Hunan Taste

3 Northern Boulevard Greenvale, NY 516-621-6616

Dungeness crab is stir-fried at Hunan Taste in

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

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Type: Chinese Price range:

$$$ (Expensive)


For a generation, Hunan Taste has been a mainstay on the North Shore. And it still has a fresh look, along with professional service. But you do have to order carefully here. There can be as many misses as hits. Consider the chicken Soong and the scallion pancakes instead of the cold noodles with sesame sauce and the pork-and-shrimp dumplings. Skip the barbecued spare ribs, barbecued beef sticks and the egg roll. Hot-and-sour soup is a bit medicinal; wonton soup, an improvement. Tangerine beef and sesame beef are on the chewy side. You're better off with General Tso'c chicken, but be sure to say you want spicy. Likewise, General Tso's shrimp (he got around). The steamed lobster is listed under "light cuisine," and it's respectable; so's the lobster in ginger-scallion sauce. Avoid the "citrus prawns," with pineapple and citrusy sauce, in favor of the battered crispy shrimp. "Seafood chardonnay" brings in shrimp, scallops and lobster. You also can order moo go gai pan, kung po chicken, chicken chow mein and the like.


Mon-Thurs: noon-9:30 p.m.; Fri: noon-10:30 p.m.; Sat: 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sun: 1 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.



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Notable dishes:

Chicken Soong, lobster with ginger and scallions, General Tso's chicken.

How I love this dish: shredded pork with dried bean curd and yellow leeks. It’s not on the menu at Hunan Taste in Greenvale; I discovered it when, more than a year ago, I requested that the kitchen make me something that the staff eats for dinner. I could eat this for dinner a few nights a week. The salty porkiness of the dish is tempered by the strips of dried bean curd (which has much more character than regular tofu) and the sweetness of the leeks. There’s very little sauce to speak of—just enough to moisten the white rice that makes a perfect accompaniment. (I’ve had this dish with chicken instead of pork and it’s still very good.)

You can see in the background two terrific vegetables—sauteed snow pea leaves, left, and string beans, right. We began our meal with a seafood soup that could have used a little more flavor (besides the salt), a good special appetizer of shrimp fried in bean-curd skin, meaty grilled shrimp and fried rice that, like the soup, could have used more oomph. (More pork?)


Blog Post from March 2009

Last week I had a terrific first meal at Hunan Taste in Greenvale. I was the guest of a longtime patron who assured me that the kitchen would do whatever I asked. So, when Calvin Hu, one of the owners, came over to take our order I asked that he pretend that I was Chinese. Blank stare. I elaborated: Please can you ask the chef to make me the kind of dinner that he might make for himself or his family. I like fish, I added.

For a first course Hu brought out a Peking duck, expertly sliced and served, rolled in a pancake, with shredded scallions and dark sauce. Delicious, if not overly adventurous. Next he delivered a whole black sea bass, showered with ginger and scallions and perfectly steamed, along with a big platter of snow-pea leaves. It was only when Hu saw me happily picking the meat out of the fish’s cheeks that he understood I was serious. There ensued a conversation in which I introduced myself and told him how passionate I was about authentic Chinese food. Hu, in turn, explained how hard it was to sell such food—full of bones, innards, challenging textures and flavors—to many American diners. But, he said, there were customers who asked for the real deal (often calling ahead of time so that the kitchen could prepare something really special) and he happily accommodated them. I can hardly wait for my second meal.

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