Thursday, January 19, 2012

Taiwan Cafe

I decided to try Taiwan Café after reading the reviews on Yelp. The ratings were high, so I was expecting it to be good but this is the first new restaurant in a while that’s blown me away. It’s a tiny place on a side street in Chinatown without much else around, and is very easy to miss. When I walked in, I saw the door and windows were covered with awards and thought that was a great sign. I was so busy looking at these that I failed to notice the large sign that said cash only, which meant a run to the ATM later!

                The menu was large with a ton of options that looked good and when we finally decided, the server commented that we had chosen some of her favorites. We started with the Chilean sea bass soup, expecting it to be an appetizer-sized portion. What came out was a huge bowl and after eating two bowls each we took the rest to go, (I had another two bowls for dinner the next night). It was a clear broth, with large chunks of fish (obviously fresh, some had little bones), tofu, mustard greens, and egg whites (similar to egg drop or Italian wedding soup). 

                Next were the juicy dumplings, which were made to order and took fifteen minutes to prepare (we were warned in advance). They were filled with more soup then any I’ve had, and stuffed full of pork and crab meat. Wanting to have room for the remaining two courses, we ate only a couple of these and took the rest to go. They heated up really well in the microwave the next day, I used my quick steam method – place them in a bowl with a damp paper towel and cook for 45 seconds.  

                The third course was the beer-braised duck, which was so tender even the bones were falling apart. This was served chopped and still on the bone, in a sizzling bowl with the broth and vegetables. It came with a side of white rice, which was nice, a lot of my favorite restaurants in Chinatown charge extra for rice. 

                The final course was the braised pork, cooked in a rock sugar sauce, served with baby bok choy and buns. This was carved tableside, and the server explained that the pork and bok Choy was supposed to be stuffed inside the buns almost like an Asian style taco. 

                I left feeling completely stuffed, and didn’t even eat half of the food we ordered. I ate the leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day and still have some in my fridge! The total came to $58, which was food for six meals and two twenty ounce beers. There were so many things on the menu I’m excited to go back and try, and now that I know how  big the portions are I’m sure I could eat for ½ the price and still have leftovers.

See my favorite dishes at this restaurant on Tasted Menu Taiwan Cafe on Urbanspoon

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