Lake Pavilion – New Cantonese in Flushing Worth Trying and Surprisingly Good Peking Duck
Lake Pavilion is a huge new Cantonese restaurant located in Flushing, but not in downtown Flushing as it’s much closer to the Long Island Expressway in a small area that seems to turning into a 2nd area in Flushing with a lot of Chinese restaurants. Note that you will need a car to get here or have to take a bus from downtown Flushing. Another option would be to take a Chinese black car which will get you here for $24-25 from Manhattan.
The restaurant used to be called Palace Diner, which was an old school American diner type of place, but the exterior has changed from looking like a run-down diner to almost looking like some casino with super gaudy blue florescent lights lighting up the outside. The restaurant is deceivingly big and has to be one of the biggest restaurants in Flushing. It’s been completely renovated into a typical Chinese banquet type of place and everything is new, clean and bright. We sat in the main room, but there are many private rooms and also a fairly sizeable second dining room as well.
The service was quite good; they were attentive and surprisingly nice. I will caution that many of the servers spoke little to no English as several times someone from our table asked for something in English and got a blank stare. However, if you don’t speak Chinese then the good thing is that the entire menu is translated into English with lots of pictures with the exception of a very small specials menu that was on the table, so any which way you should be fine.
Here’s what we got:
- Winter Melon Soup: This was a standard version of the soup, but it was good and perfect during a cold winter night. The soup was nice and light and I thought the ingredients such as the crab, chicken, winter melon were all quite fresh. Overall, this was a nice rendition. 7.75/10
- Peking Duck: This turned out to be the surprise of the night. They brought a whole Peking duck to the table and carved it up in front of us, then made the buns for us and also brought us back a plate with a very large amount of extra duck meat. This is Cantonese style Peking duck meaning it’s actually a roast duck and you eat it in mantou (steamed white buns) instead of pancakes. The duck skin was nicely crispy and the meat was perfectly tender and really tasted great in the buns with hoisin sauce and spring onions. The leftover duck meat was great as well; I kept eating it with rice and hoisin sauce. This is definitely the best Peking duck I’ve had in New York. 8.5/10
- Sizzling Black Pepper Steak: We ordered this because I saw a lot of other tables ordering it. I thought this was one of the duds of the night. The steak while fine was a little drier than I like and I prefer a stronger flavored black pepper sauce although the sauce was fine overall. 6.75/10
- Snow Pea Leaves with Crab Claw Meat Egg White Sauce: They do a nice rendition of this dish here, the snow pea leaves were fresh and the sauce while standard was well executed. 8/10
- Stir Fried String Beans: This was another standout dish for me. These string beans had good wok hay which is the smoky flavor you get from cooking at a wok at a high temperature, but only chefs who know what they’re doing can get this right. The pork sauce was also really nice and not overly salty like a lot of places do it. This was definitely a good dish. 8.25/10
- Eggplant and Sparerib Casserole: Along with the Peking Duck, this was the other star of the night. It was a typical casserole consisting of eggplant and cut up spare rib swimming in brown sauce with some vegetables. The brown sauce was excellent; it wasn’t gloppy or bland like a lot of places make it. It had a great savory flavor and really tasted good with rice. The eggplant and spare ribs were both perfectly cooked. This was probably one of the best casseroles I’ve had in NY. 8.5/10
- Steamed Flounder: They have an extensive list of expensive sea fish, which I wanted to get, but one of my friends really likes flounder and wanted to get it as it was on most tables. Flounder is not my favorite fish, I usually get it fried if I do, but we got it cooked traditional Cantonese style where it’s steamed first and then hot oil and soy sauce are poured over it. They did a good job and the fish was very tender and the sauce was good. It has a very slight fishy flavor which is why I dinged it a little bit, but overall this was good and I definitely want to come back and try some of their higher end fish. 7.75/10
- Peking Pork Chops: This was the other dud of the knight. The sauce was fine, but they screwed up the batter as it came off the pork chops (it should be firmly stuck to them) and hence ended up being a little soggy. 6.75/10
- Crab Sticky Rice: The sticky rice here is different than the version at Imperial Palace / East Lake, which you can see here (https://www.lauhound.com/2012/03/impe...). It was much more sticky and heavy being more similar to the sticky rice you get in a zong zi (Chinese tamale) or nuo mi ji / lo mai gai. It was flavored very nicely as the crab gave it great flavor and the crab meat was actually delicious as it had retained a lot of its flavor. The rice also contained a lot of crispy ham and peanuts as well. However, the peanuts were the downfall as texturally they were too hard for the dish and the flavor of roast peanuts is too strong and overpowered the crab. If they replaced the roasted peanuts with soft boiled peanuts I’d probably take make rating of this dish up to an 8.25/10. 7.75/10
- Salt and Pepper Squid: We almost didn’t get this dish because they forgot to write it down and the lady was like it’s too much food already, but then a friend came late, so we ended up getting it anyhow and I’m glad we did. The squid was really tender maybe the most tender version I’ve had in NY and the salt and pepper batter was quite good although South China Garden’s batter was better, but the squid was so tender that I’d call it a wash as to who’s version is better. I’m glad they make a good version because Imperial Palace’s version isn’t good and they are my go to Cantonese restaurant. 8/10
- Red Bean Soup: This was given as a free dessert at the end of the meal. It was standard, but quite good. 7.75/10
Overall, I enjoyed my meal here and this is definitely one of the best Cantonese restaurants in New York right now.
yah i was disappointed about that b/c thats like an old school cantonese favorite of mine and most places can do it at least okay, we were thinking that it might've been an off night for that dish or something b/c the sauce was fine (that's usually downfall), but the batter was all messed up
aside from that though def worth checking out
well if i had to choose i'd probably choose IP b/c i love the crab sticky rice, lamb chops etc, but I have only had one meal at LP and it was quite good...the peking duck in and of itself is a big discovery just bc it's been pretty bad in NY the last few times i had it anywhere
I also think they're good at different dishes. for example the salt & pepper squid sucks at IP, but it was good at LP and the peking pork chops are excellent at IP and they suck at LP, peking duck sucks at IP and its good at LP etc etc. They're sort of complimentary in that they are good at different dishes.
further, i need to try some of the high end seafood here b/c at IP if you pay up a little more you can get substantially better food and my gut feeling is that it's the same here
it's def a good addition to the mix and its also good b/c cantonese food is dying a fast death in manhattan, so its good that someone good opened in Flushing