The Holy Quest continues. Our latest adventure takes us to “LN 1380”, a new Chinese restaurant located at 251-03 Northern Blvd. in Little Neck. This is our third review in a one-block radius. We have also reviewed “Northern Manor” and “Little Dumpling“.
The days of having to travel into Chinatown for a great meal are long gone. As the Asian population migrates east, they are bringing with them the many cuisines of China. Us Long Islanders will only benefit from this great culinary migration.
LN 1380 is new, clean, and nicely decorated. The restaurant is BYOB (at least for now). Mee Yong Joo set the night upright with a bottle of Tequila, and I picked up the beer. The party was getting started.
LN 1380 is mostly Cantonese cuisine. Cantonese cooking originates from the province of Guangdong. In the 18th century, the Pearl River delta area of Guangdong province, anchored by the city of Guangzhou, was the first region sanctioned by the Qing dynasty to be opened for trade with the outside world. Foreign merchants arriving in the region established trading posts and brought with them their merchandise, and their culinary customs as well. Guangdong cooking became the first truly cosmopolitan cuisine of China. Residents of the area were among the first from China to immigrate to America, and therefore it became the most popular style of Chinese cooking in the US. Cantonese cuisine is typified by simple dishes that are all about clear, natural flavors, reflections of the region’s abundant seafood and agriculture. Cantonese chefs use very few heavy spices, letting fresh ingredients speak for themselves.
I must start by saying the service was exceptional. Kin, our waiter, had a really pleasant way about him. Kin recently became a grandpa, and proudly shared his pictures with us. He was really helpful with our food selection and did not ignore our plea for an authentic Chinese meal. LN 1380 was packed with Asian customers, which is always a good sign about the food.
For appetizers, we ordered the Salted Pepper Calamari, Crispy Fried Ribs with Sesame Flavor, and Marinated Jellyfish Head. The Salted Pepper Calamari was a fabulous dish. It looked like something off of an Arthur Treacher’s menu but tasted great. The Chinese really know how to deep fry without making it taste so greasy. It is prepared with fried seaweed and small pieces of rice cake. The Crispy Fried Ribs with Sesame Flavor was the most disappointing plate of the night. Small pieces of rib that are deep-fried served with Sesame oil. DISH WARNING – About every fourth piece had a bone in it, protect your crowns at all cost! We have ordered this dish at other restaurants, and truth is told, I like the duck sauce smothered BBQ ribs from the old-time LI Chinese better. Marinated Jellyfish Head is a dish that the Quest has passed up in quite a few restaurants. It was inevitable that this night would come. Are we THE CHINESE QUEST or a bunch of wimps from Long Island? The jellyfish was prepared with radishes, carrots, and sesame seeds. It had a pickled taste with the consistency of a jellyfish. I rather enjoyed it! Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and say WTF!
The main event consisted of Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce, Lobster-Cantonese Style, Big Mouth Bass (whole fish), Sauteed Snow Pea Leaf with Fresh Garlic, and Young Chow Fried Rice. The Beef Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce was definitely the most popular dish of the night. Every table in the place ordered this Chef’s special. The meat was from one large bone in tasty red wine gravy. It tasted like a Chinese version of pot roast, I highly recommend it. Lobster-Cantonese Style is not your momma’s Lobster Cantonese. Without the eggy, snotty sauce (which I actually really do like), it was drier and better, served with minced pork and scallions. The lobster was cut up into small pieces and cooked perfectly. The Big Mouth Bass was a large piece of fish that was prepared in a light soy sauce. The fish was tender and flaky. Sauteed Snow Pea Leaf with Fresh Garlic is always a good bet. It is a wonderful dainty dish that is not overly seasoned, just the right amount of garlic. Young Chow Fried Rice was fairly typical of other restaurants, always a good choice to complement a meal.
At LN 1380, the food is prepared with light sauces and spices, allowing the freshness of the food to really shine through. I felt like I was eating a healthy meal, which is not always the case with Chinese food. I highly recommend this restaurant, as well as some of the others that we tried in 2016. I like the Year of the Monkey!!!
Here’s how we as a group rated LN1380:
All for now,
Mee Tsu Yan