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Northern Blvd Canvassing

Jim Leff May 10, 2011 04:45 PM

I drove Northern Blvd from Flushing to Bayside Sunday, and my chow-dar perked up at a number of interesting-looking new-to-me places. I didn't stop and get menus, so these are just preliminary leads. Anybody been to any of these?

Mellies Seafood Restaurant 137-81 Northern Blvd (718) 886-2988

South side of Northern in the low 140s: a narrow little cafe with "milk" in the title

BBQ Village - Korean BBQ Buffet Restaurant 157-26 Northern Blvd (718) 321-2770 ‎
All u can eat Korean BBQ and shabu shabu

Gam Mee Ok TANG 196-50 Northern Blvd (718) 279-7080 ‎

Yedon 20911 Northern Blvd (718) 224-3080 ‎

Korean Noodle Restaurant 210-07 Northern Blvd 718) 225-1210

(also, I was reminded once again about Hunan House at 137-40 northern, which I really really need to hit soon).

-----
Hunan House
137-40 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

Mellie's
137-81 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

Tang
196-50 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

BBQ Village
157-26 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

Korean Noodle Restaurant
210-07 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11361

  1. f
    frankie5angels May 10, 2011 05:16 PM

    I have only been to Hunan House. Good food, good presentation but everything seemed to have too much of that "star anise" in it.

    I saw the Noodle House on 210th the other day with a flood of people coming out. Not sure if that is good or bad. :)

    Have you tried the Korean Porridge place on Northern in the 160's or 170's?

    -----
    Hunan House
    137-40 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

    4 Replies
    1. re: frankie5angels
      Jim Leff May 10, 2011 05:46 PM

      Thanks, frankie

      Question: do you dislike star anise?

      I think I've been told good things about the porridge place (Bonjuk Korean Traditional Porridge Restaurant. 152-26 Northern Blvd., 718-939-5868) but have never been. Do you like it?

      -----
      Bonjuk
      152-26 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

      1. re: Jim Leff
        Polecat May 10, 2011 08:52 PM

        Bon Juk is quite good, actually. We don't go there that often, because juk is something we can make easily at home, and they're not cheap. But the juk is well made, quite good. They do an abalone version. I've dug the kimchi as well as the seafood juk, and the chicken is your classic. If you're used to Chinese congee and have never had the Korean version, get ready for something different and well worth trying. Korean juk is much thicker, pretty much a distant cousin to congee and not really the same animal. I also recommend this either in the morning or in chilly weather. Great for what ails you.

        There's also a Korean supermarket - not an H-Mart - that is not far from Bon-Juk, perhaps diagonally across Northern - that manages to hide a Korean street food type hut in back; it buttresses right up against the parking lot. It's really old school - old, dark wooden tables and benches. Feels like an old neighborhood in Seoul, the type that's constantly being paved over in the interests of so-called urban renewal and progrss but are the first things you miss dearly upon returning. They serve Korean-style corndogs and other assorted tidbits.

        P.

        1. re: Polecat
          CitySpoonful Mar 14, 2012 07:28 AM

          Just tried Bon Juk last night -- really enjoyed the Octopus + Kimchi Juk -- thick and flavorful, without being too heavy. Much more flavor than Chinese congee -- ingredients are simmered into the rice porridge, correct? (Rather than added at the end/on top, as with congee.)

          Portions are huge (2 of us split one and were perfectly full), and the ban chan are refillable (kimchi, shredded beef, some sort of spicy-gingery paste). So it was a $15 meal for two -- not bad at all.

          Curious to try the vegetarian versions (including one with cheese -- mmm?).

          -----
          Bonjuk
          152-26 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

        2. re: Jim Leff
          f
          frankie5angels May 11, 2011 11:53 AM

          Yeah. Star anise isn't one ofmy favs. And in the pork dush I had at Hunan House it was overpowering. And there were 2 big full "stars" at the bottom of the dish. :)

      2. CitySpoonful May 10, 2011 06:17 PM

        BBQ Village is an interesting place. It's a huge buffet offering about a dozen meats for at-your-table Korean BBQ and about 60 ban chan (sides). As a vegetarian, I skipped the BBQ, so I can't comment on that. But the ban chan were pretty good, for an all-you-can-eat buffet. There were about a dozen different varieties of kimchi -- all made in-house. And there were two quite nice soups (OK, I cheated and tasted them) -- one made from simmered kalbi (ribs) and the other made from anchovies, soy sauce, seaweed, etc. For people curious to try ban chan that go above and beyond the restaurant standards, this is a great place to try. And who knows -- the BBQ may be good, too.

        I'm curious myself about that stretch of Northern Blvd. In particular: the cafe inside the H&Y Mart and My Mom's Takeout (both are essentially across Northern Blvd. from BBQ village). The latter seems to serve studenty, carby dishes (and offers cheese as a topping on many dishes, which a Korean friend of mine swore is absolutely tasty).

        Anyone familiar with these?

        1 Reply
        1. re: CitySpoonful
          CitySpoonful Aug 19, 2011 06:28 AM

          Still need to make it out to My Mom's Takeout for cheese-smothered ramen (yes, really), but in the meantime, I have a fuller write-up of a recent meal at BBQ Village.

          Vegetarians that we are, we baffled the staff by skipping the star of the buffet, the meats for BBQing and shabu shabu-ing, and sticking to the mostly vegetarian ban chan -- of which there were about 60 to choose from. (OK, one of us "cheated" and tried the kalbi soup, which was absolutely delicious and totally worth the unhappy stomach that followed!) Read on for more details of what we tried.

          BBQ Village, in Flushing, Queens, touts its all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue with marinated meats cooked table-side. But its extensive ban chan buffet, which features more than 60 hot and cold side dishes—from house-made kimchis to traditional soups, is also worth a visit.

          In Korean homes and restaurants, ban chan are the salty, tangy or spicy side dishes served alongside a main meal to add an extra flavor kick. Hee Eun Kim, BBQ Village’s owner, staffs her kitchen with 10 cooks—among them, a ban chan specialist, a kimchi specialist and a meat specialist—to keep the buffet stocked with authentic, fresh dishes.

          The kalbi soup (short ribs slowly simmered with Korean radish, onion, bean sprouts and scallions) was one of the standouts of the buffet. Its flavor was distinctly savory, mild and soothing.

          The buffet’s other soup, gook soo (soy sauce simmered with sesame oil, dried anchovies, onion, radish and tashima—a thick sea vegetable—and eaten with thin rice noodles), was a blend of salty, nutty and ocean flavors, with sweet undertones. It perfectly complemented the buffet’s spicier dishes.

          Among the half dozen house-made kimchis (seasoned and fermented vegetables), we enjoyed the surprisingly sweet kimchi salad (cabbage seasoned with the usual kimchi spices but not fermented) and the crunchy, cubed moo kimchi (radish), which was very tangy but only mildly spicy, despite its deep red color.

          The spicy mool kimchi, bite-size pieces of American cabbage and scallions floating in red chili-tinged water, was salty and refreshing—fermented to the point of fizziness—but only mildly spicy.

          Our hands-down favorite was the bak kimchi, “white” cabbage kimchi that omits the red chili paste that usually gives kimchi its spicy kick. It was intensely gingery and tangy without being too sour.

          In contrast to the spicy, tangy kimchis, the julienned scallion salad was fresh and crunchy with a subtly sweet flavor. The kongnamul (soybean sprouts tossed with chopped scallions) was also mild—flavored only with sweet, nutty sesame oil. The jjang ahi (marinated radish and Korean green peppers) nicely balanced the salty, sweet and tangy flavors of its soy sauce, vinegar and sugar marinade.

          Unfortunately, the vegetarian kimbap (Korean sushi rolls) was nothing special—on par with the offerings in any Korean deli. The pa jun (panfried rice-flour pancakes studded with green peppers and scallions) and jap chae (thin, clear potato noodles and vegetables stir-fried in sesame oil) were also disappointing—bland and excessively oily.

          The rolls of Korean cabbage were skillfully steamed and still crunchy but almost flavorless. To be fair, though, they usually are not eaten alone but rather are paired with marinated and barbecued meats.

          Those who are lucky enough to have access to good, homemade ban chan may scoff at the notion of a meal composed entirely of such side dishes. But for the rest of us, an all-you-can-eat buffet devoted to these inventive small plates is worth a visit—if only to explore a wider variety of ban chan than the predictable standards typically served in New York’s Korean restaurants.

          Photos at: http://www.cityspoonful.com/bbq-villa...

          -----
          BBQ Village
          157-26 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

        2. Polecat May 10, 2011 08:48 PM

          Have been to Tang several times and it is my current favorite Korean venue. Their specialty is Sulun Tang, the soup made using ox bones - the first thing you see when you walk in are three huge steaming vats of the stuff. I've also dug their Sam Gye Tang - the traditional Korean chicken soup with a whole bird stuffed with rice and dates sitting smack dab in the middle of the broth. Tang's version is the best I've had in NYC - been years since I first had this in Korea. It is, by and large, a joint that serves drinking food, such as platters to accompany bottles of soju. I really dug the bo ssam platter, which is steamed pork belly cut into square slabs and served with pickled veggies and a pile of fresh oysters. The steaming process allows for the fat to drip out and then to get absorbed back in. At their best, the bo ssam are tender and very flavorful. This place doesn't look, feel or sound like any other NYC Korean, which is a good thing. It's a specialist, not your basic Korean diner, and the menu is, thankfully, limited. The kimchi is also great. They drip a special, thick red sauce over it which is terrific combination of sweet, hot and sour, very unique, intense and sexy. The cuts of cabbage are also varied between the greenish thin slices, which are my favorites, and the thicker whitish cuts.

          Have also been to Mellie's a few times and have found them to be okay. They suffer from being pretty much the same type of restaurant as Imperial Palace, that being a Cantonese seafood specialist, their potential albatross being that they're right around the corner. But I haven't had enough dishes there to really make an assessment.

          One Northern Boulevard joint I've been wanting to try is Bangane, which advertises Bo Jing Tang but which, from what I've read, utilizes goat for the stew. I've also heard that it's pretty damn good.

          P.

          -----
          Imperial Palace
          136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

          Tang
          196-50 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

          Bangane
          165-19 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

          1. E Eto May 11, 2011 02:50 AM

            I've been to Mellie's a few times and I think it's good. I would say great, based on one meal, but they seem to have some consistency issues. The first meal I had there was really on target. That meal included one of the best fried rice dishes I've had in NYC. Then at a subsequent visit, something was amiss. If I can have a meal like the first one I had there, I'll be really glad, as it was better than my last meal at a much lauded place like Imperial Palace. Since then, I usually have gone for lunch, mostly because I found out about the free parking lot around the corner from the Mellie's that makes it really easy and convenient to stop in.

            Gam Mee Ok Tang is operated by the same folks of the Koreatown branch of Gam Mee Ok (the only Korean restaurant in K-town that I still go to). Based on Polecat's description, the menu seems identical to the K-town branch with the good sulontang and bossam plate. I also like the moochim bolgangyi (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/218950 ).

            If you're looking for good Korean kalgooksoo, then check out Jang Tur, right around the corner from Mellie's on Union. Though I haven't canvassed all the kalgooksoo places around Northern Blvd, this one stands out as the most memorable one.

            Bonjuk was a regular stop for me as well: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617442
            Hanyang Mart is the market diagonally across from Bonjuk: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/244572

            -----
            Hanyang Mart
            150-51 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

            Bonjuk
            152-26 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

            Mellie's
            137-81 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

            Jang Tur
            35-38 Union St, Queens, NY 11354

            1. squid kun May 11, 2011 09:18 AM

              Haven't been, but the noodle restaurant appears to be a Korean-Chinese place: jja jang myun, jjam ppong etc.

              3 Replies
              1. re: squid kun
                Jim Leff May 11, 2011 01:26 PM

                Yeah, makes sense.

                Speaking of Korean-Chinese, further down Northern Blvd in Bayside (almost all the way to the Cross Island Parkway) is Sam Won Kak, 219-01 Northern Blvd,, 718-352-5600. It's interesting because apparently it's super authentic. But just not real delicious. Which may actually be part of the authenticity...who knows. Good vibe. And I haven't worked through the whole menu, or, for that matter, been there lately. So who knows....

                Across street is Koryodang 219-07 Northern Blvd, a very good korean bakery with frustratingly limited and inconsistent selection and problematic parking and horrendously bad service (especailly for non-Koreans). If they have them (and you don't wind up getting kicked out after brawling with the staff), don't miss the clear plastic boxes of almond butter cookies sort of half rolled (like an open "Pirouette" cookie). They don't seem to actually bake there, but I've stopped deeming that a red flag in Asian bakeries. Off-site baking's fine so long as fresh product's being constantly and rapidly brought in from wherever.

                -----
                Sam Won Gahk
                219-01 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11361

                Koryodang
                219-02 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11361

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  f
                  frankie5angels May 12, 2011 04:25 AM

                  Not a fan of Sam Won Kak. The egg drop soup has mushrooms and carrots in it and tasted like crap and the over priced "mongolian beef" was a big miss. But that was like 2 years ago. :)

                  That space was better served as Harp and Mandolin. ;)

                  1. re: frankie5angels
                    Polecat May 12, 2011 09:55 AM

                    Re: Sam Won Gahk - have not been to this branch. Last visit was to long-gone Elmhurst branch on Bway.

                    By way of an alternative, the nearest Korean Chinese that I know of is Duck Hyang (also known as Duck Village), which is about a 5 minute drive from SWG, on Horace Harding (LIE service road), a block east of Springfield (exit 29). I recently had a decent bowl of Seafood Jjam Bong there, which is a specialty of this type of fusion cuisine. It wasn't quite up to the place we go to on 35th in Manhattan - name escapes me at the moment- but it still did the trick on a chilly afternoon.

                    P.

                    -----
                    Duck Village
                    221-34 Horace Harding Expy, Queens, NY 11364

              2. CitySpoonful Oct 10, 2011 02:27 PM

                Great meal at Geo Si Gi, which specializes in potato and pork bone "casseroles" (Gamja Tang) -- thick soups that simmer at your table. Great, mellow, herbal taste -- with a slight spicy after-kick. Very wholesome, healthy stuff.

                There was also an addictive sweet-spicy-tangy kimchee and pork dish and an incredibly soft, fluffy kimchi pajun (rice flour pancake) served with a think egg omlette cooked into the top layer. Great radish kimchi, too -- served chilled -- nice, sweet flavor.

                Before heading home, we picked up some take-away from My Mom's Takeout, a short walk up Northern Blvd. from Geo Si Gi. This is classic Korean fast-food/comfort food, but the quality is surprisingly good (unlike American fast food!). Everything is made to order, and the ingredients in our dishes were very good quality.

                We watched as the proprietress, who looked very mom-like indeed, made our kimbap to order using greens freshly sauteed in sesame oil and gooey, sweet, orange cheese (a flavor combo that worked surprisingly well). Also tried and enjoyed the omelette and fried rice dish, which used surprisingly fresh veggies (not frozen) and had a sweet, nutty flavor from ample use of sesame oil. The egg omelette was paper thin, and the combo tasted great with the super tangy ketchup that came with it.

                Unfortunately, the ramen with rice cakes and veggies in spicy broth didn't travel well (the noodles were bloated, having absorbed all the sauce by the time we arrived home), but it was tasty enough in that sub-par condition to make me curious to head back to try a freshly made bowl.

                Full reviews to come on City Spoonful (www.cityspoonful.com).

                -----
                My Mom's Takeout
                158-09 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

                Geo Si Gi
                152-28 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

                1. CitySpoonful Mar 14, 2012 07:39 AM

                  Any intel on a little Korean restaurant at 154-28 Northern Blvd. in Flushing? We passed by last night but neither of us read Korean, and there was nothing in English on the awning -- except Gaji Corp. I grabbed a takeout menu, but the name is only in Korean. Looked like a truly Mom & Pop operation -- very humble decorations. Interesting menu. An entire section dedicated to Jungol (a sort of stew, I gather) -- anyone know more? Also a "special menu" that lists these three dishes (these are the English translations):

                  "boiled whole duck with traditional herb and black sesame and mung bean porridge"
                  "fermentation skate sashimi with boiled pork and rice wine"
                  "boiled chicken with ginseng and chicken porridge"

                  Also an a la carte / takeout "Jokbal" menu with monkfish, boiled pork hocks, boiled goat meat, snals, femented skate sashimi, makuro, boiled tendon and the like.

                  And a "Meal" section with more familiar dishes -- various kind of tang, jigae, dupbap, baekban, bokeumbap, guk, and even a seafood soon dubu.

                  Pretty expansive selection of sojus, too. :)

                  Has anyone tried this place? Very curious!!

                  -----
                  Gaji Gaji
                  154-28 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

                  1. Polecat Mar 14, 2012 03:13 PM

                    Exciting new development: the wife is now raving about the kimchi buns sold from a stand inside of Hanyang market. This is not to be mistaken with the little cafe off the parking lot - this stand is right in the supermarket itself. I'm anxious to try these out, as the wife prefers these to Daheen Wang Mandoo.
                    P

                    -----
                    Hanyang Mart
                    150-51 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Polecat
                      CitySpoonful Mar 19, 2012 08:20 AM

                      Are these available on a daily basis? Only weekends? Very curious!!!

                      1. re: CitySpoonful
                        Polecat Mar 19, 2012 09:49 AM

                        Daily, so far as I can see. I went last week. The stand's name in English is something along the lines of "young adult" buns; staff t-shirts say "made with passion" and bear a raised fist graphic. Once you're in the market, towards the back, the stand - which is really more of a freestanding glass box with several people feverishly preparing buns within - cannot be missed.

                        This place seems to be a shameless attempt to cash in on nearby Daheen Wong Mandoo, but both venues have a branded look, so perhaps they were both pre-existing.

                        They do 3 buns here: kimchi, pork and red bean. The kimchi and pork are good. Haven't tried the red bean yet as the wait for those when I went was 45 minutes. The lines are long but seem more organized than Daheen was when they opened. I was in and out in 15 minutes.

                        P

                        1. re: Polecat
                          Jim Leff Mar 19, 2012 12:09 PM

                          Good stuff, Polecat. Love the raised fist graphic. If I get reincarnated, I want to come back as an uberhip Asian kid with a great food biz.

                          1. re: Jim Leff
                            Polecat Mar 19, 2012 02:06 PM

                            I also highly recommend Rolly Kimbab, which is further east. Talk about your Korean steamed bun war, we also have Rolly going up against Song's Family Foods, just a half block from one another. Both good but Rolly gets the edge for their humongous rice balls and their pastrami and ssambab kimbabs. I never really dug Kimbab until these two joints made the scene.
                            P

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