Ignoring the warnings of a Flushing food buddy that ingredient quality and preparation had taken a nosedive, I recently revisited the ungainly named but formerly reliable downtown Flushing standby, Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan (HKGS), with a small group of repeat visitors for a late-night meal. Although I have at least 10 HKGS sojourns under my belt, it was my first since 2014, and I was shocked by how far it had fallen.
I recently lunched at Buttumak (부뚜막), a Northern Blvd spot in the Murray Hill section of Flushing that has replaced the same owner’s late, unlamented, strangely named Korean-Chinese restaurant, 짜장.com. Not that there was anything particularly bad about 짜장.com – they produced fine renditions of Korean Chinese standards (what Koreans call Chinese food) – but Buttumak has so much more going for it.
During a Labor Day Weekend visit to a favorite restaurant, Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao, I noticed a new spot down the street with the moniker Nan Yang Kitchen — the Chinese name 南洋餐廳 means Southeast Asian Kitchen — and a quick menu perusal turned up mainly Malaysian dishes. I’m looking forward to checking it out — hopefully this spot will raise the level of Malaysian food in New York City.
Sunset Park’s Yun Nan Flavour Garden is one of my go-to spots for affordable, high quality, flavorful Chinese food, so I was excited when a review of an unknown-to-me Yunnan restaurant, Deng Ji Noodle House (云南过桥米线), popped up in a Flushing blog a few months back, especially since there are very few places showcasing that region’s food in the New York City area.