Thursday, March 1, 2012

Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant

Yes, that's right, Asian Jewels is the name of the restaurant, insert joke here. I'm not sure why anyone would want to name their restaurant that. I guess in hindsight, they probably think it's a bad idea now.

All jokes aside, this restaurant is a great dim sum place to go to when you're in Flushing, Queens only because it has a wide variety of dim sum to choose from. Aside from the usual shiu mai (pork dumplings) and ha gao (shrimp dumplings), they also have curry fish balls, crab meat and snow peas dumpling, and my favorite, bacon wrapped shrimp dumplings.

For dessert, the sweet egg custard bun is always good. The bun is warm and fresh and when you bite into it, the warm, sweet custard starts oozing out. Once in a while, I'll also order the mango pudding. I like the way it's made here because it actually has bits of mango pieces in the pudding, not all dim sum places make it that way.

The prices here are reasonable, it's $1.95 (small), $2.95 (medium) and $3.95 (large). If you order a special dish such as spare ribs or clams in black bean sauce, the price range is $6.25 to $8.50 for each dish.

If you come during the weekends, be prepared to wait 30 to 45 minutes for a table. As soon as you go in, be sure to get a number from the seating hostess. There will be times when you will even share a table with a bunch of strangers if you come with a small group. It may be awkward but it works if you're there to just eat and go and don't want to wait. If you only have time during the weekend, it's best to go around 11am when there's less people.

The decor is very modern and the restaurant is spacious and like any other restaurants in Flushing, the service is usually poor but fast.

What's great about this place is that it offers parking. That's a huge plus especially if you're driving into Flushing during the weekends. Just remember to get your card stamped to validate your meal. Although they advertise that it's "free" parking, be sure to have some singles ready because if you want your keys back, they will be expecting a tip.

Bottom Line:

Recommended: Yes

Price: Cheap $15-$25

Service: Poor

Website: None

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Salt & Fat

This cozy little restaurant in Sunnyside sure lives up to its name. From the moment you sit down, they immediately start you off with complimentary popcorn drizzled in bacon fat. It smells delicious and is terribly addictive. Salty and fatty indeed! You can go through three bags of them while sipping on some wine and chatting with friends without even realizing it. How can anything go wrong with bacon in it? But fear not, because not all of the items on the menu are as greasy and fatty as one might think.

The Korean BBQ lettuce wraps is a great dish to start off with. For the sauce, they used pickled dikon and miso and it goes very well with the grilled steak. It's sweet, light and savory. The fried chicken was really good too. It wasn't too greasy and the meat was tender and juicy. The other dish I got was the striped bass. I loved the plum sake soy sauce they used. Striped bass usually has a mild, sweet taste so the tangy, sweet plum sauce compliments the bass very well. For dessert I ordered was the rice krispy and marshmallow ice cream. It certainly beings back memories of my childhood.

Many dishes on the menu are served tapas style and meant to be shared. So if you go with a couple of friends, be prepared to order a lot of dishes because the portion is rather small. They update their menu every once in a while so they may not have the same dishes you ordered from before. I was looking forward to getting the crack and cheese, which is a spin on the traditional mac and cheese but it wasn't on the menu anymore.

Their dishes are definitely not boring. The combination of the different ingredients they used is truly creative, exciting and fresh and the results are delightfully good. They are not afraid to take risks and it really pays off because it brings life to the traditional dishes we are used to having.

The atmosphere was warm, cozy and inviting. Our server was attentive and really took the time to explain some of the dishes on the menu for us. One minor inconvenience is that they don't accept American Express. So remember to bring your Visa card, don't leave home without it.

Parking is relatively easy to find. There is street parking on Queens boulevard and metered parking under the overpass on Queens boulevard. The 7 train can also take you there and you can get off at 40th street.

Bottom Line:

Recommended: Yes

Price: Reasonable $25-$50

Service: Excellent