Waterfront International Enterprise ~ Orderinny

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Waterfront International Enterprise

During my brief studies in Beijing, I had developed a taste, an addiction towards a dish called 地三鲜, literally translated as the three fresh earthly vegetables(incidentally there's only one root vegetable in the mix). Unfortunately, I've not been able to find this dish in any Chinese restaurant in Singapore or New York since I left China. But my pining ended on Friday when I stepped foot into Waterfront International Enterprise.
With a name like that, one might have thought that the eatery dabbled in the import/export business of seafood. Instead, Waterfront International Enterprise is the sole restaurant in New York (at least to my knowledge) specializing in an arsenal of Northeastern Chinese cuisine. Compared to the refined and delicate cuisine found in the southern coastal regions of Canton and Shanghai, Northeastern food is exceedingly humble in terms of looks and cost, cooked to satisfy one's hunger on a cold winter night in Liaoning rather than to elevate one's tastebuds via haute cuisine. Even the spartan dining room reflected such sensibilities. But the hearty fare, competently cooked and rich with the flavor of soy sauce, garlic and pickled vegetables nonetheless made for a very tasty dinner.
We started the meal with a complimentary dish of pickled spicy cabbage not unlike Korean kimchi and salty roasted peanuts which would have made for good bar snacks except we weren't drinking beer. We ordered a plate of boiled pork and chives dumplings, which I inhaled in the dozens while in Beijing but ate daintily with my colleagues. Our meat dish of the day was a casserole filled with dark soy-based liquid, braised wild mushrooms and chicken. The thick stew was wonderfully aromatic, earthy with the addition of the braised mushrooms. The chicken was flavorful, and not cooked to an unrecognizable mush, a fate that befalls many over-boiled chicken. Translucent glass noodles in the bowl soaked up the rest of the stew and we fished those slippery threads with gusto.
And how can I forget my 地三鲜, an unhealthy vegetarian dish consisting of my favorite deep fried eggplant, potato and fresh green pepper? It was as I remembered, the viscous soy-based sauce, crispy potatos, mushy eggplants and spicy slivers of green peppers melding together to form a dish perfect mixed with rice. We only had a minor quibble with the potato, which should be crunchier rather than crumbly, most possibly due to the use of mealy russet potatos. But with this being the only rendition found in the city, I am not complaining. In fact, with the prolific list of hard to find Chinese dishes such as cold bean sheet salad, various chicken and lamb innards, spicy fried crawfish and sweet, caramelized root vegetables and fruit served alongside a vat of iced water, I'm already plotting my next trip. Any takers for a weekend eating trip to the outer boroughs?

Waterfront International Enterprise
40-09 Prince St (Roosevelt Ave)
Flushing, Queens
(718) 321-1363

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