SD # 11: Two flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

On our latest Serial Dining Woodside adventure, we wrapped up the “C” category.  Here are the relevant entries from the list:

Chu Ying Chinese Restaurant, (718) 458-8588, 6721 Woodside Ave
Cimtech, (718) 205-7333, 6708 Roosevelt Ave
Corp Lourdes, (718) 606-1791, 5802 37th Ave
Cozy Deli, (718) 777-6631, 5027 31st Ave
Cuckoos Nest, (718) 426-5684, 6104 Woodside Ave

Does Cimtech sound like a restaurant to you?  Yeah, us neither.  Corp Lourdes was a wildcard, but it seemed to us that what we’d likely wind up doing food-wise with our Sunday was lunch at Chu Ying, a quick trip to the Cozy Deli for cold drinks and a snack some time in the afternoon among the errands, and an evening of live entertainment, good eats, and artfully poured Irish beer at the Cuckoo’s Nest, which has live music every Sunday night.

We started by dutifully checking out Cimtech, just to make sure.  The verdict:  Not an eatery.  Not even close.  It is– or rather, it was — a second-floor office of some type, and appears to be for rent:

Cimtech: Not a restaurant, and not much of anything else anymore, either.

Next, we headed over to the other unknown:  Corp Lourdes.  Turns out, it’s a Filipino restaurant called Lourdess, and it was closed up tight in the middle of the day on a Sunday.  There were no hours of operation posted on the door, so it’s hard to tell if they really just take the whole Sunday = Day of Rest thing really, really seriously, or if they’ve gone under, or what.  So I Googled.  The comments and reviews on Yelp, Chowhound, and Urbanspoon were mixed, and in such an out-of-the-way location in a part of Queens with lots of Filipino dining options, you probably have to rock pretty hard to stay afloat.  I’m guessing Lourdess is defunct.  Here’s what it looks like:

So.  Lunch from Chu Ying.  This place is not new to us; in fact, it is a great favorite of ours.  It’s less than half a block from our apartment.  Allan eats there for lunch a lot when he works from home, and I’ve been there with him for a dinner a bunch of times.  They’re nice people, and good neighbors.  If you call for pickup and they know you live nearby, they’ll call you and let you know when your food is ready.  My only complaint is that when they’re not really busy with dine-in customers, the wait staff kind of hovers over your while you eat, so I suggested we call for take-out.

Chu Ying is Korean-style Chinese food.  Many of the dishes are typical of Chinese restaurant menus, and in most cases there’s no discernible difference in the way they look or taste.  In other cases, however, there’s definitely a Korean touch.  Everything comes with kimchee and pickled daikon.  The fried dumplings are deep fried, not pan fried.  Some of the dishes are either straight up Korean or a Korean version of Chinese.  You see that a lot in Queens– a restaurant with food that’s the way it would be if you were ordering Chinese food in some other country.  After all, Chinese food is everywhere.  In this general part of Queens, we have Mexican Chinese, Peruvian Chinese, Thai Chinese, Malaysian Chinese, and Vietnamese Chinese, to name just a few.

We ordered some fried dumplings to share.  Allan ordered noodles with black soybean sauce– easily one of the most popular dishes at Chu Ying, and apparently a staple Korean-Chinese dish served at virtually all restaurants of this type, either cold or hot.  I almost always order moo shoo pork from Chu Ying, but this time I decided to try something new and get the sesame chicken.  There was some broccoli in it, but not enough to convince me it was there on purpose.  It’s almost as if it snuck in from another dish being prepared at the same time.  However, we’ve seen this in Chinese chicken dishes before, like the time Allan ordered General Tso’s chicken at China Taste during our last serial dining adventure.  Therefore, I have concluded that adding a ridiculously small amount of broccoli to a dish is actually intentional.  I have decided to call this the Token Broccoli Effect.

Except for the Token Broccoli Effect, all of the food was excellent, as it always is as Chu Ying.  Here it is:

Delicious takeout from Chu Ying.

Total cost: $28, including plenty of leftover sesame chicken for lunch the next day.

Fortified by a delicious lunch, we headed out to run our typical Sunday errands:  laundry, a trip to Petsmart, groceries, etc.  While we were out and about, we stopped by the Cozy Deli for drinks and snacks as planned.  As with many of the Yahoo Yellow Pages entries, this establishment has a new name, but at least it is still a going concern.  Here it is:

ATSJ Deli & Grill, nee the Cozy Deli

What is there to say?  It’s a bodega.  It has bodega stuff.  Its most distinguishing feature is that it sells a wider variety of “classic” candy like Now & Later, Atomic Fireballs, and stuff like that than most bodegas.  We both grabbed some Arizona drinks (Arnold Palmer Half & Half for the win!) and headed back to the car to munch out:

Arnold Palmer Half & Half: Nectar of the Gods

Sunday night we walked down Woodside Ave to the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Woodside used to have a huge Irish population, and there are still a fair number of Irish-Americans and recent Irish immigrants here.  Several of the old Irish bars and restaurants are still here and doing well, such as Stop Inn, Donovan’s Pub, Saint & Sinners, Sean Og’s, and the Cuckoo’s Nest.  A bunch of these are walking distance from our apartment, and we’ll serially dine at all of them eventually.  Anyway, so there we were at the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The Cuckoo’s Next is an absolutely spectacular bar, and there’s a lot on the web about it if you’re interested.  It has been rated and reviewed on Urban Spoon, Citysearch, Yelp, New York Magazine, The Irish Emigrant, the Hitting the Head blog, and various other spots on the web.  It hasn’t been reviewed on Chowhound yet, but you do see it mentioned favorably on the boards there. (ETA: I was wrong.  Chow.com has a review of the bar here, talking about the very dish I ate!)  With very few exceptions, the reviews are terrific and describe a cozy, gorgeous Irish bar with good food, good music, and a fantastic bartender named Joe who pours a good glass of Guiness.  I have to admit, I did not know there are different ways to pour Guiness, nor did I know that doing it right makes a difference, so I can’t speak intelligently on that aspect of this bar.  Aside from that, however, our experience there matches the high praise it receives online, and we had a lovely evening.

I had a Smithwicks and some fish and chips.  Allan had a Guiness and a cheeseburger.  (This being, first and foremost, a bar, it seems appropriate to list the beers first.)  The food was fantastic, the service was good, and the musicians playing live Irish music were the real deal.  Here’s the food and a shot of the bar, complete with Celtic cross:

The rest of my pictures all came out like crap, so I suggest you click on some of the links above to see what a truly beautiful bar this is, inside and out.  On the way home, however, I did snap a shot of the 61st St station at night, and the front of Chu Ying, which I didn’t catch during the day.

61st St station at night

It occurs to me all of a sudden that, holy cow, I ate a HUGE HEAPING BUTTLOAD of deep-fried food on this particular day.  I’m usually not much for fried food, but there it is, right there in the photographs:  fried dumplings, sesame chicken which is fried before it is sauced, fried fish, and french fries.  Dude.  Somehow, I failed to hear and heed the plaintive wailing of my arteries while I was actually chowing down, but now that the deed is done, I feel I owe it to my circulatory system to go have a nice green salad somewhere.  But you know… damn that was good food.

Cuckoo's Nest on Urbanspoon

Chu Ying Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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One Response to “SD # 11: Two flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

  1. Ashley Says:

    My mouth is watering so bad right now. Looks yummy!

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