As a Manhattan dweller, I keep hoping to find great, cheap ethnic joints a bit closer to home than, say, Flushing. Instead, I find outrageously good food even farther away. This evening I tasted the most delicious Pakistani I have tried in the course of my wanderings so far in the Glen Oaks/Bellerose/Floral Park section of Queens, a few blocks before it turns into Nassau County, at Fiza Diner.
It's little more than a hole-in-the-wall, and it's definitely no-frills (of the Dera variety): the prepared dishes are on display at the counter, and kebabs are grilled to order in the back. But Michael, Elizabeth and I all literally moaned with pleasure when we tried the chicken tikka kebab--tender, juicy, and expertly spiced. Apparently, we were all in the mood for chicken... in addition to the kebab, we ordered chicken tikka masala (perhaps the most delicious I've had anywhere), chicken korma (korma with a kick--fantastic), and chilli chicken (all those peppers looked more intimidating than they actually were--sweet and delicious), and even a chicken roll as an appetizer (rather like a deep-fried, Indian-spiced spring roll filled with ground chicken--quite tasty). A couple of vegetables did make their way to the table, too: a good chana masala (chickpeas) and Elizabeth assured me--because I DETEST okra--that the bhindi masala was delicious. Purely in the interest of research, of course, we felt compelled to try three of the breads, all of which were fantastic: garlic naan (best I've ever tried), onion naan, and keema naan.
As if the great food weren't enough to make one very happy, it's unbelievably cheap, too. I'll be back, especially since I'm a big fan of bhatura bread (one doesn't find that everywhere) and didn't notice it on the menu until after we had already ridiculously over-ordered!
A second trip with Jose and Jennifer yielded a couple of things (besides a great meal): the information that they only serve bhatura bread for breakfast (dashing any hopes I had of ever trying it), and.... pictures!
Top left to right: salad/garnish, rice, and chicken tikka masala (which identically reproduced the "moan effect" from the first visit--EVERY time any of us took a bite of it), with a spicy lentil dal just below it. Bottom left to right: chicken tikka kebab, naan, and spinach with potatoes.
Naan, dal, and aloo sag (spinach with potatoes):
Kebabs--the stupendous chicken tikka, and the delightful new discovery, chapli (spiced ground meat):
Keema naan and garlic naan:
259-07 Hillside Ave., Floral Park 11004
(F train to 179th St., then the Q43 bus out Hillside Ave.)