Josh | Jul 27, 199812:33 PM    

Eric Asimov scores again! Shanghai Tang, which he
reviewed in his under $25 column a couple weeks ago, is
just splendid.

Finding it was something of a challenge: 40th Rd.
exists in at least three disconnected one-block
segments in various places across Queens, mostly where
there is a bit of street just osuth of Roosevelt Avenue
that needed a name. The correct segment can only be
reached by car from Roosevelt Ave. Head east, and
turn right one block past College Point Ave. The other
end of 40th Rd is at Main St. Jim, as soon as found
the place, we thought of you: Directly across the
street were THREE Malaysian restaurants. That's three
more than I've ever seen before.

Once you get there, order with gleeful abandon:
Everything we had was wonderful. Eric's
recommendations seem solid (a sentiment supported by
the two or three other tables occupied by Caucasians
armed with copies of Eric's review; 90% of the
clientele was Chinese). Lion's heads were just
wonderful -- large, tender pork meatballs with ginger
and a lovely brown sauce, served last night over
sauteed hollowcress. Cold smoked fish was delightful
as a starter; it's really fish in a sauce of carmelized
sugar and star anise. The soup dumplings are better
than I've ever had, including Joe's Shanghai, Chinatown
branch. A dish called "Black Mushrooms with Chinese
vegetable" turned out to be a plate of beautiful baby
bok choy with succulent whole mushroom caps. Slice
fish in wine sauce was slightly glutinous and very
salty, but a pleasant ending to the meal.

The staff was friendly and helpful, very eager to see
that we were happy. They brought the dishes in
precisely the right order: smoked fish immediately as
we finished reading the menu, hot appetizers after we
ordered, then the vegetable dish, the lion's head, and
the fish.

Every table in the restaurant had a dish or three that
I wanted to ask about and try, and that doesn't count
the absolutely fascinating array of live sea creatures
available in tanks as you walk it. I'm not sure if
those were two kinds of eels, or eels and some kind of
sea snake.

Dinner for three, with beer, was about $52.

Shanghai Tang is at 135-20 40th Rd., near Main St.,
Flushing. 718-661-4234.

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