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Floral Park Update

j
JFores Jul 8, 2010 03:17 PM

Hello,

As I've been more or less trapped in Little Neck for the last month, I've been giving Floral Park a loooot more time than I normally would.

Taste of India right off Hillside has a chaat and sweets business which is quite good and is cheaper than any other in the area.

Kababchi on the same stretch of Hillside claims to be a "Pakistani Afghan" restaurant which made me light up at the prospect of it being NWFP/Northern Territories owned and operated. Unfortunately, I highly doubt that this is the case. I've had some extremely authentic NWFP food at a hole in the wall I discovered in London called New Khybar UK and the chapli kebabs were no comparison. Everything I had was decent, but the prices are a bit high and the actual authenticity of the kitchen staff is definitely in question.

Finally, I've almost totally switched from Mumbai Xpress to Usha. This is down to price and the quality of Usha's chaats which I believe exceed Mumbai Xpress' (except for the tokri chaat which Usha doesn't do.) Lovely staff in both places and I'm quite well acquainted with both but Usha actually gives me discounts as a result... Usha's snack counter is second to none in New York and even their thalis are good. The dosas are truck tires as one would expect from a North Indian place that doesn't have a Tamil in the kitchen.

I'll keep updating this thread as I finish my round up. I've got about 8 other restaurants in mind. Unrelated, but further down Hillside in Bengali Jamaica, Ghoroa (which took over Jhinuk in Bengali Church Ave btw) has gotten a bit more gram (village) and now has many more dried fish dishes and other more traditionally village Bengali dishes than it used to have.

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Ghoroa
168-41 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11432

Jhinuk
478 McDonald Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218

Mumbai Xpress
256-05 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11004

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  1. Polecat RE: JFores Jul 8, 2010 03:49 PM

    Thanks for the update. I've only hit Usha for desserts thus far, but have been tempted by some of their lunch items. I think they do a version of the Sichuan Paneer Sandwich (one of my favorite Mumbai Xpress offerings) if I'm not mistaken. Looking forward to more reports.
    P.

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    Mumbai Xpress
    256-05 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11004

    1. DaveCook RE: JFores Jul 9, 2010 10:34 PM

      And thanks for the word on Ghoroa-Jhinuk. When did the Church Ave. venue change hands?

      1. Polecat RE: JFores Jul 9, 2010 10:50 PM

        Also, as long as you're in the general area, I recommend giving this Keralan a try (if you haven't already): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6870...
        p.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Polecat
          j
          JFores RE: Polecat Jul 13, 2010 07:37 PM

          I ate at New Kerala Kitchen today around 267th and Hillside and it was really quite good. The prices are high and they don't have everything at all times, but the quality was quite good. I wouldn't rate it all that close in quality to Thattukada (essentially my temple to Keralan food in East London) but it was definitely better than the "dying restaurant syndrome" appearance of the place suggested. For 30 dollars with tax and tip we had very good fish moilly with large chunks of pre-fried king fish stewed in coconut milk. It lacked the sheer quantity of chillies, cashews and raisins that make the one at Thattukada my favorite (not to mention the spice difference) but it was definitely a solid preparation. Shame it's 12 dollars...

          The other dish we ate was a pork dish. I'll double check the name but the menu has 3 and it was neither the curry nor the fry. It was fantastic with large chunks of pork stewed in a sauce akin to what mutton curry might normally be made in (minus the yogurt base.)

          Thattu dosa were a dollar each and those were our chosen utensil as parotha wouldn't match up well with the moilly and they didn't have appam ready.

          Again, good, but a bit pricey for what you're getting when you compare the prices to London (never thought I'd say that, but the prices here have really gone up since I moved there and back 3 years ago and I swear it's pricier to eat here than there now.)

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          New Kerala Kitchen
          26705 Hillside Ave, Floral Park, NY 11004

        2. s
          stuartlafonda RE: JFores Jul 14, 2010 06:11 AM

          Check out Fiza Diner a few doors west of Kababchi. A small dump with great, spicy cheap food. Almost everyone gets their food to go. They have a huge selection and some exotic fare such as goat brain curry as well as your basics liken an excellent chicken keema. There is also a good Afghan joint further east on Hillside in New Hyde Park worth checking out.

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          Fiza Diner
          25907 Hillside Ave, Floral Park, NY 11004

          8 Replies
          1. re: stuartlafonda
            j
            JFores RE: stuartlafonda Jul 14, 2010 08:06 AM

            Is the Afghan joint Kababchi about a block away? If so, it's not actually Afghan or Pashtun or NWFP or anything else they advertise.

            I've tried Fiza Diner and I've generally left the assessment at "a small dump." Nothing notably good that I had which I couldn't get cheaper and better at Ghoroa.

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            Ghoroa
            168-41 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11432

            Fiza Diner
            25907 Hillside Ave, Floral Park, NY 11004

            1. re: JFores
              s
              stuartlafonda RE: JFores Jul 14, 2010 03:44 PM

              Your personal history/attachment to the place might be clouding your opinion of Ghoroa.I thought the place was good but not special. As for the Afghan joint........

              http://www.exploreli.com/restaurants/...&

              http://events.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/...

              While your out there try Hildebrandts for the old candy store place that were all over the city long ago. Excellent burgers, sandwiches and house made ice cream. Check out the Portugese joints in nearby Mineola as well. What no Sripaphrai visits? The best thing about Little Neck is the proximity to northern Queens.

              1. re: stuartlafonda
                j
                JFores RE: stuartlafonda Jul 14, 2010 06:39 PM

                I don't drive. I instead spend all of my time trekking to Jamaica or Flushing by bus.

                Ghoroa's particularly Bangladeshi dishes are very good. Karela, shutki, fish chutney, etc. I prefer a place in London called Gram Bangla, but some of their dishes are solid. I'd consider Gram special, but I'd consider Ghoroa to be properly good with some solid dishes on certain days. Unfortunately they do these dishes at random so for ei. my last two trips I've not been able to get shutki. That's pretty much what I go there for...

                Fiza's level of cleanliness is kind of unforgivable and when I ate there (4 years ago probably) the food was veeeeeery oily.

                Will have to do Hilde's. I've been to one Portugese place out there a few years ago... Name slips my mind... Pretty much a cross between Portugese and a Brazilian meat place...

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                Ghoroa
                168-41 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11432

                1. re: JFores
                  squid kun RE: JFores Jul 15, 2010 01:28 AM

                  Always appreciate your generous and well-informed reports, but the 4-years-ago date on your last Fiza meal gives me pause. As you know restaurant intel can have a relatively short shelf life. Anyone been there more recently?

                  1. re: squid kun
                    Polecat RE: squid kun Jul 15, 2010 07:08 AM

                    I've been hitting up Fiza for some years now, and have never noticed any cleanliness issues, nor have I had any overly oily food there. I feel the need to report this as reports of "uncleanliness" have the potential to hurt a business.

                    With all due respect to the OP - whose knowledge of and enthusiasm for Indian and Pakistani cuisine is to be commended - my experiences at Ghoroa can't compare with those at Fiza Diner. I've had much better food and service at the latter. I realize that you have to know what to order at Ghoroa, and you apparently have to know when to order it and you also have to be lucky enough to be there when they have it. What I've had there is very average, unexciting steamtable stuff that is on a par with the other venues in that immediate area . I don't doubt that these guys can do better if J. Fores says so, but there seems to be too many "ifs" involved with this place. I prefer Fiza Diner.

                    I'll throw in a hearty recommendation, once again, for 5 Star Indian Cuisine on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park. A search on the NY State board will yield some recent threads and a few good reviews, including mine. The kingfish curry is superb, as are the spicy shrimp.

                    P.

                    P.

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                    Ghoroa
                    168-41 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11432

                    Fiza Diner
                    25907 Hillside Ave, Floral Park, NY 11004

                    1. re: Polecat
                      s
                      stuartlafonda RE: Polecat Jul 15, 2010 09:21 AM

                      True Dat. Finally some love for Fiza. WhenI call it a dump it is my way of explaining that it is one small room with a steam table at one end, a few bare tables, some large bevarage cases and a small sink attached to the wall. It is not cute or interesting, it is spartan and a little depressing. They never write down your order or give you a check, you remind them what you had and they quote you a ridiciously low price. The food is excellent. They have a huge selection .The other day I got a tandoori bird of some sort, cornish hen probably ,but they didn't know the english name for it. The chaats are a bit weak, but for that you have Mumbai Xpress a couple of blocks away. My kids love a simple tikka roll or tikka masala. We all enjoy finishing the meal by fishing around in the freezer case for our favoite flavor kulfi. If It makes anyone feel better, take it to go.

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                      Mumbai Xpress
                      256-05 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11004

                      1. re: stuartlafonda
                        j
                        JFores RE: stuartlafonda Jul 15, 2010 01:24 PM

                        Alright I'll try Fiza again! I tried it twice yearse ago and the cleanliness was actually very bad. And I think that Golden Mall is immaculately clean so that's pretty bad.

                        Are they Bengali or Pakistani owned now? They seemed Bengali owned at the time, but all of their dishes always seem Pakistani...

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                        Golden Shopping Mall
                        41-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                2. re: stuartlafonda
                  bigjeff RE: stuartlafonda Jul 15, 2010 02:52 PM

                  tried a cappuccino chip cone from Hildebrandts, it was good. soft, but still hard-packed ice cream. place has been open since 1927; very charming.

            2. bigjeff RE: JFores Jul 14, 2010 04:15 PM

              thanks for the updates; I've relocated from the central asian paradise of Registan to the south asian paradise of glen oaks / bellerose / floral park so my chowing will move to that region.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bigjeff
                j
                JFores RE: bigjeff Jul 14, 2010 06:40 PM

                Rotflmao... Gradual Silk Road trip?

                BTW regarding the above Afghan place; that's not the one I thought it was. A place further down called Kababchi is attempting to pass itself off as an NWFP restaurant, but there's nothing authentic about it. The food's good. They have Afghan brown rice. But it's not what they're saying it is.

                1. re: JFores
                  bigjeff RE: JFores Jul 15, 2010 01:01 AM

                  haha, that's awesome! ya there are plenty of goodies; been riding up and down hillside avenue and jamaica avenue as well; lotta goodies and, I'm a big fan of ghoroa too.

              2. j
                JFores RE: JFores Jul 15, 2010 01:24 PM

                I just realized how close I am to Eddie's Pizzeria! Does anyone know if it's still what is used to be? They had really nice cracker thin crust.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JFores
                  s
                  stuartlafonda RE: JFores Jul 15, 2010 02:22 PM

                  In a word, yes. I have been going there for over 20 years and it has never changed. Get a pitcher of beer, a large salad and a pie. Sit back and relax.

                  1. re: stuartlafonda
                    q
                    queenseats RE: stuartlafonda Jul 15, 2010 02:24 PM

                    I really enjoy the buffet at Flavor of India. They have a great selection of veggie items. Always fresh and it's a nice place to sit for lunch. I only went to Southern Spice once, back when they had the weekday buffet, and I prefer Flavor of India. But I am due to return to SS to compare.

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                    Southern Spice
                    1635 Hillside Ave, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

                    Flavor of India
                    259-17 Hillside Ave, Queens, NY 11004

                2. bigjeff RE: JFores Jul 15, 2010 02:57 PM

                  biked through Hillside Avenue today from east to west and saw all these places; the good Usha is the new spot that is going to take up 3 storefronts? or the original one a few blocks east that does mostly takeout? I've been to that original one a long time ago. Also passed the Fiza; it looked kinda rugged, but good.

                  Anyone been to Royal Tangra Masala? (2207 Hillside Avenue) The place was dead but it's an indo-chinese place run by a chinese chef. This is a block or so away from Nanking, whose name would lead you to believe it's another indo-chinese place but it's asian fusion between chinese and thai. I didn't actually go in so I dunno where the people running the joint are from. But Royal Tangra Masala looked totally dead yet, has some good potential; I thought it was related to the Elmhurst when I first saw it. possibly.

                  The Kababchi place looks like they basically inherited that "Afghan" on their sign because most of the handwritten things in the window are all indian selections but it looked good.

                  I remember when at some point there were indian restaurants past little neck parkway but those places have long closed so the only restaurants are between little neck parkway and around where jericho turns into hillside avenue; there's even an Apna Bazaar around there! And at least 5-6 saree shops. There were also at least 5-6 other places but I don't remember their names.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bigjeff
                    bigjeff RE: bigjeff Jul 18, 2010 12:27 PM

                    a few other places, but on union turnpike instead of hillside: Bundu Khan Kebab is on Union Turnpike right near Little Neck Parkway and is a new joint; place actually looks quite clean and modern, like a pinkberry indian joint or someting; reminds me of kati roll. Didn't eat there yet. About 10 blocks away is Taste of Cochin which has a buffet weekdays and weekends, I think it's $8.95 on weekend?? its at 248th Street and Union Turnpike; this place has constantly changed owners and was even a chinese restaurant at some point but has been an indian joint for at least 10-15 years. And across the street is another place, Sohna Punjab, which has also changed names a few times. A review here:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600144

                    and of course, the old classic Santoor is still pulling in tons of business, for their buffet as well as a la carte and catering. the buffet today was packed (peeked in, didn't eat).

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                    Sohna
                    248-03 Union Tpke, Queens, NY 11426

                    1. re: bigjeff
                      ChiefHDB RE: bigjeff Aug 3, 2010 05:37 AM

                      JFores, thanks for mentioning Usha on the boards or I wouldn't have made the connection after finding Mumbai Express closed today (Monday) on a rare opportunity when I had a car. Slowly driving down the street looking for more chaat, I saw Usha, which rang some kind of Pavlovian CH-bell.

                      The lady assembling the chaats was extremely friendly. I got a samosa chaat and a paneer tikka sandwich, both were excellent (I'm eating the second half of the sandwich now). Also picked up a dessert whose name I forget, as well as some spicy peanuts, which are damn good.

                      I'll have to check it out again the next time I'm in Floral Park, which at this rate will probably be around 2015.

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