M & T is more workaday than friendly, but still retains a certain charm of its own on Kissena Boulevard. It focuses on the cuisine of Qingdao, a city in Shandong province, just north of Shanghai. I really like the cheap kitchen cabinets that are used for storage above the cash register, and I think you would have a lot of fun if you could read all the Chinese signs on the walls.
Also, I'm really happy to have any free appetizer, and the little mixed assortment of mushrooms, celery, carrots, and peanuts (below) made for good nibbles before our dishes came.
From seeing it on the posters outside, I knew I would want the farmer style chicken ($9.99, below), a dark-sauced comfort food stewed with peppers and onions. It has a very salty (yet nice) taste, but all the pieces are on the bone and hard to get any substantial pieces of meat from.
The highlight of the meal for me was the sauteed leek with squid ($11.99, below), which had a nice combination of tart and tangy flavors. The squid could have been a bit fresher, but I found myself picking at it the longest of anything.
Another dish I could not pass up was the rainbow fish and lamb ($12.99, below) which unfortunately was not the greatest combination. Both meats tended to have the texture of bad Chinese takeout, and while the lamb was edible, the fish was hardly. In Chinese, the word "fresh" derives from combining the characters of lamb and fish, so thus a new, albeit strange, combination dish has arisen.
The sauteed clam meat with egg ($8.99, below) was a favorite of a couple diners at our table but was definitely not mine. I found the dish too clam-y, too fishy, just too much to overcome the appearance which made it want to taste like an omelet.
The city has enough Qingdao restaurants that I doubt M & T will become the most recognized, but it is still a cuisine that not many people know, so worth trying out.
44-09 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing NY