A Different Perspective on Moonstone
A View from Inside The Chinese Quest!
There’s very little that’s better than going to a good Chinese restaurant, try a bunch of different dishes, laugh a lot, and eat some delicious food. While the recently opened Moonstone (located on Northern Blvd in Great Neck on the site of the former Harvest Buffet) is certainly a huge upgrade from the previous inhabitant, in terms of food, service, appearance, etc., I would describe it more good than great, and more tasty than delicious! Now combine this with my first time meeting the Mee’s of The Chinese Quest, and you realize it’s going to be a unique experience.
Having never met any of the members of The Chinese Quest personally, I really had no idea what to expect. What was their motivation, and why is it a QUEST? I am probably as big a Chinese food fan (or fanatic) as most, but I don’t generally consider it a quest! I can report candidly that these guys NOT only love this food, but are really into it. I did think it was fine to take pictures of the food (after all it was for a website, but perhaps it might be a little odd that they also take pictures of the bathrooms). But what do I know? These guys take this seriously – they take notes, ask questions, try a variety of dishes, and discuss it critically and vehemently. But they are really nice people, and a lot of laughs!!
NOW Back to my review of the restaurant: As soon as you enter Moonstone, you realize that the new owner obviously is going after a more upscale clientele. A couple of the Mee’s commented that Pearl East (located just a few miles further east on 25A) had better beware, because this restaurant seems to certainly be going after that market. While the footprint on the inside of this restaurant remained the same, very little else has. It is completely and tastefully adorned and decorated, and can be described as Lovely and Classy.
We enjoyed several dishes, including pork, beef, chicken, fish, and shrimp. My personal favorite and what I believe should be, if it is not, their Signature Dish, was their Beijing Duck. This comes available either as a full ($40) or half duck ($20), and the full includes a dozen delicious wraps. Remember to order this as soon as you sit down, because it is prepared to order, and the menu requests 30 minutes to prepare (although ours came out much quicker than that). Much attention is paid to both the ambiance of this establishment, as well as the presentation, and in this regard, everything was first – rate. While each dish was tasty, the portions are not that large, so prepare and order accordingly. The Shrimps in Black Bean sauce was superb (although slightly soggy), but the beef and pork dishes had more vegetables than protein, and appeared to have too much salt. All the sauces were tasty, and I would say that overall they have already surpassed Pearl East, but after going here, I would still have to continue searching for Long Island’s greatest Chinese Food. Caveat – I also do not believe that Pearl East should be considered that great if only the food and value were considered.
If you seek ambiance, atmosphere, décor, and attentive service, you’ll like this restaurant. If food quality and value are your guidelines, then it’s good but not great! How would I rate this place on a 0-5 basis (5 being highest)? Décor: 4.3; Atmosphere: 4.2; Service: 4.2; Food presentation: 4.2; Food quality/ taste: 3.8; Pricing/ value: 3.5. Overall quite nice, but not great (at least yet). (Note: For a limited time, they are running 20% Off Coupons in Newsday and elsewhere, which helps to address the value issue).
By the way, Mee Har Vee brought along a generous wine supplier, and so, perhaps some of the other reviews you read might be slightly skewed by the fact that 5 Bottles were consumed by the 8 people (and I’m a rather small Wine consumer).
My recommendation is to go and try this place, especially while you can still use the 20% Off coupon. I’m going to give it another shot, and plan to bring Mee Pee Wee C back with me, so I can get another perspective. Maybe, I’ll do a follow up after that!
Of course, that’s just according to Mee!! So try it out for yourself and see what you think. Chinese food preferences are certainly personal in nature!!
–Mee Rich Yee nee Richard Brody