Flushing Report - May 2011
We were spending the day at Spa Castle but wanted to eat before and after the spa day. We went to Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao for breakfast before catching the shuttle bus over to Spa Castle.
Nan Xiang opens at 8 am and I was surprised that we weren't the first ones there a bit before 8. We ordered two steamers of XLB, soy peas, cabbage and shredded bean curd, spicy bamboo shoots and snow cabbage and pork noodle soup. All were great but the soy peas dish was on the weaker side.
The XLB were amazing. No news to this board, but WOW. Really light, delicate skins, filled with lots of soup and the perfect amount of meat. There was so much flavor that I ate these plain. The noodle soup was also delicious although it could have been hotter and the soup could have been a bit more flavorful. But the noodles themselves tasted house made with plenty of snow cabbage. I just wish the broth matched the stuff floating in it.
For dinner, we went to Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan. I liked this place a lot and there were some outstanding dishes. I had searched the board for recs and didn't veer off the beaten path. My favorite dish was the Lamb with Spicy Salt. I could have eaten the platter myself. My parents were also with us so we could do a bit of over ordering. With the lamb chops, we also ordered the bbq fish,white pepper smoked beef, Mao's braised pork and dry fried string beans. The waitress also recommended the pumpkin cake, woodear in special vinegar sauce and cucumber with scallion sauce.
I have mixed feelings about the fish and the white pepper beef. I loved the fish itself but only liked the stuff on it. There was too much of the stuff including potatoes and sweet potatoes. But, that's me, I'm not into potatoes unless it's fried or chipped. The white pepper beef was mixed as well. On one hand, the beef was a bit too smoked for my taste, it reminded me of beef jerky. But, the white bits of crunchy goodness? I could have eaten a whole plate of that, without the meat.
I would go back to this restaurant though, just for those special spicy lamb chops. I was a little bummed that there were only 4 pieces (just one piece for each). Perfectly fried and flavored. And, not gamy or tough. This goes back to my theory that everything tastes better on a stick.
Lastly, whoever posted about the LIRR going from Penn Station to Flushing. A thousand thanks. It made our trip so much easier then taking the 7 out.
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
38-12 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354
Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan
42-47 Main St, Queens, NY 11355
beetlebug, a friend from Hubei (wedged btwn Henan and Hunan) took us to Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan just before the big Times review came out. He told us it was the closest thing to food from Hubei that he'd been able to find in NYC.
As vegetarians, finding anything at all, let alone legitimately delicious dishes(!), is a victory in many Flushing restaurants. But we had a feast at Hunan Kitchen and were very impressed by the meal we had there.
For apps: a cold eggplant dish seasoned with sesame oil, and a cold wood ear dish seasoned with vinegar, sugar and sesame oil (maybe soy sauce too, for a salty edge?).
For mains, we ordered a simmered cabbage dish that came with a bunson burner-like set up that kept the veggies simmering away at our table throughout the meal. We are spice lovers who can take quite a bit of chili-heat, and we were impressed that the food was actually legitimately spicy -- strewn with garlic and firey red dried and pickled chilis (both types). We also ordered a country-style tofu dish that was similarly garlicky and spicy and a soup that I don't recall much about (though I'm sure I enjoyed it) -- all totally veg!
Of course, every other table seemed to have amazing-looking whole fish dishes simmering away with chilis, garlic, etc. on similar bunson-burner heated contraptions. But we were very content with the vegetarian dishes we tried and have been meaning to go back and explore the menu ever since.
My only complaint -- the food seemed overly oily (though not so much so that the taste was negatively affected.