What are your thoughts on fusion? Does it ever work well? I’m curious because, in my recent experience, it falls flat and disappoints. Maybe I’ve just been seeking fusion in the wrong places.
Tangra, an Indian-Chinese fusion restaurant, is precisely one of those wrong places. With its more Indian than Chinese decor and heavy menu, it emanates an almost regal feel. In its front window, Tangra showcases its positive reviews from newspapers. But don’t be confused by the ambience and accolades. The food doesn’t deliver.
We started our meal with lollypop chicken and chicken corn soup. My dining partner enjoyed the soup, which was thicker than I expected it to be. The lollypop chicken pieces were the only truly edible parts of the overall meal. My dining partner has this theory that the lollypop chicken are wings with all the meat scraped to one end of the bone. I’m not sure about this, but am willing to go along with it. Then, the meat is deep fried. The dish is served with a tangy orange-colored pickled-tasting sauce that nicely compliments the chicken. It’s delicious and Tangra does lollypop chicken better than anyone else in the neighborhood.
For an entree, I ordered chicken with mixed vegetables with the Tangra masala sauce. There was cauliflower in this mixed vegetable array, which is a no-no in my book. Anyway, the Tangra masala sauce was very spicy and not much else.
My dining partner ordered the “crispy” ginger beef, which should be called “chewy and disgusting” ginger beef. I couldn’t even swallow a mouthful of it. The beef was stringy and gnarled, and just gross. I couldn’t get past its texture. He didn’t enjoy his dish, to say the least.
Overall, Tangra is fine if you’re looking for Indian-Chinese fusion. Steer clear of the crispy ginger dishes, but do try a mango lassi. It turned out surprisingly well.
3923 Queens Boulevard
Take the 7 to 40th Street and walk one block east.
You know, of course, “fusion” in the case of Tangra isn’t the same as some cocky FCI grad’s Smith Street mash-up of Mexican and Vietnamese or something. Tangra is fusion based on cuisine traditions of Chinese immigrants who live in India. The way Cuban-Chinese food exists.
Thus one would expect very different results from a Richard Sandoval trend-seeking spot.
You’re totally right, Robert. I think you make a valid point about Tangra’s fusion.