from us and from one another. Usually, in my experience, small places like this gather a following for a very specific type of food that's done well by the chef but, in this case, it appears that the place is trusted to churn out many things well. And I made notes of several of them for future trips.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Joe's Shanghai
                                                                                136-21 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                                                                SN New Restaurant
                                                                                44-09 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

                                                                                1. re: Steve R

                                                                                  Let me know when you're headed back this way. And bring your notes!

                                                                                2. re: erica

                                                                                  Thanks for the updates. You make a good point erica about the husband and wife team and personal service. Steve R. - I think they are weekly bringing in goodies from Qingdao!

                                                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                                                    Yes, they told us that they bring food from "home," and that they receive frequent supplies from contacts who travel in the area. Lovely people who are eager to offer advice and explanations about the food.

                                                                                  2. re: erica

                                                                                    Went to M&T last night with Chinese and Argentine friends. We tried quite a number of things, but the hits were the Fei Hong Fish, the Wood Ears with Mustard cold appetizer (the first bite was amazing), and the Fried Taro Pancakes. We ordered the much-recommended pumpkin pancakes and they brought us three of each. I think we all agreed that we liked the taro better (I'm not sure if it's on the menu).

                                                                                    The Squid with Scallions or garlic chives or whatever was just OK, in my opinion. I found the pork meatballs quite good, but there were definitely less popular than the fish and wood ear. We tried the Qingdao Pasta, which were those gelatinous think rice noodles (#35 on the menu) and, while we agreed that they must be healthy, they were our least favorite. All in all, still a great experience.

                                                                                    On my first visit, we had the fried ginseng and something else that was fried, and when I asked for vegetables, they brought out a refreshing plate of blanched baby bok choi and black mushrooms that was my favorite of the night. This time we ordered a better variety, but there's so much to try there.

                                                                                    With a Tsingtao apiece and tip, it came also to about $25/person.

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                                                                                    SN New Restaurant
                                                                                    44-09 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

                                                                                1. James and Mei have sold M&T! As of January 1st, it is under new management.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                                                      I stopped by on Wednesday - they are using the same menu.