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A Tale of Two Tangra Masalas

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A Tale of Two Tangra Masalas

Bud | Mar 11, 2004 12:56 PM

After the glowing review in last Friday's Newsday four of us went to Royal Tangra Masala in New Hyde Park on Saturday. The timing was bad.We had reservations for 7:00 and were taken promptly amid a hungry crowd of onlookers. The restaurant appeared unprepared for the crowd; only two waiters appeared to be serving each of the two dining rooms with about ten tables apiece Our order was taken within a reasonable time, but the wait for food was interminable. At one point, I walked through the room and counted five dishes of food in the entire room. We were served soups after a half hour. We ordered: shrimp hot and sour, chicken hot and sour and two others which I didn't note. They were good and spicy, but the portions were sparse for small bowls and at $3.50, a bit overpriced imho. The main courses arrived after an hour. I was disturbed at the wait, but my compatriots were chatting away unnerved . I decided to use a trick I have previously used and place my head on my hands on the table as though I were about to sleep. The food arrived instantaneously. I can't attribute it to my action because it came as I was proceeding to place my head down.
The waiter was apologetic, understandably so. We had the salt and pepper shrimp, chicken with ginger and scallions, steamed vegetables with spicy side sauce, and a chicken lomein dish. All were good, cheap, in the $8.00 range, and on the small side. In all, the restaurant , again, imho, is worthy of another visit at a less chaotic time.
Yesterday, Wednesday, my wife and I went to the original Tangra , on Queens Blvd. Of note, the plates and napkins were common to both restaurants. Strange, when, previous posters have indicated they were unrelated. When one normally enters a restaurant and sees help cutting vegetables at a table, they are generally beans of one sort or another; here, they were dicing chiles. It should have been a warning that heat was a specialty. With only one companion, this time, we ordered similar dishes but instead of four courses, we ordered two. i.e.the same hot and sour soups , one with shrimp, the other, chicken. The waiter asked what degree of heat we desired and we said, medium. The soups were both hot, but great. At $2.50 a bowl, they were a genuine bargain and the bowl was filled unlike the New Hyde Park restaurant. The salt and pepper shrimp, perhaps, a few bucks more than the other restaurant contained larger, but fewer shrimp, but was the better of the two for the variety of seasonings and overall taste of this dish. It, too, was hot for my sophisticated suburban taste. The second dish of chicken with ginger and scallions was acceptable. It, too, was hot and its brown sauce was reminiscent of the casseroles served in Flushing restaurants. The major Indian influence in this restaurant is the inclusion of delicious dish of kulfi as a welcome dessert and respite to the heat of the foods. One final note to Chowhound purists is that I am posting a Nassau,(New Hyde Park) restaurant on the Outerborough section, but lacking the computer sophistication of how to duplicate this post without recopying it, I have no choice but to choose one area or the other. If I have offended anyone, forgive me.

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