Taiwan Noodle - Albany
Has anyone visited Taiwan Noodle yet, on Central Ave in the location that used to be Saso's and then Kitsu? I'm hoping these are the famous hand stretched noodles I've been hearing about.
I was there a couple of months ago...
I have a very mixed opinion of my experience there and will have to return to try some additional dishes to form a better conclusion and maybe to better understand Taiwanese cooking.
On the positive side, the Shrimp Dumplings (4 for $4.25) and the Pork & Leek Dumplings (4 for $2.95) were excellent and worth returning for. The shrimp were properly cooked giving a bit of a snap when bitten. The wrappers on both dumplings were nice and thin. The pork and leek were very flavorful.
I had a much more mixed reaction to my Mixed Mushrooms Soup ($5.95) with my choice of noodles being Chow Fun. Other noodle options were "noodle, rice noodle, and vermicelli." The noodles filled 90 percent of the bowl. This left very little room for the broth, which I found bland. There were three different types of mushrooms and some baby bok choy on top of the noodles. The enoki and a button type of mushrooms had no flavor, while the large black mushrooms had both good texture and flavor. I didn't finish the noodles as I ran out of broth and nothing else to flavor them with. I can't tell you if they were hand stretched. But I know that I've had fresh chow fun noodles elsewhere in dishes where they were so good I didn't need broth to eat all that were put in front of me. This makes me think that the noodles may have had to be reconstituted in boiling water before serving.
A server had brought a smaller bowl of broth to our table even before our appetizers had arrived. When I asked what it was for, I was told it was broth to put on the rice. Well, since there was no rice with my meal, but rice was ordered by my dining companion with his Sesame Chicken ($4.95), we concluded that it was for him and not to add to my soup if I needed more broth. Companion stated his chicken was nice and crispy, but I thought that my taste revealed a soggy coating on the chicken. In any event, we agreed that it was a plentiful portion for the price.
I read that others have been pleased with the one soup with the word "spicy." I should probably try that one the next time and hope for more flavor.
I have tried it twice, once with family and once with friends, because tasty and inexpensive asian noodles/soup would be a recipe for heaven for my family. We had a mixed experience both times and are unlikely to return. Unfortunately, our dining-out budget is extremely limited. We like to try new places, but they need to be really strong "keepers" for us to return.
We tried Pork & Leek Dumplings, Veggie Dumplings, Spicy Wonton, Shrimp Shu Mai, Scallion Pancake, Mixed Mushroom Soup, Spicy Noodle w/Meat Soup, and General Tso Chicken.
Good: The dumplings and shu mai were very good. I enjoyed the Spicy Noodle w/meat Soup; flavorful, spicy and satisfying. My mother-in-law ordered the General Tso's since it was the only thing she recognized on the menu (she's not adventurous), and it was a perfectly good rendition.
Not so Good: Scallion pancake was ok, but a bit greasy. The topping on the spicy wontons (can't call it sauce) was primarily red pepper flakes that provided heat but not much other flavor and masked any flavor that might have been in the wontons. For the Mixed Mushroom soup I agree completely with Roger K. The broth was very bland, making the dish very disappointing.
Just had a great dinner here. My husband and I both had the noodle soup with stewed beef. Really tasty with lots of beef. Lots of noodles, too. It's not as much broth as you'd get with, say, pho, but I think that's just the Taiwanese style. The broth was really flavorful. We had the scallion pancake and I thought it was excellent. Only a little bit greasy. And the shrimp dumplings were delicious, although hard to grab with chopsticks. Slippery little buggers. My son had the fried pork chop with fried rice and said it was delicious. He didn't care for any of the sauce choices (curry, black pepper or onion) so he had it plain. With one coke for my son, the whole meal came to about $26. Not bad for a very filling, delicious dinner for 3. Oh, and there's a parking lot right next to the restaurant. It's a special treat to find off-street parking on Central!