For the past 15, no make that 20 years, Indian has been my favorite cuisine. It supplanted Mexican, so I guess you can assume I like mine spicy.
Just last week a new restaurant opened across the street with a sign that announced Chinese Indian style. Well, I'd had Cuban Chinese and was quite unimpressed. And with 15 Indian restaurants in the neighborhood, I wasn't expecting much.
But with the prospect of a spicy dinner in mind I couldn’t resist and entered La Shangri-La. My waiter Tamum said the food he served is just like the Chinese you'd get in India. He explained that the typical Jackson Heights Indian restaurant serves Indian cooked American style - i.e., sans some of the hots.
So what was Chinese Indian style like? Hot. Obviously I love hot food. But the Vegetable Hot & Sour Soup was nearly too. My wife ordered it and switched with my Hot & Spicy Shrimp Soup (which was fairly spicy but tasty). But the Hot & Sour was almost too hot. Almost. Patti was impressed that I was able to eat it. And being quite hearty, eat it I did. But the vegetables were a bit under done for me.
For our entrees we had Paneer in Schezwan Sauce and Vegetable Manchurian. ($4.95 each - soups were $8 for the two)
The Manchurian was my favorite. I'll have it again. The Paneer was OK, but there was something about the sauce that reminded me of that nearly raw tomato “homemade” Italian you sometimes get.
But the Manchurian was quite delectable: vegetable meatballs in a thick dark sauce. Served with a big bowl of white rice, it was enough. (BTW, they served Halal.) After the soup neither seemed very hot.
But the desert was just too good. Great, and beyond. I've not been eating sweets lately, but thought I'd venture Chinese Indian. Well, they brought out Gulabjam and Rasogalla served with 2 thin slices of strawberry set on 1/4 inch slices of orange.
Here's what you do. Dig into the Rasogalla (the dark one) with a fork and press it into the orange or strawberry. Just a taste is all you need. This is really good. Let me try that again. This is reeeeaaaalllly good. I've had just plain Indian sweets. And I enjoy them. But add a bit a fresh fruit juice and you're in Shangri-la.
As to the ambiance, 12 tables were set in a pleasant village-like surrounding with music eclectic.
My initial Shangri-La visit was about three weeks ago and I’m ready for a return. So if you’re going to give it a try, drop me an email and perhaps I’ll join you.