Mulan 136-17 39th Avenue, New York, NY 11354, a restaurant on the second floor of the fancy new mini-mall, Queens Crossing, describes themselves as Modern Asian Cuisine. The decor, very white with some waterfalls, feels rather Miami, and the over-sized bottle of Hewitt Cabernet Sauvignon and Fiji water perched on each table is tacky. Perhaps I am projecting but I thought I felt the waitresses embarrassment as she came over and removed the bottles that no one wants.

It was Father’s Day in Flushing, the land of no reservations (or seldom), where all our favorite places were spilling over with long waits, and we were relegated to try Mulan, where it was only about half full. I had high hopes that it would be surprisingly good though, because I’m pretty sure if a good high-end restaurant opened up in Flushing, it still wouldn’t do that well. The general population there is used to a certain value of portion per price. Plus, the cheap restaurants are already insanely good so why pay more for the decor that few in my parents generation care about.

My first taste was not a good one, the tea might as well be just hot water. As we browsed the menu, my hopes started to slide, as I saw the mish-mosh of JiangZhe, Cantonese, and Fusion dishes. They actually note on the menu which dish was intended to be which.

Sausage Puff, a fusion dish, was just a well plated version of something you could buy in the frozen section of Costco. Some puff pastry wrapped around mediocre sausage, topped with black and white sesame seeds, sliced into four bite-sized pieces, is appalling at $6.

Sausage Puffs

The Soft Shell Crab was a bit damp and pretty flavorless, but I did like the simple mango and cucmber slaw underneath. It was refreshing with a tinge of ginger.

Soft Shell Crabs

The Pepper Steak had a simple black peppercorn flavor. Each piece was medium-rare, a nice touch for me, but the dish was confusing because of the sizes. The pieces were too big to eat in one bite, but small enough that I felt very awkward cutting each one into three pieces.

Pepper Steak

The Braised Tofu with Crabmeat Sauce was bland, a complete waste of crabmeat that you could see but could not taste.

Braised Tofu with Crabmeat Sauce

We ordered the Bacon and Raisin Fried Rice, but then found no bacon or raisins. We suspect they gave us the wrong dish. We remembered something like a Wild Rice Fried Rice, which this looked like, but when we asked the waiter, he went to the kitchen and checked, and came back insisting this was the Bacon and Raisin Fried Rice. I was willing to let go of the bacon because it had Chinese sausage that perhaps they just translated poorly and called bacon, but we showed him that there were no raisins, but he insisted there was no mistake. What we got was actually quite good, probably my favorite of the dishes (kinda sad huh?) but just not what we had ordered.

Fried Rice

Long Chien Chilean Sea Bass was a beautiful dish, but some parts of the fish was over-cooked, while the peas were under-cooked. The fried tea leaves on top were very interesting and tasty, so we will give credit for that.

Long Chien Tea Chilean Sea Bass

When the Wu-bsi Ribs arrived, they looked very red, so I asked the waitress if there was any artificial food coloring. At first, she didn’t really understand, but then claimed no, no certainly not. I didn’t trust her answer though, so I asked another waiter, who said, yes indeed, there is food coloring in there. So, I sadly watched as my family ate the ribs, but everyone told me I wasn’t missing much. Despite looking so saucy, there was no flavor besides pure sugar, and two large pieces were left on the plate even though we left this dinner hungry.

Wu-bsi Ribs

The Malaysian Conch had a great flavor, very reminiscent of Sa Cha Sauce, which I adore. The eggplant pieces that soaked up the most flavor were particularly good, but the conch was so-so, the slicing being a little too thick which made them more challenging to chew.

Malaysian Conch

The bill came out to $153.89 (about $179 with tip), which is steep in Flushing, and we weren’t quite full. The bill says, “WE SUGGEST 20% GRATUITY” which almost made me laugh out loud. Try as they did seem to, they didn’t do anything at all impressive. The dishes were served family style which requires less work and they weren’t even served in the right progression. They were not able to describe dishes or answer questions well, and frankly, when a customer shows you that there are no raisins in a dish that called for raisins, you don’t just insist that this is the dish. Other than putting a bit more emphasis on plating, Mulan is a completely failed attempt at being upscale. When you’re in Flushing, you have way better choices. Do not waste time and calories on this one.

posted by jessica at 05:13 PM Filed under Avoid Like the Plague, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.