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Guan Dong Yi Jia: Yet more Northern Chinese on Kissena (only this time with Pumpkin Fries)

Polecat Jul 8, 2011 05:49 PM

Anyone who's sauntered around Kissena, in the area between Cherry and Laubernam streets, knows there's no shortage of Northern Chinese venues. It's reached the point where if you throw a rock, you're likely to hit one (not that I'm condoning that type of behavior). Some of the more talked-about amongst them have been M&T and Golden Palace. Today, I tried a new one, ordered something that caught my fancy, and got something completely different from what I was expecting.

The English on the awning says "Guan Dong" and then "Yi Jia." The take-out menu says, "House of Orient, Northern Chinese Style." I'll post the awning photo and will be grateful for any translations. I entered at noon this afternoon. The joint was near to empty save for about three tables of diners, pretty sparse. It struck me as clean, with a few booths partitioned against one wall, some cheesy, Bob Ross-inspired paintings on the far wall. All the waitresses were very nice, friendly, etc.

Here's a run-down on my lunch-for-one:

Complimentary kimchi: This is actually a close cousin, as it's more on the sweet, even slightly tart, side, and less spicy than what I'm used to. But I liked it. Some boiled peanuts would have been nice as well, but that's just my gluttonous greed talking.

Spicy beef tendon: One of many cold appetizers listed, this is a favorite of mine. I've nary met a one I didn't like, but these guys do a good job. The tendon sits in a thick pool of red chili oil, but the oily slickness doesn't get in the way of the chewiness, which is one of the things I really dig about dishes like this. It had the right combination of spice and earthiness, which came from the greens. Naturally, you can't have this without a nice bowl of steaming white rice; they do wonders together, one adding to the other. This was a winner.

Egg Yolk w/ Pumpkin: I'd been wanting to try this ever since checking out the takeout menu last week - it sounded enticing. I don't usually go for vegetarian dishes as a main, but it's pumpkin, and, really, how can you go wrong. What came to the table was nowhere near what I expected. It was a heaping pile of criss-crossed, pumpkin fries, dusted with a sweet, egg batter. The batter had the same crumbly consistency you get on so-called Cantonese Pineapple buns. The fries were crispy, and the pumpkin flavor was intact. Admittedly, though, this dish is more of a conversation piece than a main. It was also pretty dry, which made it a nice counterpoint to the wet beef tendon appetizer. Next time, though, I'll opt probably for a lamb or beef dish.

The portions here are quite huge. Those fries could have easily served three people, and I had plenty to take home. I look forward to returning to try other dishes here.

Right next door is the underrated Carnation Bakery. It's a crawlspace with about 4 small tables. The buns here always seem to be fresh, a great of them warm. These guys do a very good combined pineapple and coconut bun, with the typical pineapple serated pattern but without the yellow crumbly stuff, and actual coconut shards inside. Their taro bun is also good, nice and chewy with a generous taro filling. The counterwomen are characters, sort of the female counterpart to the staff at the old Mei Lei Wah. This is a good place.

Guan Dong
46-09 Kissena Blvd,
Flushing, NY 11355
917-285-2052

Carnation Bakery
4435 Kissena Blvd.
Flushing, NY 11355
(718) 888-7771

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Carnation Bakery
46-05 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

Golden Palace
14009 Cherry Ave, Queens, NY 11355

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

Guan Dong Yi Jia
46-09 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. n
    nooyawka Jul 8, 2011 06:15 PM

    Hey Polecat, the spicy beef tendon looks scrumptious! Can't wait to try. Thanks for the review!

    1. scoopG Jul 9, 2011 05:07 PM

      Thanks much Polecat for this find. For sure a northern style place. Will be promptly entered into the rotation! Great photos to boot.

      1 Reply
      1. re: scoopG
        Polecat Jul 9, 2011 05:38 PM

        Thanks, guys. I can't think of what's more aesthetically pleasing, those monstrous pumpkin fries or the trio of Bob Ross-like landscapes. Give it a go and see what you think.
        p

      2. K K Jul 10, 2011 11:41 AM

        Guan Dong 關東 is basically another way (albeit a bit archaic) of referring to the Dong Bei region (inclusive of Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin etc) and may include a little bit of Shandong influence.

        1 Reply
        1. re: K K
          Polecat Jul 10, 2011 07:14 PM

          Thanks very much.
          P.

        2. l
          Lau Jul 14, 2011 10:28 AM

          interesting looking place

          KK already got you on the name, but the english name is a direct transliteration of their chinese name (i didn't know guan dong was a reference to dong bei), the rest of it on the right side of the sign says "bei fang" = northern and "feng wei" = local taste

          1. Polecat Jul 29, 2011 05:39 PM

            This is a simple plate of shredded pork, but with an excellent wok char. Beautifully crisp and chewy in places, yet retains its' juices. Terrific flavor balance of savory and spice. The celery and garlic chunks balance this dish out perfectly, some nice texture going on. This and the cold beef tendon dish I had last time are two of the best I've had all year. I'm interested to try "hand tears chicken", amongst other menu items. The last photo reveals one of my favorite things to do in life - that is to drip whatever juices and bits are left onto the rice bowl and to eat the rest with a spoon (in this case, a plastic one).

            P.

             
             
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