Flushing: Hly Chinese Cuisine (三人百姓) - new Sichuan restaurant
- Peter Cuce Jan 13, 2013 12:12 PM
Hly Chinese Cuisine, open about a month, is a new Sichuan restaurant across from Spicy Road on Main Street, near the Queens Botanical Garden. Apparently the Chinese name means something like Three People From the Country or Three Farmers or something like that. I'm hoping Scoop or Lau or someone else will chime in with a better translation.
I've been twice, once for dinner and once for lunch and would say based on limited exposure that it's one of the better Sichuan restaurants in New York City. Although the chef is Sichuan, there are a smattering of Northeastern Chinese dishes on the menu - I'm not sure if this is a nod to the primarily Dong Bei neighborhood or if Dong Bei is trendy now in Flushing or what. One Dong Bei dish that we tried was a simple but flavorful beef stew w/ oven roasted potatoes that I couldn't stop eating. It put me in mind of a similar turnip beef stew at Liaoning restaurant, Jiang Li, on Kissena Blvd.
The ox tongue and tripe was one of the best versions I've had, with tender slices of well-cooked tongue and a nutty, spicy sauce that had a breadth of flavor I haven't usually encountered in this dish. The water boiled fish was very good as was the pork with veg roasted chili. Nothing I tried was bad, although the oddly translated broad bean dish isn't something I'd order again - a little goes a long way.
btw, I noticed a couple of newish Shanghainese restaurants further south in Queensboro Hill: Kung Fu Xiaolongbao (http://flic.kr/p/dLef8c) and Shanghai Cuisine http://flic.kr/p/dLefgn), which is apparently affiliated with a couple of other NYC Shanghai restaurants. There are Yelp reviews, but I wondered if anyone on the boards had been.
I just passed here today after lunch at Hunan Kitchen of Grand Szechuan. I’d translate the name of this place (三人百姓 sān rén bǎi xìng) as “Three Ordinary Guys." Maybe even “Three’s Company” – a possible Chinese play on words from that old 1980's sitcom, which in Chinese was 三人信 sān rén xìn. They're just having a bit of fun with the name I think. Not sure where the Hly comes into play!
Their menu says they have Sichuan, Manchurian and Hot Pot menu items. 25 lunch specials for $5.50. Not sure it is a true Manchurian place without a full compliment of dumplings and pickled vegetables.
HLY refers to the initials of the owner, I was told by the friendly hostess. I don’t think this is a Sichuan Restaurant – or if it is I am prepared to immediately file a grievance with the union! I think HLY may be a Manchurian place that serves up northern favorites and more for the northern masses. Our three Sichuan ordered dishes contained absolutely no Sichuan peppercorns and packed no heat. Their menu is studded with Manchurian favorites (Crystal Skin Jelly, Stir-Fried Sour Cabbage with Vermicelli, Cumin Lamb, Sautéed Potato, Green Pepper and Eggplant), Taiwan (Three Cup Chicken) and several dishes that have the word Korea in them (Dried Fish with Korea Sauce, Phoenix Feet in Korean Sauce, Cold Noodles Korean Style).
That said, a couple of dishes were done well and the service was prompt and friendly.
Chinese Yam in Blueberry Sauce – the blueberries in sauce were house-made. Tasted fine but seem to work better as a breakfast item.
Ma Po Tofu – no ma-la present here.
Sautéed Potato, Green Pepper and Eggplant – standard northern dish that was hot and tasty.
Stir-fried String Beans with Yibin Vegie Buds – satisfying.
Dan Dan Noodles – far too much chili oil. Not a good version.
Duck with Bamboo in Spicy Beer Sauce – not spicy, my least favored dish.
Dried Red Pepper Crispy Crabs – this was a hit and disappeared fast.
nice review and pics, looks good. btw the card says that this is a sichuan, dongbei food and small hot pots restaurant. ScoopG is probably right, seems odd that a sichuan chef would be cooking northern food more likely the other way around. You don't see dongbei food besides maybe some dumplings in other parts of china from my experience (its not that popular) although u will see sichuan, cantonese etc in all over china (i don't remember once seeing a northern place in chengdu when i was there for 2 weeks although im sure they have one somewhere in the city, its clearly not common or popular)
so many restaurants to review, im so far behind because im trying to push through all my asia reviews, getting pretty closed to being done, so hopefully get back to NY stuff soon.
translation: scoopG got you already
kung fu XLB: gotten fairly mixed reviews on yelp
Shanghai cuisine: although it clearly says its a shanghainese place, in chinese it says thats is a hong style food. shanghainese food is one of the most popular chinese cuisines in HK and they do have their own take on it to a certain degree, so i'm assuming that's what they're talking about
Thanks for the background - that's very helpful.
The first time I went, the restaurant staff told me the chef was Sichuan and one of the waiters will clearly try to sway you toward those dishes, although as I mentioned above, the beef and potato stew was great. My most recent visit there was not as good as the first two, but we did order some not necessarily representative dishes. They gave us a free order of BaSi for dessert, and I thought it was nowhere near as good as any of the northeastern spots. However, I think it's possible that the chef has changed. The first two visits the food was spicy and the most recent time it not only wasn't as good, there were zero peppercorns in the dish that should have had them.
I've been to Kung Fu XLB twice now and think the xiaolongbao are among the best in the city. I'll refrain from direct comparison since I haven't been to Nanxiang in a long while, but the XLB are delicate, juicy, and flavorful.
I actually went today and tried more dishes - the only disappointing one was the seafood panfried noodles which were bland and needed some contrasting flavor. Admittedly the Shanghai pickings are slim in NYC, but from what I've tried so far, I find it to be some of the best here.
As soon as I get my pictures up I'll post a little more detail.
btw Lau, regarding your question re: the Chinese, I studied Japanese for a year or so quite a while back and still can read some characters and find them on the iPhone keyboard if I play around a little bit. Sometimes I ask for an assist from a friend.
Peter Cuce - btw out of curiousity how did you find the chinese characters if you can't read chinese?