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Aug 7, 2007 08:47 AM

Taipei Tokyo in Davis Sqaure

Has anyone tried this place? Is it different from the Chinese place that used to be there or is it just a new name?

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  1. Haven't been there but walked by on Sat. Looks like a sushi joint for the most part. They may have Chinese food too but I didn't notice.

    1. Extensive menu, typical of Chinese restaurants...always makes me wonder if there's some "quickstart kit" for Chinese restaurants, which include the standard 3 sauces and 200 permutations of meat and veggies necessary to get a restaurant up and running. I chose a bunch of dishes and just tried to order, but they don't deliver (not sure if it's just today or they haven't setup delivery service yet). I'm too lazy to go over there...maybe next time: the idea of Taiwanese+Japanese doesn't get enough juices flowing to warrant a housecall.

      1. I used to frequent a restaurant of the same name in Northampton, MA when I was in college. The owners had a sister restaurant somewhere in NH, so this might be a third. I will say that, at the time (15 years ago) their sushi was excellent. Not Oishii excellent, but it was far better than a Koreanna or Bluefin or countless other cookie cutter sushi spots. I know that they purchased their fish from True World Foods (then Rocky Neck Seafood) like most other sushi restaurants in New England.

        19 Replies
        1. re: almansa

          They are connected to the Northampton MA place -- there is a thread on the Davis Square Live Journal blog. People have been saying it's great and have high hopes. (Of course there are just as many people who are hoping their old favorites from the chinese place continue.)

          1. re: yumyum

            Do you happen to know if they have booze (well, beer at the very least)? Or is it a "cold tea" kind of place?

            1. re: HopeRI

              No idea -- but I doubt they have a liquor license. The restaurant they replaced, China Sun (?) sure didn't have one to grandfather in. They might do BYO though ... never hurts to ask.

            2. re: yumyum

              I'd seriously question the taste buds of folks who missed the old place. It was very pedestrian takeout Chinese at very best, the worst of the three Chinese takeout joints in Davis Square (the best by a long shot is Dragon Garden).

            3. re: almansa

              There is a restaurant called Taipei & Tokyo in Portsmouth, NH. Any idea if this is the related NH location? I never had their sushi, but their (Americanized Chinese) food was very good, for what it is, when I went many times over the years.

              1. re: skokefoe

                I would guess that it must be. I, too, enjoyed their Chinese (in Hamp), but seldom ordered it. Actually, once I had a terrible Chinese entree (I have no idea what it was anymore) and discreetly left my doggie bag on the table. The server had insisted on wrapping my untouched meal. A few minutes later he came sprinting up the sidewalk with my doggie bag in hand. He was so relieved to have found me. I really felt a twinge of guilt when I later dropped it into a public trash can.

                1. re: skokefoe

                  I have been to the Taipei & Tokyo restaurant in Bedford NH. Their Chinese food is fantastic but it's a good drive from the greater Boston area. I have always gone for lunch and never had a bad meal. Their food is freshly made and their luncheon specials are a bargain. Is the new restaurant in Davis Square Somerville related to the Taipei & Tokyo in Bedford NH.?

                  1. re: buffet king

                    I ate here last Sunday. I order their sushi stuff, although the none-sushi stuff sounded Thai to me. So was okay and pricey. If I recall I order their sushi specail that was $16 plus a couple other rolls. Nothing really stood out and sushi was okay. The rice was not soft, a bit firm and the pieces were average size. They do not have a liquor license. Might only go back since it's the only sushi place closest to me beside Tip Top Noodle in Teele Sq. and that place sucks

                    1. re: caper25

                      If you're at Taipei Tokyo in Davis, you're a 10 minutes walk from Porter Square where Blue Fin is pretty good and occasionally excellent. There's also Yoshi's on College Ave. in Powderhouse which I haven't been to in years but was pretty good (and expensive) when we did go. No need to settle for just okay sushi. Here's hoping that the upcoming new sushi in Davis is better than ok.

                      1. re: DavisSquare

                        What is the upcoming new sushi in Davis? Where will it be?

                        1. re: maillard

                          In the former La Contessa bakery (end of Highland Ave, just before the Blue Shirt Cafe and Mike's).

                          1. re: phoebek

                            Before you get too excited, the new incoming sushi place is a Shino Express branch. I for one was astonishingly underwhelmed by one try at the Shino Express on Newbury Street in the Back Bay. All things being equal, I'd rather have La Contessa.

                            Tried take out lunch at Taipei Tokyo during the week. The initial take-out menu was a puzzlement, with over 100 different dishes on offer and most of it being standard Chinese-American takeout type stuff. When I called to try to get something off of said menu, I was told that they had modified the menu. The revised "Grand Opening" menu was even more puzzling -- about a quarter the size of the first menu, no Chinese characters at all to identify any of the dishes and no sushi specials at lunchtime.

                            The staff do appear to be fluent native Mandarin speakers. The food at least based on one meal doesn't. I managed to convince them to make a ma po doufu, and was disappointed by a standard issue Chinese-American takeout joint rendition. Small amount of kick, no Sichuan peppercorn to speak of, and various non-traditional vegetables (carrots and peas) thrown into the mix.

                            I get the sense that they're trying to find their way. I was hoping for a genuine Taiwanese fusion place, but at least for the moment, I'm not taking Qingdao Garden off my speed dial.

                            1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                              Is there any sign that the food is different from China Sun's? I suspect that the simply renovated the space, added sushi, and returned the same chefs to the kitchen. Does the chow evidence bear this out?

                              1. re: DavisSquare

                                The family that owned China Sun is gone, and the family that owns T/T is present. And the cooks are different too, as well as the menu. Somerville Journal Blog has pix of the updated food, e.g. mango shrimp.

                                But I'm finding it kinda meh. Anybody know how to contact the China Sun family?

                                1. re: enhF94

                                  Ok, there you go. Suspicion incorrect. Thanks. Too bad the food isn't better, though.

                        2. re: DavisSquare

                          Another place, probably equidistant from Taipei Tokyo, is Hana Sushi on Mass Ave. That might be a better choice than Yoshi's...

                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                            Hana Sushi is closed for renovation, I think for the rest of August. (oops, I meant to reply to davis_sq_pro's comment.)

                          2. re: DavisSquare

                            I like Yoshi's for a neighbourhood place and find it pretty "standard" in terms of cost, bang-for-buck. WAY superiour to Tapei Tokyo, which I tried two weeks ago and found deeply mediocre and overpriced. I mean really, crab stick as a component to the "sushi deluxe?" Dream on.

                    2. re: almansa

                      sorry I missed this thread before: I spoke to the owners, and they are cousins of the NoHo branch. The NH branch is also in the family.

                      They're doing lunch service in "by-the-pound" style, a la Brazilian, which is kinda cute. But the sushi had little fish in it.

                    3. I just had the buffet lunch at Taipei Tokyo today with a friend. She ordered the buffet too. I live in Davis Sq and she works at Tufts, so we had both wanted to try this new (and hopefully significantly improved) restaurant. Needless to say, the former Chinese restaurant here was sub par, at best.

                      The verdict? The buffet was OK/mediocre. Between the two of us, we sampled the 8 main dishes- all fairly typical American-style Chinese... a couple chicken dishes, shrimp, beef, pork. Pork fried rice, and noodles with some kind of beef were on the side. In addition there were 3 types of sushi rolls: spicy tuna, California, and some other veg roll. The cost of the buffet is $5.95 per pound. After serving yourself, you hand one of the waitstaff your dish, it is weighed, and the price is recorded for you.

                      My friend and I helped ourselves fairly well, getting a good sample across the buffet. My plate, while not laden with food, was a good-sized lunch. It cost just under $5. My friend's plate, while similar, had a big helping of rice and tipped in just over $5. Pretty reasonable, we agreed. And, not at all awkward, like some small restaurant buffets can be.

                      What made the food mediocre is the abundance of that "brown sauce" that seems so generic. As someone posted previously, it's as if there is some kind of DIY-Chinese restaurant kit. Anyway, the veggies were fresh. The noodles a bit too greasy for me (but not at all on the same grease-level as the previous restaurant's noodles.) There was plenty of meat in each dish, so you could really pick exactly what you wanted.The spicy tuna roll actually had a decent flavor, but the rice was totally dried out. Serves me right for sampling sushi from a buffet.

                      The service at the restaurant was excellent; responsive, yet no one hovered, and the main waiter was genuinely friendly. The decor is very pleasant, the seating comfortable, and the feeling, light and airy from the huge windows out on to Holland St.

                      Would I go back? Well, I would not go out of my way, certainly not for Chinese, given that East Asia is a 5 minute walk and Qing Dao Garden on Mass Ave (10 min by foot) is my family's standard Chinese delivery (yummy!!) I will go back to try the sushi, just cause I'm curious. And frankly, as long as you're not expecting masterful Chinese, you won't regret dropping $5 on lunch. Oh, and we went at 12 noon, on a work day, and it was neither crowded nor empty.

                      My biggest disappointment was that Richardson's ice cream, across the street at the Somerville Theater, was not yet open when we were done with lunch.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chick N Little

                        I'm disappointed in it. When it first opened, I took myself to lunch and ordered one of the curry dishes. I wasn't all the pleased with it, but I was thinking that may have just been my reaction to a curry style dish, maybe it wasn't a good choice for me that day. The place is very clean, the waitstaff courteous so I figured I'd give it another try.
                        My husband and I went there for dinner this evening. There are only two four top tables next to the window and the rest of the tables are two tops but they are very small and uncomfortable for two. We were going to ask to move to one of the four tops, but there was only one left with people coming in to be seated. It really didn't seem right to ask, so we remained where we were. If we were going to order sushi, the table would have accommodated the meal. But we ordered dinner to share and tea. No space for regular size dinner plates. Didn't feel like a place you could be comfortable and relax.
                        Ordered spicy beef, stir fried vegetables and pad thai. Food was okay, vegetables cooked crisp and not soggy, but it seemed expensive for the amount of food we had. Anytime we split entrees at Chinese places, we have leftovers to bring home. Not tonight.
                        This may end up being a place I go for sushi, but I'm probably giving up on this place.