Sunnyside, Queens

The Water Taxi Beach mastermind Harry Hawk shows us where he eats.

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  • Hanami; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

  • Natural Tofu and Noodles Restaurant; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

  • La Vienesa Bakery; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

  • Baruir Coffee; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

  • Turkish Grill; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

  • Superior Supermarket; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

  • El Triangulo Restaurant and Bakery; Photographs by Daniel Krieger

Hanami; Photographs by Daniel Krieger


Hanami
Hawk—a twice-weekly regular—has plenty of praise for this Chelsea-sleek Japanese eatery with a Nepalese twist: "The sushi is good enough, the fish is fresh, and the rice is vinegary and loosely packed...but it's best to come here for the Nepalese food," he says over a steam basket of momo (gingery chicken dumplings), crackling panko-coated fried chicken legs and delicious, fat-ridged strips of salmon skin (pictured). "They feed the gringos the sushi." 39-11 Queens Blvd between 39th St and 39th Pl (718-361-8232)


Natural Tofu & Noodles Restaurant
A window provides a glimpse of this Korean eatery's kitchen, where rice simmers in an army of cast-iron pots. "This is the closest you're going to get to made-to-order rice in New York," says Hawk, bemoaning the overcooked grains offered at some Asian restaurants. Here he generally goes for a stew, like the seafood soft tofu ($7.95), thick with oysters, shrimp, clams and green onions. 40-06 Queens Blvd between 40th and 41st Sts (718-706-0899)


La Vienesa Bakery
"This stuff isn't for the mall crowd," says Hawk, gesturing toward La Vienesa's lunch counter, where he comes to explore the range of Colombian pastries and blistered sausages. "They are making this for their countrymen. A place like this can't make bad Colombian food, because their people wouldn't come to eat it." 39-44 Queens Blvd between 39th Pl and 40th St (718-786-2924)


Baruir Coffee
Hawk's Spidey-sense brings us to Baruir ("Somebody's roasting coffee!"), where we discover a purveyor of fragrant beans since 1966. Hawk's new to the store, but admires its giant roaster and potent espresso, which bears a lacy layer of crema. The Armenian peddler also features sundry dried fruits and Middle Eastern cheeses. 40-07 Queens Blvd between 40th and 41st Sts (718-784-0842)


Turkish Grill
This unassuming storefront is Hawk's go-to for solid Mediterranean food. "They understand the pace of a meal," he says of the Turkish Grill, where he likes to languish over meze and grilled meats. "That's as juicy a lamb as you're going to get," he declares, eviscerating a chop of halal meat from a small Pennsylvania farm. "I hit it with some lemon, and there's always some grilled pepper to balance it out." 42-03 Queens Blvd between 41st and 42nd Sts (718-392-3838)


Superior Supermarket
"When I need a piece of meat I can call up Pat LaFrieda," Hawk boasts of the A-list meat purveyor. But for small meals, he often heads to this general grocery store, filled with hefty trays of lamb leg and short rib. "On off days we've done the short ribs on the barbecue," he says, referring to the custom-built smoker Water Taxi Beach stores for Chelsea barbecue spot RUB. "We've bought leg of lamb, broken it down and done lamb tacos." Superior also has an excellent produce department—leafy cilantro, gleaming red peppers—and an incredible selection of international craft beers. 40-08 Queens Blvd between 40th and 41st Sts (718-392-3178)


El Triangulo Restaurant and Bakery
"I like the coffee," says Hawk over a steaming cup of black Colombian java. "On a rainy day at the beach, when we're not busy, my partner Tony and I will come down here." He also enjoys the range of pastries, including the pan con queso—a flaky crescent stuffed with queso blanco—and a guava-filled doughnut (pictured). Glancing across the street at an Associated Supermarket papered with sale signs, Hawk adds, "I defy you to find a lot of grocery stores that would have beef tripe as one of the advertised specials." 44-08 Greenpoint Ave between 44th and 45th Sts (718-786-5919)

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