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Jun 29, 2011 07:27 PM

Couple from Taiwan...where can I take them for a really good meal?

I have a friend that works with a couple from Taiwan that will be visiting Austin this w/e. They have recently come to the USA & are working in Roswell, NM. Not a mecca for food!!! I would like to take them to a restaurant that they would really enjoy. Where would you take them???

We don't care what part of town and cost is not an issue. I thought about Uchiko, but I didn't know if they might enjoy a Chinese restaurant. Please help!!! Wish I had paid more attention to Mick Vann's reviews.

4200 North Lamar, Austin, TX 78756

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  1. I'd actually suggest taking them to a really good Mexican or even Tex-Mex place, and be willing to make suggestions and provide information.

    I'm basing this on the fact that I haven't found a really good Mexican restaurant in Taiwan yet, and in most of the world good regional Mexican is really rare.

    As far as Chinese goes - they can get fantastic cheap Chinese food at home, so that wouldn't be much of a draw.

    4 Replies
    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

      i would embellish on this with a bbq recommendation.
      they will most likely find lots of tex mex or mex in roswell.
      texas bbq? probably not.

      if you want more upscale, lamberts is fancy bbq.

      taking taiwan and NM into account, here are some places that could be interesting for them:
      wink (local/seasonal)
      olivia's (local/seasonal)
      parkside (contemporary seafood)
      perla (contemporary seafood)
      justine's (contemporary brasserie)
      foreign & domestic (contemporary brasserie)
      east side show room (contemporary brasserie)
      barley swine (contemporary brasserie)
      el arbol (latin american)
      la sombra (latin american)

      their menus are expansive enough to include personal tastes like vegetarians or pescetarians.
      they have also gotten love on this board, so any would be a solid choice.

      some of them offer al fresco seating, which could be even more enjoyable.
      i would say perla for people watching on south congress, el arbol for a nature at night setting.

      a food cart crawl could also be enjoyable for them, as it's very austin.
      the heat could be a bitch, though, and it would be a lot more casual.

      have fun! and please let us know how it went.

      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        Sorry, if they are living anywhere in New Mexico they can get much better food than any TexMex that Austin has to offer. While Roswell is not Las Cruces or Santa Fe, I am sure I would drool for some NM food. Nothing similar in Austin or anywhere around these parts AFAIK (please enlighten me if you know different).

        1. re: danny_w

          I've had good NM food. I've had good Tex Mex. To me they are 2 different things.

          1. re: TroyTempest

            Indeed they are, but to me good NM food is far superior. I guess that is just my upbringing. I REALLY need to make another trip out that way sometime soon!

      2. I don't think Chinese or Japanese is what you want to aim for here. They live in the heart of that country and have almost certainly had their share of the best the continent has to offer. I second the opinion that your best choices are things like Mexican or BBQ. Not sure what your requirements are on distance and such, but driving out to Lockhart or Luling might even be a fun trip for them (I bet they would get a kick out of the scenery, if nothing else). If you'd rather go fancy, Lambert's or Fonda San Miguel would be good choices. Finally, might they dig a pizza or Italian place? Homeslice and Vespaio are practically across the street from each other. Ask them what they might want to try, then follow that.

        1610 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

        Fonda San Miguel Restaurant
        2330 W North Loop Blvd, Austin, TX 78756

        13 Replies
        1. re: gilintx

          Thanks for all the suggestions. They are from Taiwan, but aren't able to go home except every other year. I was thinking they might be homesick for comfort food.

          1. re: notsusan

            There's a good chance you're right.

            With respect to Chinese, recent meals at Sichuan Garden in Round Rock have been good to very good, with one so-so lunch tossed in. Better than anything I've had in Austin over the past few months.

            Sichuan Garden
            110 N Interstate 35, Round Rock, TX 78681

            1. re: Steven Dilley

              Steven Dilley, which dishes have you enjoyed at Sichuan Garden?

              Sichuan Garden
              110 N Interstate 35, Round Rock, TX 78681

              1. re: Carter B.

                Off the top of my head, (fatty) pork with garlic leek, house special lamb, beef w/ cumin (on the menu as lamb, but they'll sub beef), house special crispy spicy chicken. I'm blanking on the rest at the moment, but that's a nice start. Last two meals have been particularly good, though I've had a disappointing meal or two in the past. Not crazy about their mapo. Pea shoots and water spinach are good vegetable choices. Not sure if the former is always available.

            2. re: notsusan

              If they are looking for Taiwanese comfort food, Rice Bowl Cafe may be a good choice. I have not been there but there was a very positiveTastingBuds blog.


              1. re: willastn

                I really like Rice Bowl. The beef noodle soup is excellent, and the green onion pancakes are divine!

            3. re: gilintx

              I know lamberts is often called fancy bbq. Does fancy mean bad? maybe the few times I've been have been off days but they didn't hold a candle to franklin or the lockhart trio. hell chisolm trail might even be better!

              1. re: chrisdds98

                well, i have only gone for their brunch, which was quite good, and included some of the things at dinner.

                1. re: dinaofdoom

                  i love their brunch. pretty much everything is good (especially the a la carte items) except the bbq is just... bad.

                  1. re: chrisdds98

                    i like the things they had at the carving station, like the brisket.

                    1. re: dinaofdoom

                      you should try the brisket @ a real bbq joint... have you never been to lockhart or franklin?

                      1. re: chrisdds98

                        i have. i like both in different ways.

                        1. re: dinaofdoom

                          different ways? one tastes great always and the other tastes good when REALLY drunk?!

            4. I would go for steaks and BBQ. Beef is unbelievably expensive in Taiwan.

              I would probably skip the Chinese food unless if you are really sure they are homesick. While Chinese food in Austin is ok by American standards, its not going to be interesting for a recent transplant from the region.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lixlix

                Yep! My brother and sister in law (and their kids) loved American beef. They liked BBQ so much they had us send them a Portable Kitchen BBQ. Put out the best Texas has to offer: Take them to Lockhart. It is both an experience and great food. My sister in law still talks about NC BBQ fondly.
                For some reason my wife and her family just never grooved to Mexican. Something about the texture, she said. On the other hand, they loved Mexican rotisserie chicken.

                1. re: Westy

                  Maybe because many mexican restaurants serve glop. I had a friend in from England - we went to a couple of places, including Chuy's. He said that the beans and rice were like "eating gruel."

                  Regarding the OP - what kind of people are they? Traditional, conservative older or young and advenurous? There's a lot of different kind of people in Taiwan.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    that was exactly my problem when i moved here from boston.
                    i was not accustomed to refried beans and a few other things.
                    the textures were too gloppy and mushy for me.
                    at first i would not touch them but now that i'm going on 7 years here, i've come around.

                    notsusan, as you can see, we have a lot of ideas.
                    definitely let us know where you ended up and how it went.
                    you will definitely show them a good meal regardless.

              2. eggplant pizza and side of pear / walnut salad at homeslice on south congress is a fun not too expensive great combo that might be a good break from 400 dollar meals at uchiko and cardiovascularly challenging fatty brisket and snausages the day before..

                I actually crave that salad unlike any other.

                1 Reply
                1. re: slowcoooked

                  We actually ended up going to Uchiko & just let the waiter serve us. Food was great, service great. They had eaten at Din Ho the night before & loved the pork blood cake.
                  Thanks for the suggestions & discussion.

                  4200 North Lamar, Austin, TX 78756