Elaine’s Asian Bistro has, without question, the most beautiful interior design of any Great Neck restaurant. Even the exterior is beautiful, a bright red awning that leads you down a brick alleyway to the restaurant entrance.
Once inside, there’s a reception area, followed by a bar and lounge area. The bar is dimly lit with bright neon lights shifting from red to green. The lounge is set into the wall, with a row of comfy sofas.
I really like how the bar area is set apart from the restaurant area; this way bar patrons don’t distub the restaurant guests, and vice-versa.
As for the restaurant itself, it’s divided into two portions, an upper seating area…
…and a lower area that holds more seating and the sushi bar.
It looks like a great place for groups; on the night we went there were two parties of at least 10 people. Unlike other restaurants, we weren’t disturbed; we still could have a romantic dinner for two.
As is my custom, I asked the server what the most popular dishes were. Without skipping a beat, he rattled three dishes off: the mongolian beef, the shrimp rangoons, and the pad thai. So, we decided to order all three.
Here’s the Mongolian Beef.
This dish was a good Chinese dish. It was deep fried and crunch on the outside and delightfully chewy on the inside with a rich flavorful brown sauce that had a hint of a spicy kick. It reminded me of food I could order from a Chinese take-out restaurant, but the flavor and the presentation brought it up a notch. It came with scallions, onions, and fresh tomato and lettuce as garnish. It also came with a decorative pyramid of rice (you have your choice of brown rice and white rice). The portion of the rice was very skimpy, but the server gladly brought me more when I asked.
Here are the shrimp rangoons:
The shrimp were really, really giant, so much so that you couldn’t really put one in your mouth. They had a very fresh taste and snapped when you put them in your mouth. The sauce was sweet and tangy, and came with crunchy green and red peppers and cut up snow pea pods. This one was a winner.
And finally, the Pad Thai
This was pretty well cooked, although not as dry and authentic as the one I had at Laverne before. It was more along the lines of Chinese noodles than Thai noodles, with a sweet and moist texture.
All in all, I’d rate the food as a 4, but with the excellent restaurant layout and design and the very good presentation of the food I’ll bump the overall rating to a 4.5. Service was excellent. My water was filled most of the night. The only hiccup was a very inordinate wait for dessert.
While they bill themselves as Asian Fusion, the overall impression I took away was that their forte was upscale Chinese food, several levels higher than a typical takeout restaurant, and a level above hyped-up wannabe restaurants like PF Chang or Ruby Foos. If you’re in the mood for some very good Chinese food, this is the place in Great Neck to go.
Great Neck, NY 11021
Mon-Wed 11:30am – 10:30pm
Thu-Fri 11:30am – 11pm
Sat 12pm – 12am
Sat 12pm – 10pm
Price Range: $$$ (Entrees range from $15 to $24)
Takes Reservations: Yes