Flushing Review: Northeast Taste Chinese Food
- scoopG Nov 23, 2009 01:45 PM
Northeast Taste Chinese Food (東北風味 － Dong Bei Feng Hui) sounds like an association or club but is another Dongbei restaurant with high aspirations. While Golden Palace serves up what I think is more family home-style cooking, NTCF is trying for something more. Based on my two visits I think they are succeeding. A small, glossy photo of the Chef, Chen Weiliang (陳衛良) receiving an award in New York stands by the front counter and he sometimes comes out of the kitchen to meet and greet. In addition to the 7-8 tables there are two semi-private rooms for small groups.
Shredded Pork with Bean Curd Sheets (東北拉皮 - Dong Bei La Pi)
A large plate of cucumbers, hot chili peppers, carrots, cilantro, pork and a tahini like sauce served over mung bean noodles. Mix well and eat.
Hot Pepper with Shredded Potato (尖椒土豆絲 - Jian Jiao Tu Dou Si)
Hard to mess up this dish. Slight hint of vinegar and not too much heat.
Stupid Chicken with Wild Mushrooms （笨鳮燜磨菇 - Ben Ji Men Mo Gu)
Stupid Chicken is slang in Shenyang for chicken. It may just refer to the chicken (on the bone) in this dish. Stewed in a dark sauce with wild mushrooms and a slight anise flavor for a genuine earthy taste.
Stuffed Minced Mutton in Fish （魚咬羊 - Yu Yao Yang)
“Fish bites Mutton” is the literal translation of this distinctive dish and the mutton is not entirely minced.
Sautéed Egg with Egg (溜黃菜 - Liu Huang Cai)
Chef Chen told us that this was the favorite dish of the famous General Zhang Xueliang (張學良, 1901-2001.) Zhang, son of one of the last warlords of China (Zhang Zuoliang 張作良, 1875-1928) was a political prisoner for over 50 years. Chen says this dish is not steamed but very slowly cooked and gently stirred. It is like a soft egg custard or polenta. Perfect on a rainy day.
Dill Dumplings (蒔蘿水餃 – Shi Luo Shui Jiao)
These were devoured fairly quickly but one in our group thought Golden Palace’s ones were better. You decide.
Fresh Leek and Pork Pastry (非菜盍子 - Fei Cai He Zi)
Tasty and just as good as the Golden Palace version.
Sliced Fried Egg Pan Cake （蘇黃菜 - Su Huang Cai)
Here pieces of dough are fried and then coated with a sweet syrup – similar to apple or banana fritters but without the fruit.
On a brief follow-up visit I tried their “Beef with Cumin Seasoning in Hot and Chili” and Stewed Hot Peppers. The Cumin Beef was very flavorful with a generous portion of fried hot chili peppers. The whole Stewed Hot Peppers (green) were quite inviting and packed a good punch without being overbearing. I also sampled their spicy pickled cabbage appetizer. I look forward to trying many more dishes here like Tripe in Hot Chili Oil, Pork Hearts with Cumin in Hot Chili Oil, Village Fish Head, Fried Chunks of Sweet Potato in Syrup, Sautéed Pine Nuts with Corn and many more. Next door is Spicy House, a Sichuanese restaurant.
Northeast Taste Chinese Food” 東北風味
43-18 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355
43-18 Main St, Queens, NY 11355
My two favorite dishes were the crispy fish with cumin and the stupid chicken (see photo). Here's how I described the chicken dish:
I'm not sure what makes the chicken stupid, though it was, truth be told, all skin and bones. But the dish is not, as it turns out, about the chicken, but really all about everything else. It has a wonderfully aromatic, deep brown broth flavored with star anise and other Chinese herbs (in fact, it reminded me a bit of the Chinese-Malaysian bah kut teh, or "Chinese medicine soup," though it really doesn't have a medicinal taste). And there are the chewy, translucent flat noodles probably made from mung bean flour. But the real star of the show are the amazingly flavorful dark little wild mushrooms (the soup's swimming with them) that are perfectly complemented by the flavors of the broth. I suspect the brilliance of this dish would be lost on you if you're not a mushroom lover.
They do up an excellent, hearty pork ribs and cabbage soup here, with generous portions of juicy ribs in a thick broth. Excellent for the cold weather. I also enjoyed their crispy lamb w/ peppers (listed on the menu as "mutton"). Although not on par with Golden Palace's lamb w/ crispy peppers, which is my current golden standard for Northern Chinese lamb dishes, Northeast's version lives up to the "crispy" moniker moreso than at any other venue I've tried. It actually tastes like it's been dipped in a light, multi-spiced batter, which accounts for both the crispiness and the heat. Very nice.
Also, if a smart guy like P. Cherches is recommending a dish called "stupid chicken", well, that all the more beckons a quick return. (I'll probably forget how to get there again, but that's another story)
Another good catch, Scoop.