There have been many reports of this restaurant (see this, for starters)
But last night, our group of 10 enthusiastic diners tried a few dishes that were new to us. Although they may not be new to others, here is a (very) brief report of a fabulous meal:
On previous occasions, our large group has been seated in the private room behind a door visible in the main room. Although we were offered this room, we declined, as we had found it both crammed and cut off from the main action in the dining room. We want to see the dishes that neighboring tables are enjoying--how else to discover new "finds?"
Our first waitress spoke no English but she summoned her "boss," Kary, who took good care of our table of novices.
This is what we shared:
MUSHROOM WITH CUCUMBER. At first glance, this looked like a heaping tangle of shredded cucumbers and thin wheat noodles. The "noodles," though, are actually mushrooms (needle mushrooms,or enoki). Light, tasty, wonderful. No spice. A good, bracing opener.
CELERY WITH DRIED BEAN CURD. An old favorite. Shreds of bean curd that were wider than at Spicy and Tasty. While this dish was not quite as fabulous at the rendition at S&T, it was excellent, and well received at our table.
SCALLION PANCAKE. The dud of the night. Too thick and doughy. Little flavor of scallions and, in fact, the ratio of flour to scallions was too high. On the plus side, it was not greasy.
CLAM WITH GINGER AND SCALLION (this, and the following dish, are not listed under "appetizers" on the menu, but they were a good choice for the opening round): The clams were a knockout. Very small, reminded me of the vongole vercaci in Italy. To say that this dish was tasty would be a huge understatement. A mess of garlicky,, gingery goodness. I could not get enough of these! One order, with a plain noodle, would make a wonderful lunch. Essential.
DRIED TOFU WITH FRESH HOT PEPPER. A knockout. The texture of the bean sheets, tossed with the sometimes spicy and sometimes not, slices of green pepper, make for a compelling signature dish. Also essential.
Following the suggestion of Kary, we ordered two portions of another signature dish, MUSLIM LAMB CHOPS. This is a "Drop what you are doing right now and make haste to Fu Run!" dish.
The racks of lamb, smothered in a medley of dry spices which included but was not limited to cumin and (I think) caraway, is marinated for several days and then roasted in the oven. At least this is how I understood the description of the preparation process. Two orders was just about sufficient for 10 not-so-ravenous diners, along with other dishes. A very hungry diner could demolish one order by his or her self. The combination of fat, crisp skin, luscious falling-off-the-bone meat, and the crust of spices left me speechless.
We rounded off the meal with:
SQUID ON A SIZZLING PLATTER. The platter came to the table with sizzling sound effects and covered in a paper towel which we were instructed to leave on the plate for a few minutes until the sizzle died down. I thought the squid was a bit tough. Good, not essential.
WATERCRESS WITH GARLIC. Good. Very garlicky.
EGGPLANT IN GARLIC SAUCE. Chunks of peeled eggplant in another magical combo of textures and flavors--sour, salty, sweet, spicy...downright fabulous! Essential.
KUNG PAO CHICKEN. I did not taste but those who did were very pleased.
This will not be our last dinner at Fu Run. With beers, the bill totalled $19 per person before tip.
40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354