I’ve heard about this next place from The Fisherman. Finally, on one really chilly night, we went with the Fisherman’s Mama to Picnic Garden in Flushing Queens. He’d been going on, and on, and on about Picnic Garden, and finally I was like, “OKAY! Then take me there, I want to see if Shangra-La, I mean Picnic Garden, is all it’s cracked up to be.
Picnic Garden is a Korean barbecue buffet (BUFFET!!!), where you choose your meat and grill it yourself on a cute little grill at your table. There are also sides like the customary kimchi, (which I found a bit sweet), noodles, some veggies.
The reality is this is all a distraction, it’s a joke, really. The whole objective of a place like Picnic Garden is the meat! If you don’t intend to eat your weight in animal tastiness, then save your money (it’s about $26-$30 a person).
In terms of meat, it runs the gamut. There’s spicy chicken and pork, beef bulgogi, lamb, varieties of offal (luckily I was spared, I wasn’t in an offal mood at that moment), sausages, and seafood. Actually this unappealing looking white sausage turned out to be an amazing pork sausage which really surprised me. They also had Italian sausage, which made me very happy indeed. The seafood, squid and shellfish, was also quite tasty.
Now, with all this meat, one would guess, is that all you eat? Well, not really. The waitstaff is constantly watching your table and making sure you have plenty of lettuce, all the better to wrap and eat your meaty little treasures, my dear. Then, on the buffet table are whole peeled cloves of garlic, sliced jalapeño peppers, and other condiments.
Now, for those playing at home, you take the lettuce, sauce, garlic and peppers (or not, but what’s the fun in that??), and meat, or any combination thereof on the lettuce, wrap it, and you have a two bite-sized pack of YUM! Incredible. And, with the variety, you can go on a MEATSTRAVAGANZA!!! So many kinds of meat, only so much stomach real estate.
Now, some drawbacks that are minor, but still relevant. First, you have to cook the food, so you have to wait a bit before you eat. It doesn’t take long because the meat pieces are small to cook quickly. But when you’re hungry, and the place smells smoky and delicious, you want it NOW!
Also, you have to really watch the food cooking and basically pull stuff off, put stuff on, and eat the cooked stuff, to keep the pace of cooking and eating. It’s no fun to finish and then have to wait for stuff to cook.
Speaking of smoke, I read in many of the Yelp reviews, which sadly, were by ladies, that the smoke permeates your hair, clothes, etc. Apparently that’s a bad thing, which I don’t understand. First of all, smoky meat smell is awesome. Second, everyone knows the key to a man’s heart is his stomach and smelling like meat is a great way to attract a guy, or keep him if you snagged one already.
I don’t see why smelling smoky for a bit is an issue. But then again my cat Bacon was trying to climb up my leg and demand meat (guess why her name’s Bacon). I was loving it, sniffing my shirt and going, “Mmmmmm.”
Anyway, I think this place was awesome! Can you go and eat that much meat all the time? Not advised. But it’s a fun time nonetheless, smoky scented, meatastic fun.
Next, I’ll write about a great trip to a new local supermarket, SkyFoods in Elmhurst! Until then, mangia!