Restaurant Review: Oneness-Fountain-Heart

Oneness-Fountain-Heart Restaurant
157-19 72nd Avenue
(between Parsons Boulevard and Aguilar Avenue)
Kew Gardens Hills, Queens

Vegiboys Rating (3/4)

Kew Gardens Hills holds little of interest to the NYC tourist, and its distance from mass transit (the closest trains are the 7, E, and F – all fall well outside the neighborhood) may dissuade even most New Yorkers from ever visiting. Within its confines however, lies Oneness Fountain Heart, a restaurant that makes the journey worthwhile for intrepid vegetarian foodies. As one of the eateries established by the Sri Chinmoy religious sect, you’ll find a space geared towards proselytizing for a very particular lifestyle (an alcove in the dining room stocked with informational books and pamphlets is topped by a television broadcasting a video loop of Mr. Chinmoy’s athletic feats).

Unlike Annam Brahma though, the religious overtones are much lower-key; the alcove, a few photos on the walls, and a small dias with a memorial table definitely mark the restaurant as part of their missionary network, but overall the restaurant just feels like a calm oasis. The dining room is painted with oceanside blues and whites, with decorative sand, fountains, and floral foliage all adding to the pacifying effect.

Our servers also helped in giving the restaurant a much more mainstream feel (again unlike Annam Brahma with its aloof and awkward sari-donned Scandinavians). The two waiters were dressed conservatively in kahkis and button-downs, and ours was quick-witted and down-to-earth.

Beginning with our drinks: Brian had a Super Spirulina with the flavor of a freshly-mowed summer lawn. It was strangely refreshing to sip. I had the Brain Toniq, a carbonated water with a muted citrus taste.

The first dish to arrive was a Hungarian goulash special. It was hearty and delicious with plenty of nicely flavored chunks of faux-beef. We had chosen to share a single order, but our server kindly presented half-shares of the goulash in separate bowls for each of us. Included with this starter was a surprisingly satisfying roll, accompanied by an excellent herbal whipped butter.

As a second starter, we tested their vegetarian buffalo wings (continuing on our crusade to find the city’s best). The texture was fascinating; possibly the closest to real chicken that we’ve encountered anywhere. Rather than the sweet barbecue marinades found on other vegi-wings around the city, these wings had the slightly sour and astringent flavor of a more traditional hot wings sauce (the astringency tempered nicely by an included ranch dip). Our sole disappointment with the dish was that we only received three wings; our voracious appetite for buffalo wings would have liked to have seen a few more.

For our entrées, I had chosen a lemon “chicken” wrap. The lemon and hints of rosemary gave the dish a delicate feel, but that could easily be overridden with a thick red salsa included on the side. Brian’s order of the golden lamb had the chunks of seitan (somehow made to taste appropriately gamey, and with a brilliantly infused mint jelly aftertaste) bedded on a wonderful mix of barley and wild rice. Walnuts, onion, spinach, and a melt of cheese rounded out the plate.

We decided experimentation with two desserts was in order. I had a nicely made tropical chiffon. Brian’s tiramisu tasted fine, but had sadly deflated into more of a soup (the server was perhaps a bit too overeager in spooning some extra sauce over the not-entirely-fresh cake).

With an interesting atmosphere, good service, and solid food, Oneness-Fountain-Heart’s isolation from the greater NYC vegetarian community is perhaps one of its few downfalls. However, for the neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hill (and for the noshers ambitious enough to take the trip out) this hidden gem offers a unique, worthwhile experience.

Food (3/4)

Atmosphere & Service

Value (3/4)

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2012

Green Web Hosting! This site hosted by DreamHost.