So I walked onto a 7 train car at Main Street/Flushing at 2:38 on a Saturday afternoon and stepped off the C at 96th Street and CPW just about 12 miles and exactly one hour and 47 minutes later (USofAusterity, No. 1!) I could have Amtraked to Philadelphia in that time. But aside from my digital whining, I really didn’t mind at all. Hunan House is so vaut le voyage the chopsticks come in Michelin sleeves.
On this frazzled day I met only six other friends and worried that the bill would be more than the inevitable $20 a head. But we all ate our fill to the point of succumbing to an eight-treasure fried rice dessert and still walked away for $23.
We started with two dishes I flinched at as the excellent waiter laughed: jellyfish (which made me contemplate where aspic originated) and “ox tongue and tripe in peppery sauce.” Then again, no one seemed to much appreciate my choice of Hunan pickled cabbage, either. I did try to push for soup dumplings, but they were not immediately findable on the menu, only in my photo files.
Water spinach stems proved to be texturally sublime but cough-inducingly painful thanks to the peppers. Preserved pork with leeks proved to be near-bacon with great chunks of ginger, and I could have eaten another platterful. But the dazzlers on the Lazy Susan proved to be my choice of smoked duck, the meat super-tender, and the steamed eggs with pork, like a quivering custard topped with sausage bits.
For the record, afterward I stopped at the Petland under the yellow awning with Chinese characters on Main Street and then picked up a matcha-flavored egg tart at the Taipan bakery for the ride home. Either its flavor fell short or the ride was too damned long. The Cat has not forgiven me for arriving with not even a whiff of duck on my fingers.
*Posting this feels grim on considering how neglected my Trails trail has gotten the last few years; I have been repeatedly as the resto has gotten swankier and better even as the staff and food have stayed the course. Shorter? So many photos, so few verbal journeys . . .