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Restaurants & Bars

Lion's Pavilion

Adam Stephanides | Jul 26, 2001 11:25 PM

This is another in my series of long-delayed reports on my trip to New York in May. I didn't do much eating in the outer boroughs this time; my two most significant dining experiences in the boroughs were at Tibetan Yak, which I discussed in another post, and Lion's Pavilion.

My first meal at Lion's Pavilion was excellent. I started off with one of Jim's recommended dishes, the hand shredded chicken with spicy sesame vinaigrette, and it was delicious. My entree was sauteed fresh bullfrog with Asian leek and roasted chili sauce. What the menu description doesn't mention is that the dish contains tons of garlic cloves, although they didn't produce an overpowering flavor of garlic. In retrospect, I'm not at all sure you're supposed to eat them, although I did. In any case, this dish too was delicious. Overall the meal did an excellent job of combining spiciness (but not tongue-numbing heat) and complexity. I would say it's one of the best five or six, at least, Chinese meals I've eaten.

I liked Lion's Pavilion so much a returned later on the same trip for a second meal. As often happens in such cases, the second meal wasn't as good as the first. For appetizer I again had one of Jim's dishes, the sliced scungilli with roasted chili vinaigrette. While I don't remember much about the dish, I wasn't as impressed by it as I had been by the hand shredded chicken of my first visit. My entree was crispy whole fish with pungent chili garlic sauce, something which had looked good when I'd seen it on another table on my first visit. Unfortunately, it didn't taste as good as it looked: despite its name, the sauce wasn't particularly pungent, and the fish was ordinary. Unfortunately, I'd missed the thread on Lion's Pavilion's unevenness, so I didn't note which days I'd gone, and now I don't remember.

I also ate, with three other people, at Mamounia, the Moroccan restaurant in Astoria (25-60 Steinway St., 718-204-1628). The chicken tagine was very good, though the other dishes were ordinary. However, the entrees took forever to arrive. I suspect they were short-handed that night, because the waitress seemed very inexperienced.

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