- Melanie Wong
Hmm, how long has it been since my last meal at Tai-Chi on Polk? Known for its dirt-cheap lunches, the $4 specials make this the lunchroom for the local postal carriers. I gave it a whirl starting off with a bowl of watery hot and sour soup. For the Hunan tung-an chicken rice plate I make a point to request dark meat and am served a heap of sautéed chicken filets swirled with a dark dusky sauce with spicy vinegar and counterpoint of sweetness over a mound of steamed white rice. Its a little too gluey, but the ovals of zucchini are cooked just right with crisp and softness. Some orange slices and hot tea wrap up lunch. This hits the spot and price is right. Being able to walk there is a plus too.
Tai Chi has just become my favorite Chinese restaurant! It features Hunan and Mandarin style specialties, which are typically spicier than Cantonese dishes. The food is fresh and authentic, with minor exceptions. It is piled high and wide on the serving platters. My friend and I had leftovers with 2 dishes and an appetizer. In particular, I recommend the hot spicy eggplant. However, forget the green onion pancake with peanut sauce. The pancake lacked a flaky texture and density. Prices are extremely reasonable, with most main dishes between $6-$8.
This is not a place of ambiance, but it is steps above a pure utilitarian setting. Tai Chi has a front and back room and the tables are nicely covered with glass and tableclothes. While the dining rooms are very clean, the bathroom needs a scrubbing.
Parking is tough here at 2031 Polk (intersects Broadway). Try parking west of Van Ness in neighborhoods without high rise apartments. Another option is takeout or delivery. I'd guess that these are 30% of their business as we saw numerous people picking up takeout bags, many with smiles on their faces!