>> Thursday, January 7, 2010

70-11 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 575-0560

Forest Hills has a new ethnicity of cuisine for the first time in a long time. Italian, Japanese and Thai restaurants seem to breed like mice. Every time we turn around, there's another one. Suddenly along comes Green Sky, a small Korean restaurant in the subterranean level of the black, evil-looking sovietesque office/retail plaza on Austin Street.

Green Sky operates heavily, if not almost exclusively, on takeout. This is rammed home by the fact that even as an eat-in customer, I was served in takeout containers, just without the lid. Each time I've been there, I've been the only diner. But there isn't that much seating anyway. Save for a few tables at the front and one large one in the back, most of the chairs are face-the-wall bar-style. Thus, unlike most restaurants, and certainly unlike most restaurants in this particular neighborhood, Green Sky is a good place to dine alone.

Green Sky's menu is matched in size to its physical space. They don't play around trying to fill a hundred tastes and instead focus on about ten dishes. So the four dishes I tried cover a huge chunk of the menu. From the top photo to the bottom, I've tried the following: The Bibimbap, a rice dish with beef, bamboo shoots, carrots, egg, lettuce, cucumber and a hoisin-style sauce that you can add for a little tang. It's more sweet than hot and I'd recommend it. It came with a thin but good miso soup. If you like your dishes with the contrasts of hots and colds, then you will like the bibimbap. Next, I tried the Bulgogi Burrito, a Korean homage to Tex-Mex. Beef with Asian veggies and cheese, wrapped in a burrito shell. I was impressed. It might have been the best dish of the ones I tried.

In contrast, the Mandu Dumplings were the worst. The ground chicken inside them was grainy and powdery-dry, the vegetables weren't too plentiful, and the shell was too fragile to pick up without shredding. I squeezed plain-old soy sauce from a disposable packet over them, but it didn't help and I tossed them before I finished. Finally, the Bulgogi Deopbap, a beef and vegetable stir-fry with a side of rice and a miso soup. The beef was sweet and quite good with the very sticky rice, but there could have been a bit more sauce. By the end, it was getting dry. Still, it was filling and worth all of its seven or eight bucks.

The prices range from about $5 to $12. Sodas cost $1.25. Green Sky offers free ($0) coffee and free green tea to its customers, which is a nice perk. They also have a computer available so you can browse the web or check your email. I know that this kind of thing is popular in Europe and Asia, but here and in the age of smartphones, it just seems gimmicky. There are, unfortunately, no Korean desserts, and no one should confuse Green Sky with a full-on, regular Korean restaurant. But if you want a cheap, decent meal or perhaps haven't ever had Korean food before, Green Sky should definitely be on your list of places to hit up.


Erica January 7, 2010 at 5:00 PM  

I'm confused. What store did this used to be?

Jon Parker January 7, 2010 at 5:34 PM  

I don't remember, actually. Maybe that french fry place?

CattyinQueens January 11, 2010 at 4:49 PM  

Thanks--good to know about this one. Some of the pictures look quite delicious.

Apikoros January 12, 2010 at 8:34 AM  

Your experience seemed better then mine. I thought the people were very nice but the food was BLECH. We had the bibimbap and the short ribs... Weak.

Jon Parker January 12, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

Yeah I never had a "bad" experience at GS, but I don't see them getting a Michelin star anytime soon, either.

Anonymous,  January 12, 2010 at 4:51 PM  

I really really want to love this place. I mean, I think FH could really use another ethnic eats that is not Thai or Japanese or terrible Chinese takeout. The food was ok, just ok. Husband and I tried the gimbap (cheap & not bad!), the kimchee fried rice, udon noodles (lame & overcooked) and the bulgoki over rice. It's kind of like mainstreamed, lame Korean food but I think there is a real market here for authetic good Korean food. Are you guys with me! I would love a place to serve some soft tofu stew, or bean paste stew. Maybe some kimchee stew. How about the spicy rice cake dish?

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