A couple months back, a new Chinese/Shanghainese place opened up just a few blocks from my place in Forest Hills. Since Andy’s in Rego Park closed a while back, I’ve been really missing some good, solid Chinese food in the area and was excited to see the menu included some stuff that Andy’s had (it was more of a Taiwanese-focus restaurant), along with some other items I’d never dreamed of having in my area.
For example — soup dumplings!! Ahhh!! I always thought I’d forever have to schlep to Flushing or to Chinatown for these bad boys. The first time I went with 3 other people, so I got to try both pork (pictured above) and crab/pork (pictured below). The pork soup dumplings were decent – these are rarely my preference of the two – with a decent amount of rich broth inside, and skin that wasn’t too thick nor impossibly thin.
My preference is always the crab/pork soup dumplings, and this was no exception. The slight seafood essence that comes through was present here, and again the skin wasn’t too thick nor impossibly thin. I enjoyed these quite a bit, along with a little splash of vinegar.
Next up: beef noodle soup. We all felt the soup lacked an oomph of flavor that we all sought; adding a bit of hot sauce to it helped but mostly the noodles were overcooked sadly and the overall flavor was very muted. Pass on this next time.
Shanghai noodles were also missing some extra flavor – maybe a bit more soy sauce? a little more XO sauce (I use that in my stir fry noodle sauce)? I don’t know, though the noodles were cooked nicely and there were tons of veggies in this dish to make me happy, the flavor just fell very flat. Boo.
Twice cooked pork belly — this dish is meant to be spicy… it wasn’t very spicy though the oil looked spicy! The veggies were cooked nicely and carried a nice bite of heat to them – not overwhelming in the slightest, but spicier than the pieces of pork belly. The pork belly itself was crispy, slightly sweet even, and just perfectly cooked – we didn’t have rice this time, but if I had a big bowl of white rice and this, I would happily scarf it all down with the veggies. YUM!!!
The pork belly overflowed from the bun and was slightly too sweet – the peanuts were too sugary. I think it’s a nice start but not quite the magical pork buns that you may be used to at ramen or other places. I might order these again but I also might look elsewhere for a starter.
Ahhh, one of my favorite dishes is also one whose roots aren’t even actually Chinese as far as I know — sesame noodles. When made properly, there’s no peanut butter in it, though it will still taste nutty… from actual sesame or sesame paste. I use tahini in mine. The perfect plate will have noodles that are slippery but coated with the sauce, enough sauce to cover all the noodles, and a bit of cucumber and cilantro to punctuate bites with a verdant little punch.
While this had a generous scattering of cilantro on top, there was very little or no cucumber. No big deal though – once mixed, the noodles were thoroughly coated in sauce and quite lovely. I was a happy camper with these — they may not replace my favorite place, but they are a lot closer to home and quite good! Oh, also? $3.95.
Next up — umm, yes, I was alone and ordered 4 dishes, 2 of which were noodle dishes — beef pan fried noodles. I liked these — though the sauce was a little extra cornstarchy (read: gloopy), the flavor was nice and there were plenty of vegetables to make me happy.
But I love vegetables, so those who prefer more meat may not be as happy as I was with all the vegetables. I wouldn’t say there wasn’t very much meat, but that’s also not really my focus when I eat these types of dishes, so your mileage may vary.
We paid cash the first time we went, and I didn’t look at the bill. But this time, since it was just me, I handed over my card after examining the check above and snapping a photo. I was surprised to see that I was charged 77c as a service charge, but shrugged it off. I was still planning on tipping, but when the bill came back for me to add a tip and sign, I noticed that they’d added a further charge — the name on it escapes my memory — it was a dollar and some (definitely less than $2) but with the tip I included, it came to roughly $35. I mean — I don’t understand what all these extra fees are, and I was too tired/anxious to leave by this point to sit there and argue or talk to someone about it.
Overall, I can’t imagine this place won’t become my go-to for Chinese food in the area – boasting more cultural-interest than any place in the immediate area and being super close to my apartment, it just makes sense. However, those weird little ‘fees’/’service charges’ really leave ab ad taste in my mouth so I’m not sure how I’ll handle that going forward.The Bund on 67
100-30 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375