Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Upi Jaya

Upi Jaya - 76-04 Woodside Avenue (Indonesian)
An unpretentious, tasty Indonesian restaurant - located in the foodie heaven known as Queens.

Granted, the neighborhood offers quite a bit of culinary competition, covering enough Asian ground to warrant a geography lesson. The temptation to stop is great, for the drive brings a foodie past several formidable alternatives - from Tibetan Yak to Sripraphai's northern Isaan competitor, Zabb Thai. But the goal tonight was Upi Jaya - and I'm glad I persevered.

Like many of the best Queens restaurants, the space in Upi Jaya is small, but neatly decorated. The service is warm and cheerful - and the menu makes the trip worthwhile. For alongside classics such as Rendang Daging and Opor Ayam are items that you just can't find in Manhattan....including Ketoprak (vermicelli rice, with bean sprouts, tofu and a peanut gravy) and Lontong Sayur (a curry vegetable dish, served over compressed cubes of glutinous rice.)

Then there's the drink/dessert menu, offering items never dreamed of in Max Brenner's philosophy. Thankfully going past the standard Americanized offerings of ice cream, Upi Jaya serves sweets such as Kueh Ku and Lupis (glutinous rice patties with ground coconut and palm sugar.) A full selection of sweet drinks finishes the night, from Es Teler to Es Pokat (a thick avocado shake, blended with chocolate, sugar and condensed milk.) The food could have been spicier - but the sweets were just right.

As was the price - $15.00 for the cost of dinner, dessert, and an Es Pokat. I think I've found a new favorite (and yet another reason to move to Queens.)

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