October 12, 2009
Garlic and Stuff from M&T Restaurant in Flushing
This post originally took place on September 19.
It's been weeks since I ate at Qingdao cuisine-specialized M&T Restaurant with Tristan, Grace, and Bram, but if I concentrate hard enough, I can still taste the garlic. What a magic night that was. "The Night My Mouth Became Saturated with Odiferous Sulphur Compounds."
Take a look at the Qingdao cold pasta with special sauce. That yellow mound on top? Raw garlic mash. And what's under it? I'm not really sure. But the New York Times calls it "jelly-like grass noodles." I call it "sort of flavorless cold translucent jelly slabs."
But that's where the garlic comes in, along with black vinegar, cilantro, and shredded cucumber and carrot. Mix it together and now the jelly flops tastes like "all of the above," making for a refreshing dish—the sort of refreshing that punches you in the face if you're not used to the flavors (I wasn't).
Next up was cucumber with pork head and shittons of garlic. Another dish that refreshes the palate with thick, crunchy slices of raw cucumber, and moist, fatty pork bits (from the head, I'd assume), infused with garlic and vinegar.
Chicken with ginger and basil wasn't our first choice for a chicken dish, but methinks due to a miscommunication, that's what we ended up with. Tender chicken nubs in...a sauce. A brown sauce. With basil and ginger chunks. Sorry for the crappy description; the dish was good, just not one that stuck out in my mind.
- IT'S FRIED.
Battered and fried ginseng left more of an impression since it's fried—better yet, something fried that I had never eaten before. The ginseng itself didn't have much flavor (or maybe I missed it because I was in the early stages of some sort of cold), but it had an interesting texture that yields just slightly before cronching. The main flavor came from black pepper. Mmmm. Oh, and salt. Double mmmm.
For our resident vegetarian, Tristan, our friendly waitress (and perhaps the restaurant's proprietor) recommended mapo tofu, which also came with a side of sliced lotus root. Silky soft tofu cubes doused in a hot Sichuan peppercorn-laced sauce is always satisfying. Tristan loved it.
Overall, I enjoyed the meal—most of the dishes were ones I had never tried before, but fit in the familiar, "IT'S CHINESE AND DELICIOUS" category. I'd go back to M&T if someone in my dining party could read off the mirrored wall covered in Chinese specials that probably aren't on the menu. Alas, as the sole Chinese person in our group of four, I provided absolutely no advantage—I only know English, and even that I have trouble with sometimes. (Apologies to Grace, Bram, and Tristan for being fail Chinese.) If you're curious about the specials though, I'm sure the friendly staff will help you out.
44-09 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing NY 11355
Posted by roboppy at 12:26 AM
Bite the bullet, for Christmas ask Santa for Rosetta Stone Mandarin Level I.
I also had a very garlicky crepe yesterday. I love garlic, but that was too much for me as well.
I can translate some of the menu list for you if you want. :)
FN: After growing up with parents who speak Chinese, I think I might just be lost cause. :(
...Okay, I just have to try harder.
Kim: Once in a while, a garlic bomb is alright. Just don't eat any more garlic for a month.
Thanks for the translation offer! I usually make my mom do that stuff...she has to do it, SHE LOVES ME.
The pictures make the food look terrific and the garlic bomb thing...funny:-) Nice work!
The cold pasta with special sauce looks 'interesting'. :-P
All that garlic should've helped ease your colds, if not outright prevent it. :-)
Hmmm... I always thought that Ma Po Tofu would have minced pork in it. They could have done a special order for your friend.
The glass noodles look awesome and the prices (based on the menu pictured) look pretty cheap. The bottom row is mostly seafood with a very intriguing Fish Stomach ($16.99).
BTW, why do all the prices end with a .99?
Ed: The garlic totally didn't do it's job. :(
ivan: I think they made a non-meat version since Tristan said he was vegetarian. Otherwise, looks like mapo tofu. Admittedly..I'd like the pork. :)
Why do prices end in .99?
blah i'm the same. i can't read much chinese nor write. i suck. and i know all the good stuff are always written on the wall! i know the left purple paper said something "fried" for $10.99
I *heart* garlic. But I don't like the proliferation of simplified characters in Chinese restaurants in America...BAH!!!!
The blue one in the bottom left corner should be deep fried shrimp, the pink one near it between the two yellow strips is deep fried squid rings and the blue one in the bottom right is cashews and something with celery.
Chinese handwritten menus are hard to decipher :( That's all I can read/understand XD
Maybe one day you can just make a game of it and just select things at random from the Chinese wall? It could be an adventure!
Donny: I'd take unidentfied fried thing for $10.99!
Rose: I will never feel your pain. Haha.....fail.
Bonnie: THOSE ALL SOUND TASTY! Doh.
Mahar: I like the sound of that. Take one yellow, one pink, one blue...
All looks great, though I'm surprised you had any tastebuds left after the garlic bomb + sichuan pepper!
The Hounds over at Chow have been there too - Check it out for many more recs!
Street Foodie: Maybe my taste buds are made of STEEL..or maybe there wasn't much to lose in the first place. ;_;
I completely appreciate the joy of the garlic bomb. I have a recipe for pasta salad that is basically pasta, tomatoes (normal and sun-dried), mozzerella, and THE ENTIRE GARLIC BIN AT THE GROCERY STORE! I smell weird all day after I eat it,, but it's totally worth it.
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