2320 Rte. 112 Medford, NY 631-475-3888
Casual restaurant serving Chinese, Japanese and Asian fusion food.Hours: Tues-Thurs: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun: noon-10 p.m.; Mon: closed. Ambience: Fair Service: Fair Credit cards: Accepted Notable dishes: Moo shu pork, kung pao chicken
Golden Star shines brightly on Route 112, the Boulevard of Car Dealerships. In an era when Chinese restaurants seem to be vanishing from the dining landscape, along comes this new oasis for moo shu pork and kung pao chicken.
Times being what they are, the place has a sushi bar, this one presided over by chef Kevin Lin. The restaurant advertises that Lin is considered the second-best sushi chef in the country (seems he won a national sushi contest). Whatever the hype, I must say the guy has a winning way with raw fish.
A simple salmon and avocado roll is nicely turned out, the rice neither too hot nor too cold, too hard nor too soft. The same holds for more ornate maki rolls, such as the spirited "kamikaze" - black pepper tuna, avocado and tempura flakes topped with spicy tuna and roe - and the satisfying "rock's roll" fashioned of white tuna and avocado topped with more white tuna and a tuna-scallion combo. As a welcoming gesture, Lin sends out a gratis shrimp tempura roll. Although I don't usually like fried maki rolls, this one is quite good. I also like his chirashi, the fish fresh and well cut.
The Chinese kitchen aces the soup course, from the spunky hot and sour to the traditional wonton. Chicken corn soup translates into an egg drop base rife with both chicken and corn; I can't get enough.
It's been awhile since I've had such a spot-on rendition of kung pao chicken, dark meat pieces stir-fried with peanuts and hot peppers. A special of Thai lemon-grass chicken is fragrant and tender. I'm especially taken with the restaurant's Singapore mei fun, the curry-spiked rice noodles laced with fresh seafood and chicken.
I pile moo shu pork onto thin pancakes, which I slather with hoisin sauce before rolling up; the result makes for fine eating. I find more contentment in a spicy (but not incendiary) dish of shrimp with garlic eggplant.
Why are there mounds of chopped spicy tuna on an otherwise perfect chirashi plate? There's nothing wrong with the stuff; it simply doesn't belong.
Doughy, weighty steamed dumplings constitute a definite flub. So, too, does the sticky-sweet, heavily battered General Tso's chicken.
The big shortfall here is service. Waitresses don't seem to have a clue, nor a care, about diners' needs. We have to pretty much plead for chopsticks, and a request for three soup bowls results in only two. It takes a while to commandeer that third bowl from another server.
Hopefully, service will improve as the owners educate their team. And while for now it may be hard to get chopsticks or plates, it helps to know that what goes on them is made with care.
Reviewed by Joan Reminick on Nov. 27, 2008.