I’ll admit that Queens is a part of NYC I’ve yet to explore. I’ve been out there a few times but until recently, I could easily count the number of times on one hand. Now that I’m working in Queens, there’s no excuse not to see what it has to offer.
My sister recommended we check out Five Star Punjabi. She’d been there before, coming across it online when searching for Indian food, and said that the food was actually quite good. I was glad she was with me though. The sign proclaimed “Five Star Diner” with “Indian” only barely visible from the angle where we were.
We went during the work week and found that they offered a lunch buffet, so you could either pay $8.99 for your order of chicken tikka masala or, for a dollar less, you could have that and an unlimited helping of other items on the buffet. We opted buffet.
The food was quite good. It was warm and fresh (definitely a plus – I’m always skeptical of buffets which I often find stale and gross). The buffet doesn’t include naan, but the extra expense is worth a splurge. Their garlic naan is some of the best I’ve had – the garlic spread on in chunks versus a purée. When paired with their tamarind sauce, it was the perfect sweet contrast to the spice of my tikka masala.
Buffet items included chicken tikka masala, vegetable samosas (crisp turnovers, spiced potatoes and peas), sauteed spinach, and rice. For dessert, they only had the rice pudding. I still have yet to understand why after eating rice with your main dish you’d want to have yet more for dessert. We were disappointed the goulab jamen wasn’t available for lunch. As an alternative, I’d recommend a stroll around the corner to Sage General Store for one of their cupcakes.
Service wasn’t anything stellar, nor was the decor. This one though fits into “go purely for the food” category and in that category, I’d say it gets a recommendation.
Five Star Punjabi – 1315 43rd Ave, Long Island City – 718.784.7444