TAKEOUT SMACKDOWN!!! - CHINESE

>> Thursday, October 1, 2009

TAKEOUT SMACKDOWN!!! - CHINESE
Feng's Garden
Great Wall
Hang Shing Kitchen
King Wok
Oriental Palace
Panda
Red House Kitchen
Wing Wah


Forest Hills doesn't get SeamlessWeb, and Takeout Connection is a limited resource. Luckily (maybe?) what we do have are takeout menus a-plenty.

Nary a day has passed where the Golden Orb of Ra has descended beneath the horizon without my return home to be greeted, like an enthusiastic puppy, by a new menu; hardly a week has evolved from caffeinated weekstart to sauced weekend without finding my lobby carpeted by free delivery (minimum $15) options. So many menus. Who's to know which ones to trust over the others? Who's good, who's bad? Who's slow, who's fast? These are the necessary questions that need answering for game nights, poker nights, Blockbuster nights, hangovers, double-shifts, PMS, Dr. Who marathons, sheer laziness or any other time when you and cooking don't mix.



And thus have I decided to take the closest Chinese takeout places to my abode in a no-holds-barred cage match to the death. Each takeoutery will be graded (A to F, like in school) by the taste of their dishes. Delivery time, cost, and snarkiness on the phone will be noted. None of them are more than a five minute moped ride away. The food will all be generic and popular dishes and I will attempt to order the exact same thing from each restaurant. Nothing fancy, so don't go asking about the pan seared octopus dumplings or the whole red bass fillets grilled Cantonese style.
FENG'S GARDEN
110-54 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-5536
Visa/MC


Delivery Time: 54 minutes... don't be hungry when ordering.
Attitude: Sleepy. I'm almost positive that the girl answering the phone passed out from boredom while taking my order.
Cost: $20.05 plus tip.

Wonton Soup: B (6)
Egg Roll: B+ (7)
Sesame Chicken: A (9)
Beef with String Beans: B (6)
Pork Fried Rice: A (9)
Chicken Lo Mein: B+ (7)

Score: 44/60
Overall Thoughts: I've never ordered from Feng's Garden before this experiment and was pleasantly surprised. The soup was too salty and the wontons were too doughy, but I liked the smokeyness of the lo mein and the fried rice was incredible. The beef was... meh.
***

GREAT WALL
104-37 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 275-2255
Visa/MC


Delivery Time: 32 minutes.
Attitude: Snappy. Every second that I was on the phone was a potential other customer who would hear a busy signal.
Cost: $19.55 plus tip.

Wonton Soup: D (1)
Egg Roll: B (6)
Sesame Chicken: A- (8)
Chicken with Snow Peas: B+ (7)... But I ordered beef (-5).
Pork Fried Rice: B (6)
Chicken Lo Mein: B (6)

Score: 29/60
Overall Thoughts: The soup was just awful. I forced it down because I paid for it. They screwed up my order, so they're losing points there. Beyond that, most of the dishes were pretty mediocre. The wonton soup, especially, which tasted like it was in a beef broth. The sesame chicken was good though. The chicken with snow peas was also not bad, I just didn't order it. They take credit cards, which is nice.
***

HANG SHING KITCHEN
104-09 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 793-1550
cash only


Delivery Time: 19 minutes... for when you need your food before you knew you were hungry for it.
Attitude: Pleasant woman, but she had very bad English.
Cost: $17.80 plus tip.

Wonton Soup: C+ (4)
Egg Roll: C+ (4)
Sesame Chicken: B (6)
Beef with String Beans: B (6)
Pork Fried Rice: B (6)
Chicken Lo Mein: C- (2)

Score: 28/60
Overall Thoughts: Is it HANG Shing, or HING Shing? The signage says one thing, the menu another. They're damn fast, so if you've got your 420 on and need some food to arrive yesterday, this place should be on your short list. Hang/Hing is also among the cheapest of the bunch and have the best special: any $15 order gets you dumplings or General Tso's Chicken or... I got the dumplings, which weren't bad. Too bad I can' t say the same for the rest of the meal. The entire meal tasted like it was burned to a degree, like it was picking up the char from meals past. I swear I tasted fish in the lo mein.
***

KING WOK
108-29 Ascan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263-3900
Cash Only


Delivery Time:
40 minutes on a rainy night.
Attitude: Not bad.
Cost: $19.44 plus tip.

Wonton Soup: A- (8)
Egg Roll: B (6) Sesame Chicken: B (6)
Beef with Snow Peas: A- (8)
Pork Fried Rice: B (6)
Chicken Lo Mein: B+ (7)

Score: 41/60
Overall Thoughts: A solid contender. No individual dish stands out as great or awful. Everything was thoroughly pleasant to eat, but nothing wowed me.
***

ORIENTAL PALACE
103-35 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 275-2288
Cash Only


Delivery Time: 25 minutes... very quick
Attitude: Pissy. Seriously, this woman was not in a good mood.
Cost: $16.93 plus tip

Wonton Soup: A (9)
Egg Roll: B- (5)
Sesame Chicken: A (9)
Beef with Snow Peas: B- (5)
Pork Fried Rice: C- (2)
Chicken Lo Mein: B+ (7)

Score: 37/60
Overall Thoughts: Oriental Palace is hit-or-miss. The soup was very good, but the egg roll was a waste of food. The sesame chicken was excellent, but I almost didn't even bother keeping the fried rice that it came with for leftovers. Ordering from these guys will be a crapshoot. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't.
***

PANDA
73-03 Yellowstone Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-8899/8998
cash only


Delivery Time: 38 minutes.
Attitude: Very nice guy on phone.
Cost: $18.34 plus tip.

Wonton Soup: B (6)
Egg Roll: B+ (7)
Sesame Chicken: B+ (7)
Beef with String Beans: B- (5)
Pork Fried Rice: B- (5)
Chicken Lo Mein: B+ (7)

Score: 37/60
Overall Thoughts: Well, nothing stood out as being great, but at least nothing stood out as being bad either. Bland seemed to be the theme of the meal, from the thin soup to the thin sauce in the beef, to the needs-more-taste fried rice. You won't go wrong ordering from Panda, but you won't be craving it either.
***

RED HOUSE KITCHEN
71-47 Yellowstone Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 261-5601/2497
Visa/MC


Delivery Time: 33 minutes
Attitude: Pleasant and chipper.
Cost: $19.10 plus tip

Wonton Soup: B (6) Broth meh, wontons good
Egg Roll: A (9)
Sesame Chicken: A (9)
Beef with Snow Peas: B- (5)
Pork Fried Rice: A (9)
Chicken Lo Mein: A (9)

Score: 47/60
Overall Thoughts: Red House did just about everything right except the beef, which was nothing to write home about. Had they scored better there, they would have flat-out owned this competition, because there are a lot of As on that list.
***

WING WAH
98-12 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 261-5154/5319
cash only


Delivery Time: 41 minutes.
Attitude: Deaf. Can you hear me now?!?
Cost: $18.40 plus tip.

Wonton Soup: A (9)
Egg Roll: B (6)
Sesame Chicken: A (9)
Beef with Snow Peas: A (9)
Pork Fried Rice: B (6)
Chicken Lo Mein: B (6)

Score: 45/60
Overall Thoughts: Terrible phone connection, so I'm yelling into the handset, and they wouldn't come into the building, which is a first. I'd never ordered from Wing Wah before and they were a definite surprise. The soup was everything a wonton soup should be, though the egg rolls were a disappointment. The rice was rice, but the sesame chicken was excellent. I spent enough money to get free fried wontons, which I did not grade. Good thing, too.
***

So there it is! Eight of the closest Chinese takeout establishments. Red House Kitchen WINS by a short margin that could have been much larger. Wing Wah took the silver after a vicious and bloody bout with Feng's Garden, who came in a very thin hair behind in third.



See my map for a better idea of each takeout place's location.

7 comments:

Laura Lutz October 1, 2009 at 7:30 PM  

I knew it!

Actually, Red House is the *only* one on that list I've ever ordered from. They were the first menu under my door when I moved here 2 years ago - I ordered from them and it in no way sucked...so why mess with a good thing?

Your description of Hang/Hing was scary - fish taste from meals past? Ugh. And 19 minutes? At least give me the *impression* you're actually cooking something fresh!

Thanks for sacrificing your weight and taste buds so we can all be informed takeout eaters!

Jon Parker October 1, 2009 at 7:55 PM  

No, thank YOU Laura for being kind enough to actually read this. It makes the loss of my 31 waist jeans that much easier to bear. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go jogging.

chopsticks,  October 28, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

Wow, I have to say I was pretty surprised at the results. I have ordered from 4 of the places you reviewed (Wing Wah, King Wok, Red House, and Hang Shing). Our overwhelming favorite is your worst rated place -- yup, Hang Shing. King Wok we would not eat from unless we were starving. The other 2 are okay, but Hang Shing takes the cake.

Our favorites are chicken with string beans (beans just the right amount of crunch, and the sauce is not a suspicious shade of red), General Tso's chicken and the pan fried dumplings. Their moo shu pork is pretty good as well. Can't comment on the dishes you ordered, though.

Would I lend it more street cred if I also divulge that I am of Chinese descent?

On another note, keep up the great work.

Anonymous,  September 18, 2010 at 6:26 PM  

I love the Takeout Smackdown! I reference it every time I am ordering. I've tried Red House, its ok. A place I think to avoid is dumpling cafe. I literally threw my food out(shame). I'm looking for a place that doesn't use the yellow rice in their fried rice. Fengs has done ok by me. For upscale Tung Shing house had great flavor to their fried rice(not yellow) though it was slightly overcooked. The hot and sour soup was phenomenal, but chicken with broccoli in garlic sauce was sub-par. I'm going to try a new place tonight for chow mei fun.
If anyone has any updates to places that they like I'm all eyes and ears. Searching for the holy grail

Anonymous,  December 7, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

Check out Red House's boneless ribs and yang chow fried rice. That does it for T/O.

Otherwise the closest thing to real Cantonese cuisine in Forest Hills is East Ocean Palace. They deliver and they do T/O. Only Dim Sum in FH. They have lunch specials too. Try their pan fried noodles, Shrimp w/ Walnuts, and other seafood dishes.

This blog hasn't been too active, try Yelp for some great advice.

Jon Parker December 7, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

Dude, two things.

A) The Smackdown(!!!) isn't about "real" Chinese food. It's about takeout and never should anyone confuse the two. Ever. Yes, East Ocean Palace is the most authentic. But, y'know something? Sometimes you just want crap-assed comfort food in a cardboard box with the picture of a house on the side of it.

B) As for not posting often enough, dude, this blog ain't free. To date this year, posting has racked up over $1000 in receipts. Meanwhile, my next post, the Diner Smackdown(!!!) has me going to six diners and eating two or more meals at each of them. I wish I could post more often, but hey, there's only so much time and money.

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