I had a group dinner with fifteen people at Spicy & Tasty last week in Flushing. They gave us a nice table on the top floor with a lovely view overlooking Prince Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Then when we had more people than expected they very kindly set us a new table in the other upstairs room. The service was pretty congenial as well.
Here was the menu:
Cold Dishes - These were definitely the high light of the evening. The clams were my absolute favorite, and not like anything I have every had before. Would return just for these. The tendon as advertised was a standout, but I think the tripe plate was even better. To be fair that is one of my favorites. There was a perfect balance of spice, saltiness, and Szechuan Peppercorn. I also really enjoyed the bamboo shoot dish. It is simple, but simply delicious. The conch was highly billed, but, although I liked it, it was not a stand out. I found it kind of one note in flavor and texture.
Surf Clams with Wasabi and Iceberg Lettuce -
Spicy Beef Tendon with Chili Oil
Beef and Beef Tripe with Chili Oil
Pressed Tofu with Celery
Spicy Bamboo Shoots
Sliced Conch in Red Chili Oil
The noodles were generally very good. Nothing was spicy though. The Chengdu jelly was a tad maybe. It had a ton of garlic which I know people know, but was a lot for me. That said, I would recommend the dish. The Zha Jiang Mian was a real stand out. Everyone mentioned it. I have a lot of trouble getting this dish well prepared, but here it wasn't just SALTY. I love salt, but there needs to be that bean sauce nuttiness as well. i used to get it great, oddly in my home town, and no one really measures up. This one was pretty close. My favorite in the city. I thought the Dan Dan Noodles were quite good too. Zero spice though. Still the dish struck a nice balance of peppercorn, salt, and the sesame nuttiness. The Wontons were not a stand out. Hot Kitchen across the street has much better ones in my opinion. I found the filling a little small, and the wrappers a tad too soft for me taste.
Cold Jelly Chengdu Style
Dan Dan Noodles
Wontons in Spicy Chili Oil
Zha Jiang Mian
So a lot of the entree tasty. I liked the fish, the restaurant recommended it. It was a whole fish, and the tofu and red bean sauce were a delicious combination over rice. ZERO SPICE. For people who like a Szechuan Peppercorn BOMB the shredded beef is your score. The Smoked Tea Duck was another favorite. People recommended the Three Cup Chicken and it was also quite good. I liked that they served the shrimp over snow pea greens. A nice touch. The Ma Po Tofu was not as good as I had hoped. Honestly I have had much better at Fu Run. We did really enjoy the Twice Cooked Pork. It had a nice bean sauce funk to it. The pork tasted fresh, and the leeks themselves were deliciously cooked. They have a deft hand with vegetables.
Twice Cooked Pork
Smoked Pork with Leeks
Shredded Dry Beef with Spicy Sauce
Tilapia with Home Made Bean Paste
Shrimp with Black Bean Sauce
Smoked Tea Duck
Ma Po Tofu
Three Cup Chicken
They killed the vegetables here. THE BEST snow pea greens I think I have ever had. Anywhere. I have had a lot of snow pea greens. They were so tender and seasoned perfectly. The string beans, which I assumed would have meat, were billed as meatless. I think they used black beans instead. It gave them a nice briny kick. Also there were not too oil. They were delicious. The rice was also quite good. It seems like there will be too much scallion, but there is not. It has a nice mellow scallion flavor.
Veg and Rice
Snow Pea Greens with Garlic
Dry Sautéed Green Beans
Scallion and Egg Fried Rice
So we enjoyed the food, but there was one major issue. It was quite tasty, but basically NOTHING was spicy. They let me taste the beef jerky on the cold table warning me it was SUPER spicy. That was by far my spiciest bite of the evening. Generally the cold table dishes were a little hotter, but they are already prepared. I have this problem a lot specially in Chinese restaurants. . I will ask for SPICY food, but I don't get spicy food. As a white guy, with a large group of white folks, they are worried I won't really like it. I get it, but it can be quite challenging. When I went to Hunan Kitchen I told them I wanted it spicy. Nothing was particularly hot. I took food to go, and side I wanted it REALLY spicy. They had a look of really getting what I wanted. Same spice level on the to go food Spicy & Tasty was good, but I was a tad disappointed. We went there specifically to have spicy food. To be fair there may have been some confusion as a few guests did want non-spicy food so I asked for a recommendation for a mild shrimp dish. Maybe that muddied the waters.
Anyway it is a good place, and with A LOT of beer it was about 40 dollars a person. To be fair I found the quality of the ingredients were at a high standard and the cooking was well prepared. NOTHING was oily. Which is very refreshing. I will return for the Arctic Surf Clams, the Zha Jiang Mian, and the Snow Pea Leaves with garlic.