JAMAICA RESTAURANTS BITE THE DUST: CITY RIB – MODA GRILL – ROCOTO RESTAURANT: RIP

They have bitten the dust, all three, although City Rib eventually morphed into Moda Grill and did not even last that long. While Moda Grill’s menu was nothing to write home about (City Rib was much better), it was a great place to hang out and have a drink.

Yet the bland Apple Bee’s is still kicking it.

 

Rocoto Restaurant, another welcome addition to Jamaica

Rocoto Restaurant, another welcome addition to Jamaica

CityRib at the corner of Parsons Blvd and 89th Ave in downtown Jamaica.

CityRib at the corner of Parsons Blvd and 89th Ave in downtown Jamaica.

Moda Grill at 89th Ave & Parsons Blvd

Moda Grill at 89th Ave & Parsons Blvd

ANOTHER JAMAICA POSITIVE: VINTAGE CURRY’S OUTDOOR OASIS PATIO

Vintage Curry at 87-77 168 Pl

Vintage Curry at 87-77 168 Pl

Back in May, I reviewed the very good Vintage Curry (87-)77 168 P), British Style Indian (https://cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/vintage-curry-british-style-indian-is-a-must-in-jamaica/) and raved about it. When I went, it was not very warm that day and they actually have an outdoor patio for dining, as far as I know the only outdoor dining in Jamaica.

Rufus King and Crap6.11.16 057Rufus King and Crap6.11.16 058Rufus King and Crap6.11.16 059Well, today (6.11.16) it was extremely warm and sunny and I had a taste for Indian, so I figured I could have Indian and eat outdoors as well, which any chance I can eat outdoors, I opt for it. Well, Vintage Curry has first done such an amazing job on the outside of the restaurants with all kind of plant and flowers, but when I walked into the outdoor patio, I felt I was not even in Jamaica, let alone right below noisy Hillside Avenue. Sitting in that very peaceful outdoor space, I could rarely hear nothing on Hillside and since Vintage Curry is on 168 Pl, a not very much traveled street, there is rarely any cars going by. I felt so at peace there.

I ordered the Shrimp Vindaloo Curry, which came with basmati rice and I order Naan. The Vindaloo was delicious and spicy and had about 7- 8 big shrimp. And I don’t know how they make their Naan, but it is so good and large.

Rufus King and Crap6.11.16 061Rufus King and Crap6.11.16 062

Since the weather is now nice, check out Vintage Curry and sit outside and chill-out. Great food, good service and a peaceful outdoor oasis.

Go to http://vintagecurrynyc.com/

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On a side note, the dive bar Hillside Inn at 168th St & Hillside Avenue closed a few months ago and is now a Live Fish & Halal Meat place, which just had their opening.

Rufus King and Crap6.11.16 063

 

MIRCH – NEW JAMAICA STYLISH INDIAN EATERY WITH TOP NOTCH FOOD, SERVICE & ATMOSPHERE

mirch5.19.16 010mirch5.19.16 002This week I have been on a Jamaica restaurant crawl of new and older restaurants all on the Hillside Avenue area. Saturday was the three year old Vintage Curry (British Style Indian) and it was great. Wednesday was a 2nd visit to the just opened Dhan Shiri and I love it. Well, add the month old Mirch Grill Clay Oven (172-27 Hillside Avenue) to my restaurant crawl and it was worth the wait ( I have been wanting to try it). A triple threat as far as top notch food, service and atmosphere, plus amazing non-alcoholic drinks.

When you walk into Mirch, you are walking into nothing quite like it in Jamaica, in fact you will think you are in the meat packing district with it’s very stylish decor and chill music, which includes some Indian music. The very pretty hostess/waitress greeted me and along with a young male waiter served me. Even one of the co-owners, who was very nice, came over to me to find out how things were. AMAZING was my answer. Look, places like this might not be a big deal to folks in Manhattan & Brooklyn, but here in Queens and especially Jamaica, this is a BIG DEAL.

Rosemary Blueberry Smash

Rosemary Blueberry Smash

For a drink, I was contemplating between the Spicy Watermelon Mint Aqua Fresca and the Rosemary Blueberry Smash, tough choice. I went with the later and was it refreshing and full of taste (my next visit it will be the watermelon).  For a starter I ordered the Dal Vada Chaat, which consisted of green moong lentils, onions, green chillies and horseradish. What surprised me most was the presentation of it (photo below) and not what I was expecting as far as looks. It looked amazing and so was the taste, which combined so many different flavors and spices into it, that I slowly ate it, not wanting it to end. For the main dish, I ordered from one of their “Not so Traditional Curries”. My choice was the Mustard Fish, which I was craving since I saw it on-line. A fish dish made with mustard oil, green chilli and coconut. But the waitress informed me that they did not have the fish they normally use to make it and suggested some other items. I told her I don’t eat me, so she was nice enough to ask the chef if the could use a different fish and he said yes and he used salmon. Delicious. The curry was  so flavorful and the salmon was so tender and juicy, I don’t know how the chef did it, but it was one of the best tasting pieces of salmon I have ever had. The dish also came with a bowl of rice. I wanted dessert, but my stomach was saying no way, so I left it at that.

Dal Vada Chaat

Dal Vada Chaat

Mustard Fish

Mustard Fish

This is a great place for a nice classy evening out, a romantic dinner or a family gathering (they have tables that can accommodate large groups). Like most Halal/Muslim eateries, there is no alcohol, but I tell you want, with their drinks, you won’t miss it. Pricing for the restaurant is higher than the usual in this area (but not outrageous), but it is worth it. We need more eateries like this in the area and since I hear it can get packed on weekends (check out the photos on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mirchny/info/?tab=overview, there is obvious a market for this type of stylish dining.

Mirch is billed as an Indian-American Fusion place and I would put this place against any place in Queens as far as food, service and atmosphere. They even have a few “American” items like burgers and steak, but hey, if you are going to go to an Indian place, do Indian, which along with Thai, is one of my favorites.

Well, put Mirch at the top of my list of places to check out in Jamaica. A very welcome and different dining experience than what one is used to in this area. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Check out their website at http://mirchny.com/

 

 

 

NEW JAMAICA RESTAURANT DHAN SHIRI – A MUST VISIT

Dhan Shiri (169-28 Hillside Ave at 170th St). 718-725-0001

Dhan Shiri (169-28 Hillside Ave at 170th St). 718-725-0001

Dhan Shiri (169-12 Hillside Avenue) in Jamaica just opened May 13th and already I have been to this new eatery twice already, it is that good. Dhan Shiri is the latest new restaurant to open on Hillside Avenue recently. This space was recently home to the good but short lived Charcoal Kabab and since I have been in Jamaica five years has been about four different places, but with Dhan Shiri’s tasty food, great service and very nice space, this might be the one that stays. It is a winner as far as I am concerned.

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My first visit was the day after opening and they were still working out a few kinks, so several fish/curry items on the menu were not available since they were still working on the various curries and sauces. I started off with a DEFINITE MUST, the Vegetable Salt & Pepper appetizer, which could be a meal in itself. Simple yet bursting with flavor. A mixture of broccoli, baby carrots, bell pepper, mushroom, water chestnut, very lightly breaded and lightly fried. This is a winner and a must. For the main dish I ordered Braised Chili Tofu (it came with rice), cubes of tofu sauteed with vegetables in a chili sauce that had a nice kick to it. While I enjoyed it, I had my heart set on one of the fish curries, so I knew I would be back, just based on the first meal.

Vegetable Salt & Pepper. A MUST HAVE.

Vegetable Salt & Pepper. A MUST HAVE.

Braised Chili Tofu

Braised Chili Tofu

Well, my 2nd visit, they had all the items on the menu, but unfortunately were still working out the dessert menu, where a few items, including Kulfi Falooda, which I wanted to try so bad, were not available. For an appetizer, I decided to go with the Papaya Salad, which was delicious and had some nice heat going for it. This time for the main dish, I got the Thai Fish Curry with red sauce (also available are Green, Yellow & Panang). The tender white fish was cooked in a spicy coconut milk curry, which I ordered medium spicy. It came with an order of rice and I left none of it, it was so tasty and flavorful.

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad

Thai Fish Curry (Red)

Thai Fish Curry (Red)

Their large menu is a combo of Hala Chinese, Desi and Thai with the previous mentioned curries, rice & noodle, Biryani, Tandoori dishes and various other items. You can check everything out at https://dhanshiriny.com/.

I am happy to see that some of the new eateries opening up are not only good, but the decor and atmosphere is really nice and the service is good, something that had been missing from some of the other places on Hillside and in Jamaica in general, the service and atmosphere I am speaking of. A dining experience should not only be about food but service, atmosphere and presentation and Dhan Shiri hits the mark right. Amina Thai is one of my favorites just two doors down along with Vintage Curry (Indian British Style), a few blocks away on 168 Pl  and now I have another favorite just a short walk from my place.

If you are into Indian, Desi and Thai cuisine, put Dhan Shiri on you radar.

Is Jamaica going to be an international food stop, well, it is certainly beginning to look it and I for one hope so.

Dhan Shiri is a winner!Stuff5.14.16 057Stuff5.14.16 056

MAY 13TH GRAND OPENING OF WHAT LOOKS TO BE ANOTHER NICE RESTAURANT ON HILLSIDE AVENUE – DHAN SHIRI

Times in Jamaica are slowly changing. The extremely stylish and good Indian restaurant, Mirch at 172-27 Hillside Avenue, just opened to raves last month. Now another, and from what I saw in the inside, nice restaurant, Dhan Shiri at 169-28 Hillside Avenue, just a few blocks west of Mirch. Their site states they are having a grand opening on May 13th. Dhan Shiri is described as mixed Desi style Chinese and Desi cuisine, which has become very popular.

Since I have moved here in 2011, that location has been several different businesses from a health food/deli to the recently closed Charcoal Kabob. Well, hopefully this new place will stay for awhile. If they really clean up Hillside, could this possibly be a restaurant row. Time will tell.

Here is the link to their website:

https://www.dhanshiriny.com/

The photos below are from a dhan shiri in the UK, but what I saw from the inside of the Hillside Avenue, it looks even nicer. Stay tuned.

READER GIVES HIGH PRAISE FOR NEW JAMAICA INDIAN RESTAURANT ON HILLSIDE AVE – “NOTHING QUITE LIKE IT IN JAMAICA”

Mirch 001While I have been inside the new Indian restaurant, Mirch at 172-27 Hillside Ave (I only popped in to say hello and check the place out), one Southeast Queens residents and big contributor to this blog and Facebook page raved about this new eatery, when he and his wife went to check it out on Saturday. I am stoked to check it out since I love Indian food.

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There’s nothing quite like Mirch in Jamaica. The vegetables were fresh, which made our meals fantastic. Look at our meals, that’s art. The juices were great. The service was excellent. The owner is very nice. He said someone who owns a popular Restaurant in Manhattan has been helping him out, which shows in the decor, and the quality of food. You have another winner in the neighborhood, Bro.

MIRCH: FANCY & STYLISH INDIAN/AMERICAN FUSION RESTAURANT OPENS ON HILLSIDE AVENUE

Mirch 001Hillside Avenue in Jamaica has a new restaurant that just opened this past Friday and not just the so-so kind that normally opens (the last good place to open was Amina Thai). MIRCH, located at 172-27 Hillside Avenue is an Indian/American Fusion restaurant that knocked my socks off when I went inside to take a peek (have not eaten there yet). I was blown away by the atmosphere, decor and the quality of people who work there. Folks in Manhattan and Brooklyn are used to such places, but here in Jamaica, this is big news. This location was recently a pizza joint, then before that something else that has been forgotten, but after the pizza joint closed, I noticed some work going on and then a sign saying “Coming Soon: Mirch Grill Clay Oven”.  I would take a peek every now and then and think, this does not look like the typical dreck on Hillside and it sure is not.

Their menu includes Clay Oven items like Fish Tikka and Tandoor Chicken, Shrimp and Whole Fish, various Biryani, their Not So Traditional Curries like Mustard Fish and Spinach Paneer, various vegetarian dishes and American dishes like burgers, steak scallops and steak. Everything is halal, so there will be no alcohol, but they do have interesting Mocktails like Rosemary Blueberry Smash, Acai Pome Blue Mojito and Lemongrass Fizz. For you drinkers, bring some alcohol to pour in.

Acai Pome Blue Mojito

Their website has not been completed yet (http://www.mirchny.com/index.html), but they do have a Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/mirchny/) with photos and people seem to be really impressed with it.

From talking to the owner, the look of the place and the menu, I know I am impressed. Looking forward to trying it out. I have a feeling this place is going to do very well and a very welcome addition to the community and especially Hillside Ave.

Just some of the itmes they have. Check out the menu on their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mirchny/