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Jul 12, 2011 12:15 PM

Devouring Queens- NYMag's NewTop 20 Eats- Opinions?

Hi All,

New York Magazinejust published their cheap eats issue and had a section focusing on the best Top 20 Queens restaurants. Some well knowns are on there (M.Wells, Spic & Tasty, etc) along with a few others I have not heard of. Was wondering everyone's thoughts as to wether or not NY Mag hit the nail on the head or missed it's mark.

Here is the listing:

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  1. As a devourer of Queens food, my thoughts:

    1) I work in Long Island City and I've been to's good, but I honestly do not get all of the hype this place gets. Maybe I need to go there again because the first time I went was fine but nothing special. I'd say the best food in LIC is either LIC Market, La Vuelta, Bella Via, or Sweetleaf (for coffee/tea).

    2) Tortilleria Nixtamal- it's good for tortillas and tamales, but I'll always be influenced by the time I went for their World Cup chilaquiles special...ordered them...sat there for 75 minutes...and was eventually told that due to a big order they couldn't make them for us and we had to leave. And when I told the owner of the experience, I kind of expected them to ask us to come back so we can have them and they didn't offer that. Although I will say I have a generally favorable impression of the people who run the place.

    I'll throw out some others I didn't see on the list- Salut for Uzbeki in Forest Hills/Rego Park, Pio Pio for rotisserie chicken (I like the one in Jackson Heights), Joe's Shanghai in Flushing (Pork/Crab soup dumplings, Shanghai Noodles, Young Chow Fried Rice),, and I'll give a shout out to Tony's Beechhurst Deli for their simple yet amazing Italian offerings, including my all-time favorite fresh mozzarella.

    Joe's Shanghai
    136-21 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

    63-42 108th St, Queens, NY 11375

    Pio Pio
    84-02 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11372

    La Vuelta
    10-43 44th Dr, Queens, NY 11101

    Tony's Beechhurst Deli
    11-18 154th St, Queens, NY 11357

    Bella Via
    47-46 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

    Tortilleria Nixtamal
    104-05 47th Ave, Queens, NY 11368

    Sweetleaf Coffee & Tea
    10-93 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101

    M. Wells Diner
    21-17 49th Ave, Queens, NY 11101

    LIC Market
    21-52 44th Dr, Queens, NY 11101

    1 Reply
    1. re: BigV

      I also don't get the M. Wells hype. I mean...I had a great time, no doubt, and I loved the friendly, hands-on, involved service, but the veal brains (wanted to be adventurous), of course, squooshy, covered with mini-croutons, probably to offset the weird consistency, but the sauce I didn't get (forgot the name of it). Saw someone else try the crayfish, looked like a lot of trouble to eat, and heard them complaining about lack of flavor. Saw the gigantic burger. Ok, so it's a very large burger. And no poutine (regularly) at a place that's supposed to be in the Quebecois tradition? What's up with that?

      Big V, if you like Joe's Shanghai, also try relative newcomer, Prince Noodle House, for their crabmeat dumplings, also while there, try their fatty pork belly.

      Prince Noodle House
      37-17 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

    2. 1. Hunan House, which is every bit as good as Hunan Kitchen, has faded into obscurity post-NYT review of the latter. Frankly, Hunan House is as good or better than Fu Run, Spicy Tasty, etc.

      2. Salt & Fat is one of the best restaurants in Queens and having eaten there multiple occasions, consistent. Their mussels dish would easily be 2-3 times more costly in Manhattan for comparable quality.

      3. Tournesol is easily the best French bistro in Queens. Their lamb shank with fruit couscous is soulful. Unpretentious and reliable in their preparation and execution.

      4. Southern Spice and their biryani deserve mention... if they hadn't closed.

      5. LIC Market is excellent and underpraised. Their oyster mushroom hash is killer, as well as their pulled brisket and homemade carrot bread.

      6. Nan Xiang for soup dumplings, red bean pastries and scallion pancake beef wraps.

      7. Manducatis over Istria Sports Club. They both have old world charm but Manducatis has better food.

      8. JJ's for value. Their tuna arugula plate, tuna with apples and pot stickers are excellent.

      9. Zum Stammtisch cannot be ignored on a list of Queens restaurants. Sausage and schnitzel are not to be missed.

      10. I'm sure I'm forgetting some....

      Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
      38-12 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

      Fu Run
      40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

      Zum Stammtisch
      69-46 Myrtle Ave, Queens, NY 11385

      3705 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11103

      50-12 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

      13-27 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101

      Istria Sport Club
      28-09 Astoria Blvd, Queens, NY 11102

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

      LIC Market
      21-52 44th Dr, Queens, NY 11101

      Salt & Fat
      41-16 Queens Blvd, Queens, NY 11104

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pookipichu

        definitely agree on you with Nan Xiang and Im also a huge fan of Hunan House.
        I have to disagree about the biryani at Southern Spice and I was not impressed by it, but maybe I caught them at a bad day. I did very much enjoy the coconut shrimp curry, garlic nan, and onion kulcha there.

      2. I've only read the online version of the issue, which I think is largely the same, and I think the guide is great. Of course there are a ton of restaurants they quote unquote missed, but it's not supposed to be a comprehensive guide.. it's a spotlight. I love the selections, especially Ploy Thai way up there on the list. Do any of the ones in the top 20 deserve to be out entirely? While I still say nixtamal is overly overrated, I still respect them being up there. If they weren't, there would be a major backlash from Manhattanites.

        I'm only slightly biased, and proud to be (have written freelance lil bits). As a comparison to Time Out's cheap eats issue, this completely destroys it. To make a list like that is an invitation to be torn apart.

        Ploy Thai
        81-40 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jeffsayyes

          I agree that this listing is surprisingly decent. The writers must have scoured these boards to find these spots. I was a bit surprised by the write-up for Rincon Criollo. I found a lot of similarities to a post I made about them not too long ago:

          Rincon Criollo
          40-09 Junction Blvd, Queens, NY 11368

          1. re: E Eto

            lots of chowhound favorites on there. they must see us... Show yourselves, Rob and Rob!

        2. Read the article - anybody been to Han Joo? The writer recommends pork belly BBQ over cold noodles, but none of the old men in the picture is eating pork belly BBQ! Is their pork belly BBQ that good - meaning that much better than Don's Bogam - that it warrants a trip to Queens?

          Han Joo
          41-06 149th Pl, Queens, NY 11355