Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Spicy and Tasty Cafe

39-07 Prince St, Flushing, NY, 718.359.1601


Cost per person: $15
"YGWYPF" factor: 9.0/10 (you get what you pay for)
Food: 9/10
Ambiance: 9/10

Read some external reviews, for a change: Yes, it's that good. Mind blowing, really. The caveat? Everything is in Chinese. The restaurant name, to start with - we had to identify it by matching the phone number to the one from the reviews. The waitresses spoke only in Chinese, and could not even understand words like fork or salt. The menu was exclusively in - you guessed it.
We got lucky - there was a reporter having her lunch when we walked in, and she spoke English. All we said was that we wanted things in chicken, and that spicy is good. We don't know what were ordered, but every dish was super delicious. And everything was hot like I have never tasted before. Compared to this, Grand Sichuan in Manhattan is mild!


We chanced to head towards Flushing yesterday, and the temptation to visit Spicy and Tasty was too strong to ignore. It was a matter of choice between Spicy and Tasty, and South Indian vegetarian food at the temple, so the decision was pretty one-sided. This time, we happened to get a parking space at the municipal parking garage on Prince street, and while walking back towards Roosevelt on Prince, we noticed the "other" spicy and tasty, which is really the place at 39-07 Prince, as listed in this review. This place is easier for the non-native-literate, since it has English menus, at least half of the wait staff speak English, and recommendations are spot-on. We ordered our favorite dumplings in hot oil and beef tendons in hot oil as starters. For entrees, we went berserk - 4 dishes for 2 people - a stir-fried spinach with garlic, a stir-fried chilli peppers (only in Sichuan can you get a dish that treats green chillies as vegetables), a spicy fish (awesome!), and a "medium spicy chicken with peppers".
In one word, mind-blowing. Every one of them. The beef tendons had numbed our tongue, but the taste seeped in through every chopstick-full. The spicy green chillies are out of this world in spiciness - you are, after all, eating chillies. Don't be fooled by the "medium spicy" in the chicken - it's really spicy - and the waitress recommended this to us, saying it was more spicy than the other "very spicy" dishes. The fish was a surprisingly good random choice (approved by the waitress). Dishes are huge, so come in a group, or come prepared to take food home - otherwise a dinner for two will comprise of a measly 2 entrees. Oh yes - the menu is a little confusing, with all the translations going on between Chinese and English, and the differences in culture and all that - so frog legs are listed under poultry, and some variations of pork are considered vegetables. So go through the entire menu to see what you like.
Oh yes - before I forget - we recently came to know the spicy taste of Sichuan cooking comes from "Dried Prickly Ash", a seed-like thing you can buy in Asian stores, and not hot peppers.


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