Restaurants »Minangasli

Minangasli Elmhurst QueensI've journeyed to several raved about outer borough foodie spots, but never have I been so taken with the food than at this nondescript Indonesian place despite having no game plan or clue to what the menu's offerings might taste like; unlike Thai or, say, Indian places, where you have a basic idea of what some of the dishes are from other restaurant experiences, there really just aren't that many Indonesian restaurants out there. I'd never been to one myself, but the experience at Minangasli made me wish they were on every street corner, or at least a bit closer to home.

We ordered the combination satays to share between the three of us: a peanuty, spicy/sweet combination of perfectly cooked chicken, beef, and lamb skewers. A total hit that surpassed the cookie cutter satays we've all had as appetizers elsewhere. Next we all shared two main dishes. First the Nasi Rames Rendang, a dish of rice with an unbelievably tender simmered beef and unidentified, but delicious, artichoke heart like vegetables in a slight, lemongrass curry type sauce; it was wonderful. We also tried the Ayam Balado: fried chicken in a hot and spicy chili sauce. I was worried about this one–concerned that, like in other restaurants where the food may be foreign to your palette, anything fried might prove too heavy, greasy or frankly icky–but my fears couldn't have been more unwarranted. Like everything else we ate, it was superb.

Every dish was somewhat familiar but totally singular, every sauce had a unique and very different flavor that tasted the opposite of store-bought or run of the mill. When you say goodbye to all the friendly women cooking in the kitchen, it's easy to see why. You can taste the care that goes into their food, and that's what makes this one of the best hidden gems in the entire five boroughs.

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Posted on September 24, 2007

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