This one is for the 1%. No, not that 1%. But the 1% of the readers that can make it to this one. The location is, well, let me put it this way. When you sit around with 5 hounds (as in Chowhounds), and one of the topics of conversation is where the F are we and what do you call this area, you know we are way out there. And when you find yourself in an area in Queens with so much parking wealth that you dont know what to do with it, you start questioning if you are still in city proper. But, its close to someone out there. And if I can convince one person for this one, preferably a local, its well worth it.
Simply put Legend of Taste is some of the best Chinese food I’ve had in NYC, and probably the best Sichuan. You almost find yourself expecting an old grungy looking place, but instead I found a clean and comfortable room that looks more like your mainstream New York Chinese establishment. The entire window front is completely bare except for one very important note. More important than “Zagat Rated” or “We are on Trip Advisor”, or most of the crap you see on windows nowadays. Its a copy of this original post.
Even the menu on first glance looks like your corner Chinese takeout. You have to dig in and dig well into this one. The waitresses speak English, which is important not only with ordering the right items, but the right heat level. And it was, naturally, completely empty as Mr Leff put it, at least by the time we left. There were two or three other tables occupied when the six of us (Including this gentleman) came to this gem. At no point things went south, but I will try to make it easier by ranking the food from best to worst
Chengdu Fish Fillet With Pickle Vegetable– Easily shareable between six and simply outstanding. It has some sneaky heat that with soups one needs to be a little careful. Plenty of delicious flaky flounder, and I especially enjoyed all the Enoki Mushroom action that sent me straight to Fei Long supermarket in Sunset Park a couple of days later. Even good when it was cold an hour later
Szechuan Style Crispy Eggplant – This was an obvious order coming in and the talk of the town coming out. Everything about this was great, from the crunchy bell peppers (looks like chili ) to the light fried eggplant, to the peanuts.
Double Cooked Sliced Pork – This was probably the surprise of the meal. By now you got this wonderful taste sensation going, and this had this welcoming sweetness. Almost paper thin slices of pork with Leeks almost as delicious.
Cumin Lamb– Another winner. Fragrant, thin tender slices of lamb with cumin you can smell from across the the round table
Beef with Long Horn Pepper – A simpler version of something similar I enjoy at Szechuan Gourmet 56 on occasion. Missing perhaps garlic chips that could have made it better. But still very solid, and again, tender wonderfully cooked meat which is the theme throughout it seems
Smoke Ribs app – Tastier than they look. Smoky, dry but delicious.
Szechuan Pork Dumplings – A little doughy and flat, but with great pungant filling. Aided much by the excellent sauce
Bok Choy with Mushrooms – Maybe the only dish I didnt care for, but only because I had better versions of it (Han Dynasty). If this would have been my first crack at it, it would have been amazing!
Coparing the joy/cost ratio to the great Indian Accent (the previous post) is almost comical, and somewhat reflected in my score below. All this for $23 per person. It felt like I just stole a little boy’s lunch money, while kicking his pet monkey in the gut in the process, before taking the monkey too
Legend of Taste
2002 Utopia Pkwy, Whitestone
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Chengdu Fish, Crispy Eggplant, Double Cooked Sliced Pork, Cumin Lamb, Beef with Long Horn Pepper