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Farrington Street (just north of main drag in Flushing)

Jim Leff Jul 19, 2011 02:31 PM

Finally had a chance to really walk around Farrington Street, which goes north from Northern Blvd near the point where Main Street proceeds south from Northern Blvd. The block had always fascinated me, but I never had time to really wander around. I didn't actually eat anything, but here's what I found (please comment if you know places, and maybe go-eat-then-comment if you don't!):

Sundal Restaurant 13431 35th Ave 888-9221 utter, utter mystery. No English anything, yet large-ish and fairly modern. Nothing on the Internet. I very rarely draw an absolute blank, but this is one of those times. I get a very good vibe re: food quality

Debasaki 3367 Farrington St 886-6878 Japanese-style stuffed fried chicken wings. The sort of place where I trust Yelp reviews, and the rap there is that wings are killer, but everything else is iffy (though Yelpers seldom methodically explore menus for errant deliciousness).

Spicy King Restaurant 35-34 Farrington St 718-661-1888 hunan, 7 days 11-11. Hunan. Great looking, staunchly authentic, fairly-priced menu with all the classics plus lots of other intriguing stuff. Strangely unmentioned here. I'm pretty sure it's at least very good.

Ming Xing BBQ 35-14 Farrington 7 days 11am-5am. BBQ stuff (including "Big Backstraps Paddywack", which for some unfathomable reason is the term for bull penis) plus a strange, non-exciting short menu of non-bbq dishes ranging from fried pork to cumin lamb to fried jumbo shrimp to Korean noodles. Seems to be both Chinese and Korean yet NOT in any respect "Korean-Chinese".

Magna Ristorante 35-25 Farrington St 718-445-3352. magnarestaurant.com
one of those stuffy-seeming Italian holdout places you see in neighborhoods like this where nothing intriguing's on the menu and prices are a couple notches too high to encourage curiosity and the clientele has been going for decades. Sometimes such places are surprising gems hidden in plain sight. But often not.

Hong Kong Noodle Shop 35-20 Farrington St 718-353-2338 mon-sat 7:30-7. Very tiny, very friendly pure Hong Kong place with typical weirdo Hong Kongy stuff like black pepper spaghetti. Lots of noodles, fried rice, and smoothies. Horlick's is strangely expensive (a good sign IMO).

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Magna
35-25 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

Spicy King
35-34 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

Sundal
134-31 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

Debasaki
33-67 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

Ming Xing
35-14 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

Hong Kong Noodle Shop
35-20 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

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  1. g
    Greg RE: Jim Leff Jul 19, 2011 05:10 PM

    Debasaki is a Korean fried chicken place with a focus on low lighting, loud music and beer. The food is good, but not great. I tried exploring the menu a bit - ordering the curry and a couple of other things. Nothing was as good as the fried chicken, and everything was overpriced.

    Serious Eats had a write-up a while back. I didn't enjoy it as much as they did.
    http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...

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    Debasaki
    33-67 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

    2 Replies
    1. re: Greg
      d
      diprey11 RE: Greg Jul 19, 2011 05:26 PM

      Please forgive my bluntness: there is a slight chance both Debasaki and Spicy King might turn out the waste of your time and money. Ming Xing feels about right after like half a gallon of shaojiu. Is it the decor, I wonder? There is a reason some places are known more than others. Just my (not so humble) opinion, of course.

      -----
      Spicy King
      35-34 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

      Debasaki
      33-67 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

      Ming Xing
      35-14 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

      1. re: diprey11
        Jim Leff RE: diprey11 Jul 19, 2011 08:26 PM

        Have you tried Debasaki and Spicy King? If not, then I guess we're in agreement: a given place may be good, bad, or middling. Obviously. That said, I happen to have good chow-dar, so if I think places look good, they often (though not always) tend to be.

        "There is a reason some places are known more than others"

        Yes. The known places are either 1. near well-trafficked intersections, or 2. have a flair (or budget) for marketing, or 3. were once written up by some food writer who'd randomly bumped into the place, and fleets of lazy food writers endlessly recapitulated the tip, even though the place went downhill years ago or wasn't good to begin with.

        Quite seriously, that's about it. If you've ever noticed that lots of touted places suck, or that lots of great places are underrated, that's the crappy mechanism that gives rise to it all.

        The central credo of this entire web site is that vast edible treasure awaits completely outside the spotlight. The chowscape is by no means an "efficient market". Bad places are touted, great places missed. Best to go out and find your own deliciousness rather than mindlessly eat where you're told! :)

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        Spicy King
        35-34 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

        Debasaki
        33-67 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

    2. DaveCook RE: Jim Leff Jul 19, 2011 05:13 PM

      I've managed to cruise Spicy King for two years without eating there, but I get the same vibe. I think your instincts are very good, Jeff.

      Ming Xing is a relatively new Dongbei restaurant that, given the region's proximity to Korea, also offers some Korean dishes; the takeout menu is trilingual. The very lengthy menu of BBQ exotica, plus that roster of other belly-fillers you noted, complements the 5:00 a.m. closing time. I gather that this is a feeding hole for the late-night drinking crowd.

      -----
      Spicy King
      35-34 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

      Ming Xing
      35-14 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

      3 Replies
      1. re: DaveCook
        scoopG RE: DaveCook Jul 20, 2011 05:31 PM

        There are now probably 5-7 Korean-Chinese or Chinese-Korean places in Flushing now. Korean population in China (now at 2 million+) is growing as many South Koreans who cannot get into university there flock to China to study instead.

        1. re: scoopG
          b
          birdsandtogs RE: scoopG Dec 13, 2011 04:01 PM

          Went to Ming Xing last week. I thought the food was just as good as Sol Hyang Lee on 41st Ave. We sat at the charcoal table so we grilled the skewers ourselves. We ordered the following:

          Lamb chuanr (skewers). Good stuff, tasty, with the right amount of fat. Chili cumin dip was great. Not as salty as Sol Hyang Lee.

          Chicken wings (3 to an order). Also good, came out of the kitchen pre cooked a bit (deep fried) then you finish them on the grill.

          Beef chuanr, good stuff, not as fatty as the lamb but then it's not supposed to be.

          Suancai tang (sauerkraut soup with mung bean vermicelli and pork belly). I actually ordered poached pork belly in a chili sauce, but this dish was probably better for what we ordered. The sauerkraut cut through the richness and fatiness of the skewers nicely. Sort of like a palate refreshener.

          Pork dumplings. It's a must at any of these Dongbei joints as they are masters using dough.

          Lastly, quail la xiang guo (deep fried quail tossed with dried chili pepper, sichuan peppercorn, something a little sticky and sweet (not honey). This I thought was the best dish of the whole meal. The quail was fried nicely and the sweetness was a perfect foil for the chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorns. Very nicely balanced.

          This place (like Sol Hyang Lee) has only one beer on draft: Bud. At least it's cheap at 10 bucks a pitcher. You need to drink beer or some kind of booze with this kind of xiao ye.

          What I did with the skewers was grill them on the lower level of the grill and then when they were almost done put them on the top level. You can just grill again when you're ready to eat them. You can either take them off the skewer into the chili cumin dip or put the dip onto the chuanr and grill again to get some smokiness. They're good both ways.

          Another thing I liked about this place over Sol Hyang Lee was that I didn't feel like I had to drink a gallon of water afterwards.

          The decor was very spartan and smoky. Not a place to go to for ambience. But if you want to get loud with plenty of beer this is definitely a good place to go.

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          Ming Xing
          35-14 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

          1. re: birdsandtogs
            Peter Cuce RE: birdsandtogs Dec 13, 2011 06:30 PM

            Thanks for the report. None of these places have great ambience, although the new Feng Mao BBQ on Roosevelt Ave looks a little nicer than the other Yanbian spots on 41st.

      2. buttertart RE: Jim Leff Jul 20, 2011 10:28 AM

        We're overdue for a Flushing visit and for Hunan food. Will check Spicy King out by the end of the month.
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingin... (just noticed this is DK's pic) -
        The awning says "Hunan" on the left and "Xiang restaurant" on the right (Xiang is the name of the ancient kingdom of Hunan, the counterpart of Yu for Sichuan - hence the real meaning of "Yu Xiang" dishes - not fish-flavored, since they don't taste like fish or use flavorings commonly used with fish, but flavors typical of the Sichuan-Hunan area).
        The top line of characters on the window says "Real Hunan food" and (roughly) "Just like in the home province".
        Looks very interesting indeed.

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        Spicy King
        35-34 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

        1. Joe MacBu RE: Jim Leff Jul 20, 2011 03:15 PM

          I went to Spicy King several months ago. They have items on the menu which I don't remember seeing at the other Hunan places nearby. Overall, the food was good, the staff friendly (despite limited English skills), the prices a bit cheaper (the atmosphere is a notch or two downscale compared to Hunan House). But I have not returned - Hunan House remains my default choice for quality. I'd return for the items not available elsewhere.

          I have vague recollections of liking the "Crispy pork fat & chili pepper in black bean sauce".

          Some interesting options: House special sauteed pork skin; Spicy chicken gizzard; Hunan style pork tongue; Scorched rice w sea cucumber.

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

          Spicy King
          35-34 Farrington St, Queens, NY 11354

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