Catfish Cafe is more than just a restaurant. It's a place that seeks to nourish both the body and soul with Southern specialties. Chicken comes in myriad forms, fried and sided with waffles or cooked in one of three styles?baked, barbecue, or jerk. If seafood is your thing, try the catfish, whiting, or tilapia entrees, or opt for the hearty seafood platter, complete with all three fish in nugget form. You can keep your taste buds guessing by pairing meals with collard greens and candied yams, or by finishing things with a slice of sweet potato pie.
Rooted in the traditional fusion cuisine served in its namesake city, Nanking delights guests with Chinese dishes that borrow from both Cantonese and Pekingese preparations. After appetizers such as crispy lotus stems drizzled in honey sauce, diners can opt for anything from simple black-pepper chicken to wok-fried lamb slices served with button mushrooms and oyster sauce. A separate Asian fusion menu introduces Indian influences, seen in dishes such as tandoori lamb chops and shrimp curry. Like an underage bartender, "mocktails" mimic classic cocktails, including virgin bloody marys and jungle juice with pina colada mix and four types of juice.
Amid the shimmering Eastern-inspired décor of Wild Ginger’s warm-toned dining room, Japanese sushi mingles with Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes. Seasoned sushi chefs carve fresh seafood into specialty Spider rolls with soft shell crab and Red Dragon rolls with spicy tuna, as grills sizzle with seafood, meat, and poultry, and stovetops simmer with noodles. The prixed-fixed menu rolls out a four-course dinner of soup, salad, an entree, and dessert, which diners can toast to with an extensive menu of wines and sake. Brick walls and a towering palm tree ensconce diners at tabletops and booths in the dining room, and bar seating hosts rounds of linear musical chairs.
The dining room at Turquoise Seafood Restaurant might seem familiar to reality-television fans—last year, the eatery had a cameo on the Bravo program Shahs of Sunset. It’s no wonder the affluent cast was attracted to Turquoise’s elegant new digs, recently updated with arched ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and white leather chairs. The food is just as luxurious: the menu’s crown jewels are large whole fish such as barbounia and dorado royal, which are often grilled, fried, or skewered on a diamond-encrusted scepter.
Those looking for a smaller entree can opt for plates of crispy broiled sea scallops or butterflied jumbo shrimp served over rice. Turquoise’s team of five chefs, who have served in the same kitchen for more than 10 years, give equally considerate treatment to the sides. Long Island Newsday’s Feed Me columnist Marjorie Robins said the “homemade green tahini, baba ganoush, tzatziki, and pickled vegetables . . . don’t get better than this”, and her colleague Peter Gianotti raved that “after a course or two, you’re hooked.”
Tucked into a cobblestone square just off of Austin Street, Jade Eatery & Lounge’s Forest Hill Gardens address hints at the peaceful establishment inside. Votive candles flicker throughout the dining room, casting their warm glow over exposed-brick walls, intimate dining tables, and a large Buddha statue smiling benevolently on diners to guide them toward the right entree. Asian fusion fare suffuses the menu under the direction of executive chef Michael Teng, who pulls flavors from Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, and Korean cuisine to devise fresh combinations of flavor, texture, and presentation.
Clients sip from bowls of deeply aromatic soup or hone chopstick skills on freshly wok-fried entrees. The kitchen staff displays razor-sharp knife skills behind a full sushi bar, rolling and slicing a selection of classic and signature makis, including the Karma roll, which, it is said, cannot be eaten by anyone who has ever claimed to dislike sushi. After finishing dinner, guests can mosey over to the copper-fronted bar where sake, wine, and specialty drinks flow, or they can contemplate the regularly rotating artwork housed inside of the restaurant’s gallery.
A small Chinese restaurant in Flushing seems an unlikely place to find what the New York Times Diner's Journal calls "the best soup dumplings in New York City, if not the world, and that includes China." Yet, the constant line of eager guests awaiting seats at Nan Shian Dumpling House serve as perfect evidence of the eatery's prowess. Sinking teeth into the dumplings provides further proof: the dainty buns conceal treasures of flaky crab meat, succulent pork, and savory broth. The signature dish can be garnished with such sides as beef-stuffed scallion pancakes or flaky turnip pastries as diners feast elbow-to-elbow with other parties at communal tables.