>> Friday, February 17, 2012
LIANG'S is closed.LIANG'S
107-12 70th Road
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Forest Hills has no shortage of cheap take-out Chinese restaurants. You know the kind. The big menu board over the counter with faded stock photos, the unique-to-Chinese-food grease smell, tables and chairs that Denny's threw away twenty years ago. That is most definitely not Liang's. Liang's is the polar opposite. Smoky piano jazz plays from the stereo system. There are tablecloths and cloth napkins. The chopsticks done have to be broken in half because they don't have them. It's spotlessly clean. There's a cocktail menu. I'll go so far as to say that Liang's borders on fancy. All it's missing is dim lighting and tea lights at the table.
Liang's menu is, to be honest, not so very different from the takeout places (General Tso's chicken and pork fried rice and scallion pancakes, etc.), and it's only slightly more expensive. But also don't expect a ritzier version of the Flushing-style East Ocean Palace menu. But when Pike and I went, the majority of customers were Asian, which I take as a good sign.
Liang's has three menus. One was the standard menu with the standard stuff you'd order in while catching up on your Netflix queue. Then another, brighter menu with more interesting items like pig ear (which I was literally a hair away from getting just to say I tried it), and finally a pre-fix menu. Pike and I both went pre-fix and weren't disappointed. For $25 you get an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. We also supplemented this with another appetizer because we like variety.
Our appetizers, clockwise starting with the spare ribs in the top photo, were Chinatown Style BBQ Spare Ribs, Taiwan Style Spicy Wontons, and Shrimp Dumplings. We both felt that the spare ribs were fine, but not much more than fine. I certainly liked the sauce more than the average greasy crap you're given, but Pike felt that they weren't tender enough. "The meat should fall off the bone" and it wasn't quite there. Pike was apathetic on the spicy wontons, but I liked them. Pork filled, with just enough heat to burn your mouth a bit while leaving your taste buds intact. Conversely, I was apathetic about the shrimp dumplings but Pike thought they were great. We also ordered Egg Rolls, since you have to by law, and they were good, too. Not amazing. But good. "It's nice that they cut them in half." Pike mentioned without sarcasm. "I appreciate that extra effort."
For an entree, Pike ordered the Peking Duck. It came the typical scallions and celery fillings and with a choice of either steamed buns or a moo shu pancake to play the roll of taco. He went with the steamed buns. Good choice, sir. And good duck. There was a little too much fat than there should have been, but it was easily scraped aside and the duck didn't lack for taste. I ordered the Grand Marnier Shrimp. I asked for brown rice and got white, but wasn't about to argue since it kept me from eating more carbs than the daily amount that my spare tire recommends. The shrimp was extremely good and would have been better if it had been chicken, mostly because I think that the texture would have worked better with the batter and the sauce. It's very hard to describe the dish. The tempura style batter was very light, but the Grand Marnier sauce was very heavy; so much so that I couldn't finish. Picture a cream sauce with a hint of orange. "Like a creamsickle" was how I described it at the time.
For dessert, Pike ordered the Warm Taro Pudding, an off-white, somewhat warm pudding-like dish reminiscent of a liquid version of those Japanese bean cakes you can get on Ascan. Pike ate most of it quizzically. "It almost has no flavor at all" he noted while also saying it wasn't bad. I noticed that it had a very vague hint of sweetness right at the back of my tongue. I did like it, but if you asked me to describe it to you, I don't know that I'd have the ability to do so. I ordered Vanilla Ice Cream.
Three appetizers, two egg rolls, two entrees, two desserts, two sodas, plus tax and tip, came to $82.