For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100. Let the gluttony continue…
I was rather surprised when I saw Time Out’s pick from Hunan House in Flushing. This fairly new Queens restaurant specializes in authentic food from the Hunan region (a rather unrepresented Chinese cuisine here in the big city), which according to my research could be as unusual as fish stomachs or bean curd.
Yet the dish that was chosen was a boring-sounding plate of sauteed green peppers. Knowing Time Out, these must have been super spicy and therefore TONY was impressed by their tongue singeing power.
But when I arrived and got a taste of these peppers, I understood. I was lucky enough to make it for the lunch special and so I got to try two dishes for $6 each (along with rice and soup). This is the kind of place that is best experienced with multiple mouths to help share the food. I, sadly, have just one mouth.
I have a love of shishito peppers, the Japanese green nubs that are the Russian roulette of peppers (one in ten peppers is spicy). The fatter, thinner ones at Hunan House must be a distant cousin. Blistered until they sweat, there’s a rich butteriness that balances the intense heat (for these, I think one in one pepper is spicy). Also to help with the flavor balance, fermented black beans are garnished on top. They bring an earthy and salty quality to the spice.
The Fish Slices in Chili Sauce I ordered was also quite spicy, but well-rounded with lots of garlic, ginger, and rich chunks of fresh white fish. But strangely enough, it was those simple but full-flavored green peppers that I couldn’t stop thinking about.
Would Hunan House’s Sauteed Green Peppers make my Top 100 of the year? Somehow I think they might. The flavors worked just right for a unique and spice-filled lunch. They earn a 9 out of 10.
|137-40 Northern Boulevard (between Union Street and Main Street),