Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Condos line Center Street in the Hunters Point section of Long Island City, one of the Queens neighborhoods that became an alternative to living in Manhattan.  Some years back a ferry was created to go to and from East 34th Street in Manhattan. Along with living spaces that are still in construction come the eateries from food trucks to fine dining, such as SHI, an Asian Fusion enterprise owned by brother Shih and Skinny Lee, Taiwanese-American siblings.

Enter through a Chinese treasure of wooden doors into a welcoming lounge with cushiony chairs and sofas.  Few seating at the bar encourages people to relax, listen to the music, or even get up and dance.  I would imagine that locals meet up here to socialize.  Yes, they do have a “happy hour.”

SHI is quite large with several areas of dining accommodations.  On a busy night the noise level can be a bit up there.  You can opt for outdoor seating with a view of the Manhattan skyline.  Sunset and after makes it easy to point out the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and the United Nations as the restaurant is located a few blocks from the ferry landing.  Check out the swing chair in the patio. 

There is a sushi bar on one end. You are welcome to stand and watch the chefs create.  Chef Lai comes from Hong Kong and Seow Chan the General Manager 

of SHI is from Malaysia.  She was most helpful in the selections of food especially in describing the menu items and country influence.  I went with my friend Deveka who loves spicy food.  I have some tolerance. 

Sushi?  That means sake!  That’s an influence I learned from “Rocky” Aoki.  A small bottle of Junmai Dai Ginjo was quite refreshing and smooth, sharing and drinking slowly, toasting with “Kampai.”

We start with some sushi appetizers. There was a special called Thunderdome. Slices of avocado create the dome.  Underneath it is stuffed with spicy tuna. It sits in seaweed salad that wasn't spicy allowing for the tuna to stand out. Topped with red fish roe.

Next is tuna, yellow tail and amberjack sashimi with a Medusa Roll that has salmon, mozzarella cheese and jalapeno topped with caramelized onions. They are certainly not stingy with the size of the sashimi. I loved the textures from the cheese and onions.

An appetizer that intrigued me was the Lychee Calamari. Pieces of lychee nut blended into the batter as well as some batter dipped lychee. Calamari not rubbery and lychee gave a different sweet taste. Dipping sauce is a sweet chili.

Onto the entrees, we first indulged in the Chicken lettuce wrap of chicken (obviously), fried noodles, raisins, and peanuts. They use Boston lettuce. Hoisin sauce on the side (I think it was the right side).  

Fried flounder fillet with sweet chili sauce. Fresh sautéed broccoli accompanied this.  Hey, you have to have veggies. Chili sauce is mild and "spicy tolerable" for me.

Next was a Vietnamese dish of rice noodles with chicken, crushed peanuts, scallions, red onions, carrots and bean sprouts. Sweet chili sauce served with this one, too. 

Beef Beancake. Tofu beancake had some "chew". Beef (Did that surprise you)? Jalapeno peppers. Needed to pick them out. Deveka didn't have to. 

It was at this point that we ordered a drink called “Freshy” which is made with lychee juice, cucumber juice, a bit of lime juice shaken, topped with soda & served on the rocks in a tall glass.  A must to try.  

We did have to save a little room for dessert (There is always a doggy bag).  Banana wrapped in egg roll wrapper, fried and served with ice cream.

Shi also has a “to go” section which is located on the outside with a separate entrance.   Seow tells me that most people ordering tend to get appetizers such as vegetable spring roll, bacon wrapped shrimp, dumpling, or lychee calamari. As for entrees they get the more common sesame chicken, general tso chicken, lo mein or fried rice.  As for sushi the popular ones are California roll, spicy tuna roll, salmon roll, or sashimi.

There is a dj on Saturday evenings playing “house music.”  SHI is not a nightclub setting.  I do recommend reservations (Phone number (347-242-2450) as it is such an “in” place.  Address is 47-20 Center Street.  

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