Our 10 Best Restaurants in Elmhurst, Queens
To look at the neighborhood today, with its bustling commercial strips, tidy frame houses, apartment towers, and plentiful parks, you wouldn't know Elmhurst was founded in 1652, when it was named Newtown. By the 19th century, the wafting stink of Newtown Creek caused the town elders to rethink the name, and they came up with Elmhurst--a rather poetic moniker that stuck. The town became part of New York City when it was consolidated into the new borough of Queens in 1898.
Today, only the random twisting and abrupt turns of the streets of Elmhurst recall its colonial heritage. More important, the town became home to one of the broadest collection of ethnicities in New York, as immigrants from 111 foreign countries arrived in the 1980s, making Elmhurst one of city's best places to eat. So hop on the R train, and join us in a tour of the best and most interesting restaurants in the neighborhood.
10. El Jalapeno - This storefront on the northern reaches of Elmhurst's Broadway was once a bakery, which morphed into a grocery store, and then into a nifty little taqueria. You can get all the southern Mexican standards like chiles relleno and chicken mole poblano, but this place also will surprise you with its facility at Tex-Mex. Suffice it to say El Jalapeno offers obscenely opulent nachos (see above) made with good, freshly fried chips, and a mustard-slicked hamburger that may remind you of the Lone Star State's Whataburger. 81-10 Broadway, 718-205-2666
9. JoJu - When this banh mi specialist arrived late last year, it caused a sensation, with lines snaking out the door. It was the first place in the neighborhood to specialize in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, tweaking them for the diverse local population. One skewed version featured Korean bulgogi, while another showcased Japanese braised pork belly. Many patrons, however, go specifically for their kimchee fries, so damp and pungent you'll skip the ketchup. 83-25 Broadway, 347-808-0887
8. La Fusta - This 30-year-old Argentine stalwart―located right across the street from the Elmhurst Hospital emergency room, in case the old ticker stops mid-meal―flaunts a horse-racing theme and offers some of the borough's best-cooked steaks. Go right to the Parrillada section of the menu for a shell steak, pork chops, or sweetbreads, or do the Argentine thing and get one of several mixed grills. Other "don't miss" selections include gnocchi ("noqui" in Spanish) in mixed sauce and grilled calves liver with onions. 80-32 Baxter Avenue, 718-429-8222