From the outside, Weekender doesn’t look like much: Its worn blue awning and drawn curtains fade into the background of its largely residential block in Woodside, Queens. But tucked inside this unassuming exterior is a billiards hall that doubles as an eatery specializing in some of the city’s finest fiery Bhutanese fare.
The one-room restaurant is divided, with snooker tables (a form of billiards) on one side and a dining area and bar on the other. Amid the sound of clacking balls and beneath a portrait of the Dalai Lama, you can tuck into Bhutanese favorites such as ema datshi, a dish of cheese-coated chili peppers, and phagsha sikam pak, a rich medley of fatty pork, peppers, and potatoes.
In Bhutan, chili peppers reign supreme, so prepare yourself for spice. At its full power, Weekender’s ema datshi could make you weep. Don’t worry, though: The staff will ask how spicy you’d like your dish first. Every meal’s heat is also tempered by a side of Bhutanese red rice. The nutty heirloom grain grows only in the country’s high-altitude farmlands, where ancient glacial water infuses the crops with minerals.
When you’re done with your meal, wait to claim a snooker table for a game or two. If you’re lucky, someone might even perform a Bhutanese song or two on the corner stage.
Know Before You Go
Weekender is closed on Wednesdays.