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The Chinese Quest officially kicked off the new year (both Gregorian and Lunar) by visiting a veritable Gold Coast shrine to Chinese food, “Hunan Taste” in Greenvale, New York. Regionally one of the most popular Chinese restaurants around, Hunan Taste competes for the title with Pearl East in Manhasset and Moonstone in Great Neck. An early weekday evening did not deter Hunan Taste from attracting a full house of diners. Alas, nary an Asian patron was to be found. Hunan Taste is a mecca for the well heeled creme de la creme of the North Shore. Dare I say, Jews? It did seem they were well represented this evening. One would think that that would automatically give Hunan Taste top scores in Jew Appeal, wouldn’t it? A discerning eye would look at all factors, however, before casting that vote in stone.
Hunan Taste is located at 3 Northern Blvd., Greenvale, NY 11548. Valet Parking is available seven days a week. You can tell by the line of cars waiting to enter the lot that it’s either an accident waiting to happen, or a very popular Chinese restaurant. Technically, I would say it’s both!
We came this evening shortly after the beginning of the Chinese, or Lunar, New Year. Expecting to be offered a traditional Chinese New Year’s dinner, we were saddened to learn that none was offered. We asked our waiter (by the way, the waitstaff is EXTREMELY eager to please and are very attentive) to bring us some traditional dishes that are served on Chinese New Year’s.
One of those, of course, is Dumplings. The dumplings we were served were in a Peanut Sauce. We had never had such a dish. Sadly, Mee Gonzi Biao, though not allergic to peanuts, will not eat peanuts. That was more for the rest of us then. Then came our staple dish, Spareribs. Perhaps we were served two portions. Let’s hope that the price reflected two portions and not just one! At first bite, I found the ribs to be bland and just ordinary. But, I must say that they grew on me, and I ate quite a few. I would have had more, but there was more food to be eaten and I didn’t want to get full just yet!
We were then on to the main courses:
Peking Duck – Prepared in the bun, not the soft doughy bao’s traditionally served, but more like pancake type soft taco buns, table side. We watched as the server meticulously prepared the buns with scallion and hoisin sauce. I thought the duck was quite good. I only eat the duck in the bao’s, err buns, and didn’t touch the rest of the duck that was served. Typically I find it too fatty for my delicate stomach.
Lobster and Shrimp served in Ginger and Scallion Sauce – Real lobster here. Never fresh nor imitation. The lobster was already shelled. Though not a large amount, the lobster meat was good, and the shrimp, large and succulent. I enjoyed this dish (heck, I better have enjoyed all these dishes for the price we paid! Did I mention that there were a LOT of factors determining “Jew Appeal”?)
Lo Mein with Pork – Long Noodles. Another traditional Chinese New Year’s dish. The long noodles (don’t cut them, lest you bring yourself bad luck!) represent long life. These were quite good, and light. I could have eaten them forever (heck, I plan on living forever, so why not?!). I must admit that the pork didn’t have much of a presence. But the asparagus and peas were top notch!
Whole Fish (Sea Bass) – Another must have Chinese New Year’s dish. A whole fish. Sea Bass for us this evening. Filleted table side, the fish was light and moist. Very light. I could have eaten the whole fish myself and not felt stuffed.
By this time we were completely sated. There would be no Carvel Ice Cream for us this evening. Besides the fact it wasn’t Wednesday!! And to make Carvel a moot point anyways, we were served a dessert platter of Lychee Nuts, Pineapple, and assorted Ice Creams, and Fortune Cookies. I loved the pineapple. The ice cream and sherbet, were just the right ending to a dinner that I must say pleasantly surprised me. I had eaten at Hunan Taste, and taken out from Hunan Taste in the past and wasn’t impressed. Today they gained some respect from Mee. The bill, I must say, was high. Likely none of the Gold Coast patrons would bat a (fake) eye lash at it, but us Mee’s took notice.
Let’s see how they scored collectively from all the Mee’s:
As if this night weren’t special in an of itself, Mee Tsu Yan picked this evening to unveil the completely redesigned Questie plaque’s. Let’s watch together:
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)