Recently returned from our annual trip to Middle Village/Rego Park (visisting my parents in the home I grew up in). DH & I went to several restaurants/food establishments while we were there. Here's a report:
1. Bagelette---still excellent "real" NY water bagels---at least the "mini" bagels are. Last year we got the regular sized bagels and were disappointed that they were "squishy". The minis are tough and chewy with a SLIGHT sweetness. Had these for breakfast most days, and brought home (to Peoria, IL!) 2 dozen. They're in the freezer and will be carefully rationed out.
2. Ben's Best---we did not eat here, but did get a 1/4 lb. of pastrami to go which we had the next day. Heated up we had it on some rye bread we got at one of the Polish delis on 63rd Dive along with the mustard the guy a Ben's insisted we take. Very tasty. Next time, we'll have them make the sandwich and eat there.
3. Sushi 33---I'm no sushi expert, but everyone was very pleased with the delivery we got from this place. Delivery---even in the pouring rain---was quick and everything was EXACTLY as we requested it (for example, we asked that the hot and cold items be packaged in separate bags---they arrived that way). Mom and DH enjoyed the Dragon Roll (with eel). DH is also extemely fond of their white tuna. Dad and brother shared the "crispy chicken" which wasn't crispy, but was tasty. California rolls are good, but the best bet is the shumai---light as air and full of delicious shrimp.
4. Tangra Wok. Been dreaming about this place for the last year! They now have a daily lunch buffet, which we looked forward to trying. However, on the Saturday we visited, it was not set up---apparently the staff showed up late. Anyway, we decied to stick to just appetizers since it was just the two of us and we wanted to try as many things as possible. We had the Gobi Manchurian (EXCELLENT!), Lollipop Chicken (tasty sauce, but neither of us is a "chicken on the bone" afficianado), vegetable spring rolls (crispy, not greasy, full of flavorful veggies, and served with a tasty chili sauce), and black pepper shrimp which was spicy and delicious. All came with fresh white basmati rice. Great meal.
5. Istanbul. I'd never eaten here before, although I'd heard good things about it. We went for lunch and were surprised at how comfortable and welcoming the dining area was---it looks like a "dive" from the street! It took us a LONG time to choose from the extensive menu---EVERYTHING sounded great! Finally settled on the (small) appetizer assortment and the gyro yogurt kabab. WOW! The appetizer plate came out first with two thick, chewy pita breads. The plate was heaped with hummus (good), tzatziki (excellent), baba ganoush (great), Russian salad (strange), a spicy salad I forget the name of (ezme?) that was AWESOME, a white bean salad (delicious), eggplant salad (good), and an eggplant spread that just be the most delicious thing I've ever tasted! All went well with the tasty bread.
Then came the gyro yogurt kabab. Delicious chunks of spiced lamb were served over hot yogurt mixed with chunks of the delicious bread. There were hot peppers and tomatoes served with it. Very, very good. Huge amount---we brought home about half of it to have the next day. We'll be back!
Can't wait till next year when we get to go to these places again!