Tangra, Sunnyside

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.

Tangra

3923 Queens Boulevard

Sunnyside, Queens

Take the 7 to 40th Street and walk one block east. 

Anise Fusion, Sunnyside

According to the Sunnyside Post, Anise Fusion is an Indian/Chinese restaurant. I disagree. They have a number of Thai dishes on their menu and only a few hints of Indian (the mango lassi is the biggest giveaway). Regardless of their ethnic origins, their menu has too much going on and not enough flavor.

We decided to order from Anise Fusion as a function of Hurricane Irene. What restaurants would be open during the catastrophic event? We thought we’d try the new place in the face of the end of the world (as reported by the TV meteorologists).

anise fusion lollipop chicken

lollipop chicken

For appetizers, we opted for the lollipop chicken and chive pancake.

We ordered the lollipop chicken because we had been so fond of Tangra’s. There were four pieces, all of which were crisp and light on the meat, as they should be. Both my dining partner and I enjoyed them.  Anise Fusion definitely does the dish justice.

The chive pancake was a disappointment. Dark green and cut up into bite-size pieces, the pancake lacked flavor and was accompanied by a soy-like sauce.  I wouldn’t recommend it. Yum Yum Queens puts out a much better rendition.

My dining partner ordered tofu with cashew nut sauce, a Chinese delicacy. It lacked flavor and punch, though I liked the inclusion of pineapples in the dish.

anise fusion "red curry"

"red curry"

I got the red curry with chicken, a Thai specialty. I make red curry with tofu at home all the time and it comes out just fine–a thickened sauce with bamboo shoots, peas, and green beans. This is what I expected of Anise Fusion, at the very least. I was sorely disappointed. The red curry sauce was thin and flavorless, and there was an ample presence of bamboo shoots–an almost overwhelming presence–without anything else. I usually like to see some vegetables in my red curry. Anise Fusion didn’t deliver. I wouldn’t recommend ordering red curry from there–again, Yum Yum does a much better job with this dish.

If you’re looking for Indian food, try Saffron Gardens. If you want Thai, try Yum Yum. If you desire fusion, definitely go to Tangra, which is right around the corner from Anise Fusion. You can get take-out from all of these places (I’m almost certain). Don’t waste your time with Anise Fusion. The best part of my meal was the Thai iced tea that I ordered–but, honestly, who can screw that up?

Anise Fusion

4343 41st Street (between 43rd Avenue and Queens Boulevard)

Sunnyside, NY

Take the 7 to 40th Street and walk one block east.