One Sunday afternoon while sitting around without any idea of what to do with life (which is sadly how many of our Sunday afternoons are spent), we decided to go to that not-so-distant-land called Queens. Why? Because its streets are chock full of food to the tenth power. ...And we have a friend who lives there. We roamed around Elmhurst with slightly growling stomachs until we stumbled upon the nondescript Indonesian restaurant Minangasli. Although neither of us had eaten Indonesian food before, that only gave us more reason to try it.
We started with the waiter's recommendation of gado-gado, a mixture of green beans, carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, tofu and a fried hard-boiled egg smothered in fragrant spicy peanut sauce with a splodge of sweet soy bean sauce, topped with crunchy deep-fried shrimp crackers. If vegetables always came coated in peanut sauce, we'd probably eat them more often. But they're not, so we'll just become nutrient deficient after years of avoiding non-peanut flavored vegetables.
Our main dish, nasi rames ikan balado, featured a chunk of deep fried, lightly crisp king fish with spicy Indonesian chilli sauce on the side, a compact mound of rice and chopped artichoke heart in an unknown sauce of deliciousness that we decided to name "awesome sauce" instead of actually figure out what it was. It was yellow-orange, spicy, and probably one of those sauces that makes everything it touches taste good. If one of those qualities bothers you (traumatized by the color yellow-orange, unable to stomach spiciness, have a dislike of tasty things), don't eat it.
Our friend's dish, nasi rames ayam gulai, was a lot like our dish but with a large hunk of marinated chicken in lemongrass-flavored coconut milk instead of fish. (By "a lot" we actually mean "30%".) We didn't try the chicken, but the ultimate demolition of the bird gave us the impression that it must've ranked somewhat high on the scale of awesomness.
Although we tend to limit our liquid intake only to things in the category of H20, the jus alpukat, avocado juice with melted chocolate, sounded just too good/weird to pass up. So we didn't pass it up. And it was kind of weird. For better or worse it didn't taste too much like avocado—the bulk of the avocado-ness showed through its light green color. Otherwise it was a mildly sweet, thick, slightly slushy shake with a hint of...chocolate syrup. Not bad, but it won't inspire you to follow a life of drinking avocado-based beverages either.
We would have gladly tried a dessert if our stomachs were not already stuffed with a mixture of vegetables, meat, rice, hard boiled egg, various sauces and avocado juice. Oops. Now that we've tasted Indonesian food with little damage to our wallets (each of our dishes was less than $8), we'll definitely go back for more.
Minangasli is located at 86-10 Whitney Avenue, Elmhurst, Queens, 718-429-8207