When I first moved to New York in 2008, a cousin was living in a tiny studio apartment in a brand new building in Forest Hills. I really knew nothing about Queens, so I didn’t know anything about Forest Hills. At the time when I used to go visit him, I’d wonder why Austin Street was so dull. It was mostly a bunch of generic chain restaurants, sub-par pizza and Italian/American spots, and a couple of Asian fusion type restaurants. It was NOT a place I would ever consider a foodie/dining destination.
Well, Fast forward 15 years, and I love Forest Hills as a place to eat. A lot of those chains I was not a fan of are now gone, replaced by individual businesses as well as some small New York chains like Tacombi. Forest Hills also has a number of notable and authentic Chinese restaurants, ranging from Shanghainese to Sichuanese, and having gone to a few of these places, the quality is really, really good. Today, I came out here to dine with friends who live here, and we ate at the very first ramen restaurant to open in Forest Hills years ago. Their first location was in Astoria, and they decided when branching out that their second location would be in Forest Hills. Listening to their wait staff and kitchen staff, the employees are actually almost all Japanese, which was also remarkable and not something I would have imagined 15 years ago when my cousin lived in this neighborhood. And nearby, there are also other interesting, lesser known cuisines: Georgian, Uzbeki, just to name some. It’s been fun to watch Forest Hills evolve and be another place to go to for food.