On busy Utopia Parkway near the pretty Clearview Gardens in Whitestone, a newly-designed gem of a restaurant has opened, Red Chop. It offers authentic Sichuan cooking and a sushi bar under the renowned leadership of famous Sichuan cook, chef Shen.
Arriving in Queens with 40 years of experience as a Sichuan cook, chef Shen was born in Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province in southwest China. A city of 3.5 million people, it offers endless dining experiences. It’s home to the spicy Chinese cooking that the region is famous for. The secret to great Sichuan cooking is the subtlety of the spices, the blending to achieve a variety of tastes. After dining there I can tell you they are serving deliciously tasty food — hot and spicy, adapted to your taste buds.
Chef Shen comes from a family of chefs and was trained by his father’s side since he was 18. After establishing his own reputation at fine hotels in China he came to America in the late 1990s, working at the finest Manhattan restaurants. Now he is co-owner of Red Chop, and are you in for a treat.
We began our meal with a selection from the soup menu. Although Red Chop offers the usual hot & sour soup and wonton or egg drop soup for $7, we shared a crab meat and asparagus soup that was in an egg drop broth with chunks of the fish. Delicious!
Then we ordered one of chef Shen’s unique dishes, a hand-rolled eggplant enhanced by a delicate Sichuan garlic sauce. It’s not to be missed. Every dish can be prepared to your liking, from mild spicy to very spicy. We went with medium spicy and enjoyed every bite from the plentiful portions.
Another entree, this time from the poultry choices, was a diced chicken with baby shrimp in a Peking sauce. It was perfectly prepared, juicy and fall-off-the-fork tender. From the seafood choices we ate the sauteed flounder with mixed vegetables, also a good choice.
Red Chop has a sushi chef preparing lunch specials and at dinner we had multiple selections from the Red Chop special sushi offering tuna, salmon and yellowtail — an impressive platter that could have been our whole meal.
We had to try the unique dessert choices, fried ice cream, Japanese style fried bananas and an outrageous and not-to-be-missed banana split!
Red Chop boasts multiple lunch specials Monday to Friday served with white or vegetable fried rice and a choice of spring roll, soup or soda, all for the small sum of $6.50. They even deliver, so having lunch here is cheaper than cooking at home and oh so delicious. And I must tell you, Wendy, the manager, is there to greet you and made us feel so welcome I can’t wait to return. Try it, you will love it!
20-02 Utopia Parkway
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12:30 to 11:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 10:30 p.m.
Major credit cards accepted