Thursday, January 14, 2010

Find your reward at Spicy & Tasty

Hong Kong Palace/成都小館

If you have to go through the ordeal of driving someone to John F. Kennedy International Airport --  incredibly congested roads, bumper-to-bumper traffic, aggressive truck drivers -- you can reward yourself on the way home with a visit to Spicy & Tasty, a Szechuan restaurant in the Flushing section of Queens.

That's what I did today after dropping my wife at the airport, which seemed to be slumbering, at least from my curbside view in front of the terminal. But I arrived a half-hour before the restaurant's noon opening, and had to visit an ATM machine in the hotel around the corner (Spicy & Tasty doesn't take credit card).

When you arrive in Flushing, you're immediately transported to Hong Kong -- another great place to eat -- by the Chinese lettering on the buildings, the bustling streets and the many Asians on foot and in cars.

I was there for takeout, something for lunch and dinner at home. I ordered one of the cold appetizers displayed in a glass case at the front of the restaurant: shredded bamboo in chili oil ($6.50). My entrees were bean curd with spicy minced pork ($7.95) and fish fillet in fresh hot pepper ($14.95), which is made with cabbage, and I also asked for broccoli with fresh garlic (also $7.95) after I was told the kitchen didn't have Chinese watercress.

The drive home was trouble-free, and I put some of the still-warm white rice in a bowl and topped it with the hot, cubed tofu, which was swimming in a reddish sauce. This is one restaurant that heeds your request for "very spicy." I ate the bean curd and rice with a spoon and found it comforting. It made my lips tingle.

Spicy & Tasty, 39-07 Prince Street (1H), Flushing, New York; 
718-359-1601; open seven days, cash only.
Municipal parking lot is at Prince and 39th streets.

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  1. I chuckled to read that you, too, have to beg the chefs to keep those dishes authentically spicy! That beancurd is one of my favorite dishes ever (was it MaPo To Fu?) Maybe you can help me here, I'm scouting northern NJ for excellent Chinese restaurants.. let me know if you have suggestions please. I have checked out a few in and around Montclair and haven't been moved. Thanks!

  2. My understanding of ma po tofu is that it is vegetarian. This one had minced pork in it. I just finished it for breakfast.

  3. I recommend Lotus Cafe in Hackensack, especially for its multi-course meals for four or more people, which can be ordered for lunch and dinner.


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