Thursday, April 1, 2010


113-09 Queens Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 268-1668

If you want real and real good Chinese food, not the basic, find-it-on-every-corner fast food stuff, then Flushing's where you need to be. The trouble is, unless you drive, Flushing's real pain in the ass to get to. The bus takes forever. The Roosevelt Avenue subway station, as you make your way to the 7, is so crowded that it's like wading up to your neck in a swamp. You... just... can't... move... Even if you do drive, good luck parking. That's where East Ocean Palace comes in. It's a Chinese restaurant that's a Flushing ex-pat.

Walking inside it's immediately different from anywhere else in the neighborhood. It's super bright. Brighter than McDonalds. The dining room is massive and the least intimate one I've eaten in in years. The smallest table is for four people and about half of the tables there are for groups of eight or more. Decorations are sparse, as though their interior budget was spent only on lighting. The high-backed chairs and large tables make it feel like eating dinner in either a banquet hall without the wedding band or a college cafeteria with tablecloths. English isn't the wait staff's first language (or second), so expect to point a lot if your Chinese is rusty. That said, Bro and I were one of very few white folks here. I took this as a good sign. I don't like my food fake unless that's the point. Romantic, no. Fun, maybe. Group spot for people who like to share lots of food, yeah.

Bro and I started off with dim sum. Fried Bacon-wrapped Shrimp Rolls were the first to arrive and they were just that. Steamed shrimp wrapped in bacon which they deep fry and then serve with a dish of mayonnaise for dipping. My initial thought was bacon and shrimp! I love those. Well, not everything goes together like peanut butter and jelly. It's an acquired taste, to be sure. But hey, you might acquire it. In contrast, the Pan Fried Leek Dumplings were fantastic. Crispy, leeky, tangy. You should definitely get this.

We ordered the Steamed Watercress Su Mai, but they gave us the Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings instead by mistake. I didn't notice until I bit in and found mushroom where watercress should be. It was okay, not amazing, and I was really looking forward to the watercress. Sitting in a wooden steamer tray beneath the vegetarian dumplings (by the way, East Ocean Palace has a huge vegetarian-only menu) were the Royal Steamed Pork Su Mai, Both it and the Hot and Sour Soup were pretty good, but neither blew me away. I still say the best hot and sour soup I've ever had was at Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown.

For dinner Bro and I ordered two meals to split between us. First, the Fresh Squid with Garlic and Ginger. The squid was very stir fried with dark greens and was very tender. There's always a risk that the squid you will be like chewing on a rubber band and that didn't happen.. It was delicious. We alternated between the squid and the Sauteed Frogs with Vegetables. I must not fit the frog-ordering profile. The waiter's eyebrows went way up. "The frogs? You sure?" I'm sure. Hit me. Actually, I eat frog whenever I see it on a menu. There are two things one needs to know about frog. First, there ain't much meat, so you're usually eating with your fingers to suck on bone. Second, they don't taste like anything you've already had. Or, better described, they tasted like a combo of two things. Like a hybrid of chicken and fish. But unlike bacon-wrapped shrimp, this is one instance where the peanut butter and the jelly go well together.

Dessert isn't even offered, unless you count the orange slices that came with the bill, so have a place in mind when you leave. This meal ended costing $72. Oh, and no tacky fortune cookies, thankfully.


Anonymous said...

Love your Web site. Glad you reviewed East Ocean Palace as I was contemplating eating there. You might know this already, but a new burger place opened across from the Cinemart on Lefferts @ Austin where that Latin food place used to be. Name is something like Around the Clock or whatever. Just passed it tonight; it was empty. Looking forward to your eventual review of it :-). Perhaps it will last longer than its predecessor.

Jon Parker said...

Glad you like it. And I'll check out this burger place. It's in Kew Gardens?

Anonymous said...

It's on Lefferts opposite the movie theater and REO Pharmacy and the Baker's Dozen bagel shop. And around the corner from Austin's Ale House.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's in Kew Gardens (sorry, forgot to state that). Maybe a bit out of your purview for this blog, but it's new and it's there if you're interested.

Wayno2424 said...

I will try, thanks for ur bravery Jon.

Apikoros said...

I would recommend East Ocean Palace during the Dim Sum serving hours. A very different place then during the "regular" dining hours. Their Dim Sum rivals anything in Flushing but is ever so much closer to my home base! Any weekend you'd like to meet up (Dim Sum is always better with more people) let me know! Maybe we can get the Feisty Foodie along too and have a Forest Hills Food Blogger Meet-Up? :-)

Jon Parker said...

Hmmm... FF is way more popular than I am. I think she's out of my league.

EricMM said...

How does this compare to Pings (on Queens Blvd in Elmhurst)? The dishes you mention are exactly the same as some of the ones we order there. Pings has always been a family favorite..but if this place is as good, and the prices are similar, it would be worth checking out.

Jon Parker said...

I regret saying that I haven't had a chance to try out Ping's. It's on the list though. The ever-growing list...

Dish by Dish said...

I second going there during the dim sum service hours. It sounds like you're an adventurous eater, so go for the chicken feet, beef or shrimp wrapped in rice rolls, stuffed eggplant, beef balls, tripe with white radish, and really just about any dish on offer. Lots of dessert dishes available then as well. If you like noodles, try the mushroom and leek yee noodles. We recently moved away and really miss this place.

Anonymous said...

I mostly have dim sum in this place. Yesterday I went there. We found a cockroach (pretty big one about 2 inches) in the dimsum (chicken feet) after we ate for quite a while. EEEWWHHHH.!!!.
I talked to the server. One of the server just took the plate and did not even apologize. The server keep on saying, the cockroach is not in the food. In fact, it is inside the food!. They denied that and just wanted to cancel that particular order.!

Why don't this server just eat all of the food which has a cockroach and I pay for them!.
This server is totally idiot or what!? and the attitude is bad.

The manager says nothing!. I should have taken the picture and post it online!

They still serve the same chicken feet dimsum which they previously cooked to other customers.

This is very disgusting. !!!

No wonder their rating is only C by the department of health!!! This restaurant foods is totally dirty!