Hashem Blessed Our Quest
At Cho-Sen Island in Lawrence, NY
It was time for the Chinese Quest to return to their roots. Two of our last three Quests took us to Flushing, NY. We had to find our selves again. Center our being. Get back in to the ‘hood.
We’ve tried a mix of other styles of Chinese food. Cantonese, Szechuan, Singapore style. But, never Kosher Chinese food. There are plenty of Kosher Chinese restaurants in Manhattan. But, our Quest, as yet, isn’t to find the best Chinese restaurant on that little finger of an island that they call Manhattan. Our Quest is to find the best Chinese restaurant on LONG Island.
So, we had to find the most densely populated Jewish area we could possible find. The Five Towns. Destination: Lawrence, NY
And when we got there, we nearly missed it. It sure looked closed and out of business from the outside (see the picture below). But, we’re smart Jews. We’re literate. We know how to read. The sign said “Open for Business”. That must mean that they’re open for business.
So in we went.
For anyone who wants to follow in our footsteps, the restaurant is located at:
367 Central Avenue
Lawrence, NY 11559
And, oh what a schlep it was to get there. Oy vey!
And when we walked in, all I could think of was…
See those chopsticks, they’re hard to find there. But, we asked for them. The number of yarmulkes in the restaurant outnumbered the number of chopsticks by a ratio of 40-5 (or, 8-1 for those of you mathematician who like to bring their fractions to the lowest common denominator (Jews AND Chinese will love that reference!)
The restaurant was packed. And it was a Wednesday night. I can only imagine what the crowd is like on the weekend. Hmm… Shabbos. Perhaps Wednesday IS their busy night of the week. Dunno. Can anyone verify what crowds there are like on a weekend for us please?
There’s a sushi bar in the restaurant. We didn’t order. In fact, the fact that there was a sushi bar nearly disqualified the restaurant. However, we did some research and learned that sushi didn’t come from Japan. It originated in China. (check wikipedia if you don’t believe Mee). So, Cho-Sen Island was back…. and we were there.
The restaurant also has a full bar (though no one was sitting at it, but they do serve a full slate of drinks). The mai tai’s, I must say, were fabulous. Ok, was fabulous. I just had one. Could have had another… but, we did some pre-gaming of another sort prior to walking in (different kind than the kind I referred to in my prior blog entry).
We wanted the full Chinese food experience. An authentic meal. It’s a little hard with the restaurant being Kosher and all. No pork for example. D’oh!
But, what we saw on some other tables made me shake my head. Steak and potatoes. Really? It was seen at quite a few tables. Clearly THAT was NOT for the Mee’s.
So, what did we eat? We ordered:
- Wonton and Subgum Wonton Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Veal Spareribs
- Dragon and Phoenix (tender chunks of prime-rib steak and succulent chicken sauteed & served on a “garden” of choicest Chinese vegetables. perfect for a prince or princess!)
- Double Delight (seafood & veal)
- Shredded Crispy Beef
- Chicken Chow Mein
- Vegetable Fried Rice
Some observations if I may. First it’s Glatt Kosher. Some of the dishes were extremely expensive (yet paradoxically, our bill was way lower than we expected. Mee’s do love getting a bargain. And, good food!)
And the food WAS good. Surprisingly good. A LOT better than some of the other Chinese restaurants we’ve been to.
A few complaints… the sauces tasted exactly the same on a few of our dishes. And, our taste buds detected a lot of sodium.
We left full, bloated in fact (none of us were hungry an hour later… I purposely waited not to post this review for 24 hours just to see when we’d get hungry again). There were left overs as the food was very filling. But, we didn’t fight over who was NOT going to take it. It was taken home gleefully.
With happy tummy’s, we each rated our Cho-Sen Island experience. And here are our ratings:
The meal was capped off with a desert platter of oranges (yummy), honeydew (ok), and of course, fortune cookies.
Our Fortune Cookies:
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it
Life is a flower of which love is the honey
Put the data you have uncovered to beneficial use
The one recognize the illusion, does not act as if it is real
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)
Summary : Excellent article!
30 years ago (more or less) we had a store on Central Ave., not far from where Cho-Sen Island are located. The majority of the population in the 5 towns was not all orthodox then, and you would find many high-end stores and restaurants. Wednesday nights, the stores stayed open until 9PM, and it was the busiest night of the week. People would be strolling up and down Central Ave. Most business and restaurants have changed since, to accommodate the changed local community who grew more orthodox. I remember there was a Chinese restaurant around that was very very good. The reason I remember it so vividly is because it was the first time I ever had Chinese food, and I always ordered the Shredded beef. I can’t tell you if is in the same location as this one and they since changed owners, or its a different one all together. but I DO remember the food was very good and I couldn’t quite enjoy Chinese food after that. The picture you took of that dish – is exactly what I remember having, and reading your review brought back up a lot of memories for me… As for the steaks and sushi they are offering, knowing the area, the restaurants must do that to survive. there aren’t many glatt kosher restaurants and the more variety they offer, the more patrons they attract. They really have to do that to survive – and stay profitable. As you said – it is a hike and not many “outsiders” will make the trip to eat there. Perhaps that will change now after more of us read your review. I am for one willing to travel from where I am (about an hour drive) to eat that dish again. So… Thank You for that!!
…. And one last thing .. I love their logo