A few weeks back I blogged about the lost Jackson Heights tiki restaurant The Dragon Seed Restaurant, which once sat at the corner of 37th Avenue and 86th Street. It closed in the 1980s, but the legend of the funky place, a fav of Louis Armstrong and sport car enthusiasts everywhere, lived on.
One reader told me that, even though it is now a Colombian joint, two tiki figures still stand on either side of the entrance. This is true. But a couple other readers mentioned that the Dragon See tiki decor remains intact inside! Including an elaborate fountain. I had to go see.
And Shazam! It's all true. The Dragon Seed still exists, at least in form! Except you can only eat Columbian food (and fries and fried chicken) there now. No Mai Tais. There are more tiki figures inside, and bamboo hut-like booths. The bar is also a vision of tropical escape. And the lighting is very dim.
Best of all is the tiered, sculpted fountain which greets you on the right as you come in. It depicts, in great detail, what I take to be a rural Chinese landscape. There are houses, people, a fishing hole, bells, cliffs, trees. I couldn't take it all in in one go.
The waitresses are not dressed as tropical maidens. But their costumes are something else, and worth a trip in itself. The owner has them in a sort of South-American version of St. Pauli Girl laced-corsets and extremely short skirts. It's very sexist, quite hilarious and the women don't seem embarrassed at all. I'm sure they get plenty of tips.