Had a family dinner tonight in Flushing at Captain King. Or at least it's a joint with the same Chinese name as Captain King in Elmhurst has, although the English words "Captain King" don't appear anywhere. The Chinese name can be roughly translated as North and South, which references the fact that the cuisine served is a mixture of various styles. In any case, the two branches are definitely affiliated since some of the waitstaff has transferred from Elmhurst. It's at 135-25A 40th Rd, around the corner from Special Rice and Fortune Gourmet, so dessert isn't far away. There's no English sign, just Chinese calligraphy in the window, but the menu should be instantly recognizable to those familiar with the other place.
Anyway, we had four dishes (same deal -- $16.95 for 3, $5 extra for the fourth) and chose the whole fish in brown sauce, beef short ribs, sandpot chicken with basil and bitter melon with pork. All in all, a decent meal, not spectacular, but a real bargain. The aroma of the chicken was perfect, but it seemed tough and not quite slow-cooked enough to warrant the presentation in the sandpot. I had hoped that it would be meltingly tender but was disappointed. On the other hand, if they had served it on a regular dish instead of in the sandpot I wouldn't have had preconceived notions. The fish was okay, but not a particularly high quality species -- somewhat reminiscent of bangus without the plethora of bones. The bitter melon with pork was a winner, a real authentic Chinese flavor that might be a bit of a developed taste for some. The short ribs were okay, but again not tender enough. I was hoping that they'd use the Korean trick of marinating short ribs in kiwi juice to tenderize before cooking, but no luck.
Overall, the space is not as comfortable as the Elmhurst location, but does have the added benefit of being really close to the bubble tea mecca of Fortune Gourmet. Their fresh taro bubble tea is awe-inspiringly good, especially when compared with places that use the flavored powders. So when I factor in the dessert points, the Flushing branch comes up a winner. Maybe one of the Elmhurst regulars can give it a try and let us know how it compares?