We have been enjoying the Chowhound forum for the past two years and would like to thank all the forum posters for the many suggestions on interesting restaurants that we would not have found on our own. One suggestion we followed up on was Difaras. Have enjoyed going to Difaras on a number of occasions. There were times when Difaras had off days, but on the whole, the pizzas are very good, especially the artichoke pizza. Finally, we thought we might share an interesting restaurant suggestion of our own with the forum.
For those people interested in a poor mans Peking Duck, there is a little restaurant in Flushing Chinatown which has opened for about 1-2 years (at 133-54 41st Ave, Tel: 718-888-0589/888-0590, across the street from the LIRR parking area and on the same block as Starbucks) that is offering for a short time a special price of $15.95 for a Peking Duck dish. We call it a poor mans Peking Duck not only due to the price (normally $33 to $36), but it appears that the restaurant is cutting some corners by not following all the steps in preparing a Peking Duck. The duck is a little smaller than the normal Peking Duck, the skin is not as tasty as a full price Peking Duck at other restaurants, and it doesnt appear that air was blown into the duck to separate the skin from body. However, even with these shortcuts, there is definite value at $15.95 for a Peking Duck dish. The Peking Duck dish is certainly not as good as at the full price restaurants, but would be considered a best buy (credit to Consumers Union for use of their term) for the value.
The dish consists of a whole duck being brought out and shown to your table before being sliced at a side table. The waiter will slice small portions of the skin with some of the meat onto a large plate. Accompanying the dish will be a small plate of coarse cut cucumber sticks and scallions along with a sweet plum sauce. The Peking Duck order comes with the smaller Cantonese pancakes (less dense than the normal larger northern style pancakes) and another sauté dish consisting of boneless duck meat from the duck with scallions and green peppers. A duck soup made from the duck carcass can also be ordered for an additional $5.00. The duck soup is served clear with the duck carcass/vegetables served on the side. The soup is acceptable but lacks the rich milky duck flavor in the best Peking Duck soups. A whole Peking Duck with the extra duck meat dish and possibly one additional dish should be sufficient for a party of 3 (roughly 8 filled pancakes; when we were there several weeks ago with a party of 3, they gave only 6 pancakes to us and charged an additional $1.00 for two more pancakes; the second time we went with a party of 4, we asked for and were given 8 pancakes without additional charge). We have sampled two other dishes, asparagus with beef, which was OK, but very salty, and a Chinese vegetable dish, which was good.
There is also a lunch special that we have not tried yet, but is meant for 2, 4, and 6 people (between 11 AM 4 PM). The special consists of one-half Peking Duck, a duck meat dish, and a steamed fish dish for 2 people at $16.95. For 4 people at $25.95, just add a Peking Spare Rib dish. For 6 people at $36.95, add an additional casserole dish and a full Peking Duck rather than one-half duck.
Also according to the Chinese ad, during both lunch and dinner, each table can order one of the three special priced dishes: (a) salted veg with chicken at $6.95, (b) Steak dish at $10.95, (c) Flounder cubes with veg at $14.95. We have not tried these dishes, however.
For those who might have an interest in trying the poor mans Peking Duck dish, we would recommend that you call first, since it is unclear how long the restaurant will honor these special prices. The Chinese ad was from early this past week.