International Restaurant Row

Filet Mignon
2008/08/18 14:55:33
Today my daughter started in a new high school and I thought I'd take a walk around the neighborhood. The school is in Queens in a area called "Dutch Kills" which is a old working class neighborhood fairly close to Manhattan between Long Island City and Astoria.

Since I heard Queens was "diverse" I checked out one random street (36 Ave, between 29 and 35 Streets, which are pretty short blocks). This is what I found (and I am not kidding, I recorded it):

First, a Baskins Robbins, next door New York Bagel Shop (which also featured tortas and tortillas), Chinese place and an Italian deli.

Across the street: three Brazilian restaurants, one featuring pizza, followed by a general grocery that specialized in tamales. Next was a Venezuelan place specializing in arepas, across the street was an Italian restaurant and then a place with food from the Dominican Republic.

Ok: next block: Tequila Sunrise (featuring tapas), Greek seafood restaurant,Ecuadorian restaurant, Thai restaurant and Halal place.
Next block: French creperie, Cuban restaurant and Chinese-Mexican (?)
The last block had a (real) Irish pub, ended with "Mediterreanean and American Gourment Food" place.

I stopped in a small shop to buy a drink - the clerk was Korean, and the food listed on posters included Chicken Teriyaki,Philly sandwiches, gyros and Cuban sandwiches.

In the other direction: Bangladeshi restaurant, Italian restaurant, a place called Alladin's but had Indian food, three bakeries (Indian, Italian and Panderia), and a Chinese take-out.

In between, there were 3 new restaurants being remodeled, and three more "American cafes". There was also one Muslim mosque and three hispanic Pentcostal churches. And a few small apratments houses and sundry stores.

Well, like WOW!! This was not even a "special" neighborhood, not "known" like Jackson Heights or Flushing. I'm sure there's lots of other little "diverse" areas all over the city. And the people on the street were just as diverse! And, PS most meals were well below $15.

Now, I ask: Do any of you have these diverse restaurant enclaves? Where? What do you recommend?
Filet Mignon
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/18 15:01:16
In reply to myself (?) I meant to ask (I don't think I was clear), if any of you live places where you get this kind of mixing-up? I know Falls Church VA is an ethnic stew, so I'm curious about other such locales....
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/18 15:07:55
In all honesty I never have and never do want to be a city dweller but if I were ever to be one the biggest reason would be because of the topic of this thread, I don't know if I'm correct in saying this but I think it's BillyBoy that lives in the city and he has on numerous times made me jealous with his posts for the sheer magnitude of variety that city living offers.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/18 15:25:24

I miss my small town of San Rafael, CA. For a long time it was on the cusp of deterioration and not a destination for much of anything, and 4th St. was dead by 7 PM. Then folks from the Mlll Valley Film Festival and I think, George Lucas changed the old theatre into a state of the art place for unique films.
The whole town changed after that. Though not as ethnicaly diverse, there arose whole blocks of restaurants featuring a variety of choices.
Sushi, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Irish pubs, Brew pubs, Indian, and more...even American!!!

Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/18 15:33:30
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Ave's of Seattle. It's a slew of mixed ethnic restaraunts. Then throw in the International district at the southern tail end of them, the Pike's market area (which is kinda on 1st ave anyway) and the Queen Ann district on the north end of them, and you're set for a gastronomical epic adventure.

I too was born and raised a deep country boy. But I love the culinary adventure of the big city.
Filet Mignon
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/18 20:21:17
All this makes me wonder if you are an immigrant to US, and you have your own "foodways" but then you move to one of these diverse areas, you have a chance to taste other ethnic (immigrant) ethnic foods, so then you get this real mix-up: like the Chinese-Mexican place. Then, one food influences the other, maybe ingredients and cooking techniques migrate too (cilantro?) so ethnic foods fused with other ethnic foods. Stir fried burritos, perhaps?

I know the idea of American as a melting pot is "out" and USA as "tossed salad" is "in", but our foods may be becoming a melange. Or something.
Filet Mignon
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/20 19:59:00
Originally posted by NYNM

In reply to myself (?) I meant to ask (I don't think I was clear), if any of you live places where you get this kind of mixing-up? I know Falls Church VA is an ethnic stew, so I'm curious about other such locales....

There are a few streets in San Francisco that are that way. One recent addition is Polk St. It used to be a little sleezy (porno stores, runaways selling drugs and each other) but it seems to be making a comeback with restaurants from places like India, China, Japan, Thailand, Afghanistan, various other parts of the Middle East, Greece, Italy and the good old US of A (including Swan Oyster Bar which many here know and Brenda's, a really good Cajun/creole place). There is also a mosque there--it seems to serve people from Yemen. And there is a new, architecturally very interesting Church of Christ.

Geary Blvd. is 6 miles or so long and I doubt there exists a country on earth (or a region in the US) that isn't represented by a restaurant somewhere on Geary. On it's western stretches it traverses SF's largest Russian and Eastern European community so you get a lot of that sort of thing, but further downtown it's very mixed from BBQ through various Asian and all the rest.

There are lots of other streets with a focus like Asian. Clement St, for example, has restaurants from just about any Asian country or ethnic minority you can name. And Columbus Ave. is the heart of North Beach (Little Italy).
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/24 13:27:45
I think Washington Street in Hoboken NJ, would qualify.

The city of Hoboken is only a mile square, but packs a great punch of culinary variety. Especially on Washington St.

Italian restaurants as well as pizzerias, Asian, Asian fusion, Bagels, Bakeries, Bodegas, Cuban, Delis, French, German, Greek, Hot Dogs, Indian, Irish Pubs, Japanese, Juice Bars, Latin, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Produce a plenty, Spanish, Steakhouses, Tapas, Tea, Subs, & Vegetarian ect., all within a nice little walk up & down Washington Street. Not to mention many other places on Sinatra Dr, and many other "side" street restaurants off the main "drag" of Washington St.

A VERY short Path train (5-10 minutes) ride from Manhattan.

Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/24 15:11:27
I live one block off a mini restaurant row that includes 3 Chinese, 2 Vietnamese, 2 Middle Eastern, 1 soon to open Thai, 1 Indian, 1 pizza/sub place, 3 bar and grills, 1 pseudo Louisiana type place, 1 Chipotle, 2 coffee places, 1 upscale contemporary cafe, 3 bars and and 2 ice cream/hot dog stands. None of the people that own these places live in the immediate area, so it's not like my neighborhood is full of Asians, Indians and Arabic people. Those people have just chosen to open restaurants on this particular street. Most of these places are just average, with the exception of a couple of them. Lots of restaurants, just not too many I care to eat at with any regularity.
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/24 15:21:22
Great idea NYNM. My childhood in northwestern New Mexico did not offer near the variety that Buford Hwy in Atlanta has.

Your comment on Chinese-Mexican brought a couple of thoughts to mind. My guess is that the place is run by Mexican immigrants of Chinese ancestry. Here in metro Atlanta we have Indian Chinese, which is a food mix brought to Georgia by Chinese who immigrated to the United States from India. The Chinese and the Indian influences are easy to see. During my childhood, our family spent a vacation in Guaymas, Sonora on the Gulf of Mexico. My father asked a local where the best place to eat was. He responded with a question - Did we want the best Mexican food or did we just want the best food. We were directed to an A&W Root Beer stand run by a Greek immigrant. We left satisfied that we had found the best food in Guaymas.
Filet Mignon
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/28 11:01:13
Since I thought up this topic I've been keeping my eyes open. I passed 10th Ave around W. 49th St. in Manhattan yesterday. With two short blocks, on one side of the street, I saw: an Italian Pizza place, neaxt door a Dominican place, next door a Chinese restaurant. The next block was a "general" diner-type place, next door a Thai place, a few door down, an Ethiopian. I think the next block was an Irish pub. Not too far away is a block of Brazilian restaurants.

My point is that these are not tourist type places, they are almost "hidden in plain sight." (probably almost evertwhere in NYC if you just open your eyes) A sort of restaurant United Nations....
Junior Burger
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/29 11:56:30
To expand on WarToad's Seattle reply: In a 10-square block area in Seattle's Belltown, you'll find, among others - Thai, Caribbean, Moroccan, Mexican, Hawaiian, Indian, Italian, and Japanese, along with one darn good BBQ joint, a fairly genuine NY-style sandwich shop, a hot-dog specialty shop, and a couple of "Northwest"-style fish joints. Not to mention a couple dozen sketchy bars.
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/08/29 12:02:01
I love it! Only in America.
Junior Burger
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/09/12 21:22:47
Originally posted by Twinwillow

I love it! Only in America.

Far from it. All the best eating areas of Paris are equally diverse, and just last month I ate in a wonderful buffet (of all things!) in Leeds, England which featured authentic Indian, Thai, Chinese, Italian and Polish sections, staffed accordingly. This in a city which 20 years ago didn't offer much other than fried fish and gray meat pies.

I'll give you 'only in America' quality wise though. Much of the rest of the world has the same diversity and vibrancy, but 4 out of every 10 places would be duds in, say, Leeds, compared to no more than 1 out of 10 in NYC in my experience.
Filet Mignon
RE: International Restaurant Row 2008/10/19 13:21:45
The Village Voice has its annual Best of NY edition, out this week. They have a section on "Best Ethnic Restaurants by Nation" in NYC area, here are just a few that are represented (L-S):
South African
Sri Lankan

Would be great to try them all!!

Many years ago I had a boyfriend who decided we'd have another nationality food every Friday. We kept busy for a year! (and that was just in Greenwich Village).