Yesterday while strolling through Venditti Square, a cheerful sign in the window of No. 1 Fusion caught our eye. It read “Happy Tibetan New Year.” The heartfelt yet untimely sentiment — Tibetans celebrate the new year (losar) in February and March — suddenly endeared us to this Chinese restaurant that we assume is shitty, so we ventured inside.
When asked about the sign, the man working behind the counter informed us that they plan to launch a small Tibetan menu which will be served in tandem with the current Chinese menu. He gave us a list of some of the menu items, which we will attempt to translate for you:
- Momo: dumplings filled with an array of ingredients, including chicken, goat, shallot, fresh chhurpi cheese, chocolate, potato, cabbage, ginger, you name it
- Shabta: “browned lamb strips”
- Chow-mein: “noodles with lots of vegetables” (traditionally Chinese, but with a Tibetan twist?)
- Then-thuk: soup with fresh, flat, broad wheat noodles
- Ga-thuk: probably another kind of soup!
- Tig-mo: steamed bun without filling
- Tibetan tea: aka “butter tea,” a traditional drink made from tea leaves, yak butter, and salt
- Vegetable mix: could be pretty much anything — maybe a stew or curry?
Momos, delectably described as a cross between dim sum and samosas, sound like pillowy bits of heaven. And we can’t wait to try the then-thuk — perfect for winter. We know very little about Tibetan food; it’s a cuisine that’s yet to have its breakthrough moment in the New York City foodscape. (According to a brief, non-thorough Internet search, there’s a few Tibetan restaurants in the East Village/Lower East Side, and not surprisingly, several more in Jackson Heights & Elmhurst. The outer-borough Tibetan scene offers some great momo-only takeout options as well.) We’ve heard that Ridgewood has a Little Nepal, though we haven’t been able to find much sign of it. Tibet and Nepal are not the same, but they’re close! We’re excited that we’ll soon have our own Tibetan sub-restaurant, and that it’s hidden inside a dumpy Chinese place, with little to no fanfare about its opening — how very Ridgewood.
No word on whether No. 1 Fusion will adopt a new name to reflect the expanded menu, but they’re at least adding a large overhead menu inside (We pass by this storefront quite often, and our working theory about the bright green sign was that another Herbalife place was opening.). The new Tibetan menu was scheduled to launch today, but the guy we spoke with said pretty matter-of-factly that the opening date was not really very firm, and they’re “not very organized” before scrawling down the menu. Whenever it opens, we’ll check it out and let you know if it’s any good!
No. 1. Fusion
16-35 Woodbine Street [map]