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Oct 18, 2001 04:21 PM

Review of the'hounds Taiwan Cafe Lunch(Longwinded..)

  • g

Or, we came, we ate, we needed a nap!! Okay, the hounds finally made it out to lunch at Taiwan Cafe...Four of us made it, which worked out well, since we hadn't reserved a big table, and it gave us a chance to talk--about our favorite restaurants, of course!!!
We HAD to start with the much-discussed Chinese Zucchini and Littlenecks soup. The mystery was solved, the green squash WAS Chinese Zucchini, tho the clams were actually cherrystones..But it was the broth that really made this a standout; an intensely distilled essence of clam and ginger--I can't wait to have it on a cold winter day (I also thought it would be the perfect hang-over cure..)..The other soup we tried was Spinach and Pork Liver...(liver is wrayb's comfort food..) Liver was definitely the dominant flavor of the broth, tho the spinach was still bright green. Comments ranged from, "For liver fans only!!!" to "If you don't like liver..." You get the idea. They have a great list of unusual soups, and seem to make each broth specifically, no chicken-broth undertone.
The favorite dish seems to have been the Homestyle Braised Eggplant with Basil. It looked unassuming, in its brown sauce, but oh, the mild bite, and the infusion of ginger worked SO well with the sweetness of the generous amount of basil(not sure what kind, but it was green, not purple).
Our next dish was Spicy Salt and Pepper(sea salt poached) Shrimp. We thought they might be something different, but they were just a very-good version of the standard; crispy, crunchy, and salty, with that sprinkling of hot peppers.
Sauteed eel with yellow chives was good, the pieces of eel had been deboned, but sadly, we all agreed the pieces were almost so small they could have been anything. But the flavor of the chives was nice, and again, the flavor of this sauce was different than any of the others.
Our last dish was Beef with Chinese watercress in sa-cha sauce. The watercress was cooked just to the point of crispness, and the slightly salt flavor of the sauce contrasted well with our basil-sauced eggplant. Too last, we saw the Pickled Mustard Greens with edamame and fresh bean curd that the table next to us had....Like good chowhounds, we were already planning our next meal!!!

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  1. Sounds good. How about a weeknight next time?

    15 Replies
    1. re: chuck s

      Thanks Galleygirl, for writing that great review. I really enjoyed meeting some of my fellow Chowhounders and I'm looking forward to our next meeting. I believe we're shooting for a Thursday or Friday evening if anyone's interested.

      Also, thanks to Joanie for keeping her word and stopping by the Taiwan Cafe to say hello. Hopefully Joanie will be able to join us on our next adventure.

      BTW.......the eggplant was to die for!

      1. re: Frank

        Thanks Frank, I forgot to add on the post that we talked about next Thurs. or Fri. nite....So we can build our menu more leisurely!

        1. re: galleygirl

          thanks galleygirl for describing our meal so well...but as important as the food was that it was really fun to meet a few of the people that we exchange email posts with...let's do more of this...lunch or dinner..what a great opportunity we all have

          1. re: 9lives

            I totally agree; food always tastes better with good company, and that's what made this so much fun!! I figured I'd lure the other chowhounds with the lurid details of our meal, and then they'd discover the added benefit our witty repartee and enchanting personalities! :)

            1. re: galleygirl

              Being a solo business visitor to Boston, the opportunity to share chow was very welcome. I had had a moment of doubt, a few days before, if I would be up to the effort of meeting new people. But there was no effort involved, the whole experience was very rewarding, food and people. It, in fact, fortified me for a very rough couple of days at work (when I returned from the meal, nearly all the equipment I had installed was showing errors).

              Jim Leff and other makers of chowhound-dom: if this one meeting is any indication of the high level of cultured exchange* made possible by then truly your names will be recorded in the annals.


              * Not that anyone said anything profound, I am instead referring to the generous and friendly manner of all, the interesting way in which food and dining out can lead into other discussion: changes to the city, memories, hopes and plans. Very very interesting dynamic between people where an appreciation of food is the acknowledged commonality. The phenomonon could be a dissertation for someone: the manner in which the sharing of food meshes with a creation of an electronic tribe.

          2. re: galleygirl

            I'll be there, especially if it's Thursday (hint)...

            Are we talking about revisiting Taiwan Cafe, or checking out someplace new?

            1. re: C. Fox

              Actually, we discussed both. There were so many things we still wanted to try at Taiwan Cafe; but so many other restaurants in Chinatown also came up. It sounded like Taiwan Cafe or King Fung, for their 24 hour in advance Peking Duck meal...Of course, we'd get other stuff besides duck, but I'd love to see it...I'm not really sure what we were leaning toward. Anyone???

              1. re: galleygirl

                I vote for King Fung. BTW.....where is Village Fish that you mentioned n your calamari post?

                1. re: Frank

                  Not to bring down the great calamari at Village Fish because I've never been there BUT I just read in the paper the other day that the restaurant has been cited for numerous health code violations. They were cited once and then when the inspector returned, the problems still weren't fixed.

                  1. re: Maura

                    Wow, I'll check that out....I haven't been there for about a month; altho I've eaten there pretty regularly for the last ten years...(could be I've built up anti-toxins!! :) ) Altho, really, when the Brookline Health Department feels like it, and Boston too, for that matter, water the wrong temperature is a capital crime...And I've gotten shocking food poisoning at restaurants that were never sighted, and very well thought of...Come to think of it, this could be a whole 'nother thread!

                  2. re: Frank

                    Okay, I'll start the tally!!...Village Fish is in Brookline Village; but read what Maura has to say, and my reply...I'm gonnah go check it out, but I have to be kinda sceptical.....

                    1. re: Frank

                      I'll second Frank's vote for King preference is for lunch or dinner earlier in the week..Mon-Wed, but I'll try to make it whenever works best for everyone else...btw..the duck needs to be ordered 1 day in advance.

                      1. re: 9lives

                        I'd like to join you for dinner. Monday through Wednesday works well for me for this week.

                        1. re: chuck s

                          Turns out I will be in Boston all week, so Mon-Wed for dinner should work for me also. Tues or Wed for the duck dinner???

              2. re: Frank

                >>BTW.......the eggplant was to die for!<<

                And I greatly appreciate that I was allowed to have that last spoonful.

            2. My wife and I tried Taiwan Cafe for dinner a couple of weeks ago. She is from Taiwan and thought it was quite authentic. Apparently, Taiwanese cuisine is distinct from that of the Mainland, but I can't explain in what way. We enjoyed it, although she said it was only a little better than average in Taiwan. (She's a bit of a snob when it comes to Chinese food in America--although I have to admit the best Chinese food I've had was in Taiwan!)

              There's another Taiwan Cafe in Kendall Square. Not sure if they are related, and we haven't tried it yet.