>> The Hibiscus | Eat the World NYC

05 January 2019

The Hibiscus


In a two month long search to find Queens' best cricket bar for a story that never happened, I kept returning to The Hibiscus in South Richmond Hill. There were stories of the owner coming in long before opening time with his friends to catch a feed from somewhere on the subcontinent, the kind of thing many European expats and football fans in this country do at early opening bars so they can watch English Premier League or Italian Serie A.

The whole space is split into two parts, with the left being a bar ideal for sports. On one visit in the late afternoon, I witnessed a shift change and all the TVs were tuned into cricket replays while the music switched over to Bollywood-type tunes. Because of the dark tinted windows, you cannot see into either side, but the right is a quieter sit down restaurant and takeout counter. This was by far the most busy part of the operation on my visits mostly in the afternoon.

My recommendation at any part of the day though is to choose the door on the left and grab a seat at the bar or at one of the tables on this side. The menu is the same regardless and it just feels more alive over here even during the quiet times. You can get more traditional Caribbean foods in the "West Indian Corner" of the menu, but there is much more to it than that, the appetites of Guyanese are all over the place just like the people who live there.

A lot of the menu, like most Guyanese restaurants in this section of Queens, is devoted to Guyanese-style Chinese food, a mashup with beautiful results. The jerk pork lo mein ($11.95, below) is one of these beauties, luscious and fatty hunks of pork full of pepper and spice placed right on top of overly sweet western-style lo mein noodles.

The combination works well, and so do the rest of the entrees and appetizers that toe this line. Every country with Chinese immigrants (probably every country in the world?) has their own versions of tweaked Chinese foods to cater to local tastes, and Guyanese is up there in the running for the best.

Despite being told by the bartender up at Palm Court of Guyana that Carib Lager had been sold and was not good anymore, I ordered one here just to confirm and this was proven true. The popular Trini beer had lost its way. Also available are super sweet West Indian sodas like the one below, a creamy sorrel that definitely screams to be poured over ice to thin it out.

Sweet things seem to be part of the ride here though, as on top of this food and drink I watched a man come in on my last visit to quickly drink a Grand Marnier on the rocks and take back off. That was new.

The Hibiscus Restaurant & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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