There has been some internet buzz of late among Chinese food aficionados about a new Dongbei-style restaurant in Flushing that sounded like just my kind of place. A couple of evenings ago, I was able to gather the faithful--Jose and Jennifer--and give it a try. I'm happy to report my instincts were correct... Northeast Taste Chinese Food is my kind of place!
Upon being seated, we were brought a complimentary plate of pickled cabbage that looked and tasted very much like a slightly sweet kimchi. Not surprising, since the area is literally just above Korea: Dongbei apparently refers to the three northeastern provinces of China--Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. I felt compelled to order many of the dishes I had already read about, and they all lived up their hype. The "stupid chicken" was a hearty stew of pieces of what must be a freshly-killed free-range chicken (it certainly didn't taste like any chicken I've bought at the grocery store lately) with wild brown mushrooms and mung bean noodles in a broth seasoned with star anise. A lovely winter dish. Boiled dumplings filled with pork and sour cabbage were spectacular, and a huge hit with our trio. The fresh leek and pork pastry was delightful--hearty and delicate at the same time. "Stuffed minced mutton in fish" is a slightly misleading name for the dish that arrives at ones table: a whole fried fish, covered in a light brown sauce with chunks of mutton. I'm a big fan of fish preparations with meat (okay, I'm a big fan of almost anything prepared with meat!), but I have to say that tasty is it was, it's no match for Little Pepper's fish with spicy minced pork. Similarly, I would probably change the name of "sauteed pine nuts with corn" to "sauteed corn with pine nuts". Still, the dish was a delicious contrast to all the meat and fish.
But the most astonishing dish--and that is not too strong a word--was the "sauteed egg with egg". Egg is cooked slowly, while being stirred constantly, until thick--almost solid, but very creamy. The mound of egg presented on the platter retains the shape of the bottom of the wok, and is topped with a light brown sauce with shrimp. It is ambrosia.
Northeast Taste Chinese Food
43-18 Main St., Flushing 11355
(7 train to Main St.-Flushing, then 9 blocks south on Main St.)