Boston Restaurant Blog -- October, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
A few weeks ago, I needed to be at South Station by 6:00 in the evening, so I had little time to grab a bite to eat, especially since I had to park relatively far from South Station. Dining at one of the food stands in the train station was out (I have had several poor meals there), so I decided to make the 7-minute walk to Chinatown. And after toying with the idea of grabbing takeout at King Fung Garden, I decided to try a place that I had never been to before, namely the Taiwan Cafe.
Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown on Oxford Street (yet only feet from the main drag), the Taiwan Cafe seemed like a bit of an oasis in the often-crowded Chinatown neighborhood. Walking up the stairs to the restaurant, I noticed even before walking inside the place that it had a more peaceful, calm environment than your typical Chinatown restaurant. Since I was ordering takeout, I didn't have a chance to soak up the atmosphere of the restaurant, but it seemed quiet and peaceful, and the dishes I saw people ordering looked very good.
After debating whether to get a full dinner or a couple of appetizers, I decided on the apps, especially since I was running out of time. I ordered the steamed vegetable raviolis and the scallion pancakes, took a short walk while waiting for the order, then went back, grabbed my food, and raced back to South Station to find a table in the train station. As it turns out, the results were mixed. The veggie raviolis were outstanding, with finely chopped fresh vegetables wrapped in fresh dough, and an excellent ginger-soy dipping sauce on the side that added lots of flavor. The scallion pancakes, however, were dripping with grease and had a harsh and stale taste to them. It took awhile to get the taste of the scallion pancakes out of my mouth, but the exquisite raviolis more than made up for it.
My first trip to the Taiwan Cafe wasn't really a good indicator of the quality of the Taiwanese food here (appetizers rarely are). I do plan to return to the place over the next few months to try one or two of the main entrees on their menu. When I do, I'll post another entry on the site.
If you would like the address for Taiwan Cafe, here it is: Taiwan Cafe, 34 Oxford Street, Boston, MA, 02111. Phone: (617) 426-8181.
Biking Gourmet said:
Have you had a chance to return? We've been there twice and are planning to go Saturday evening to celebrate New Year's. We visited before and after my son's year in Taipei. He loves the food and is especially happy over the "stinky" (fermented)tofu (chodofu). He claims it is very much like that which he enjoyed in Taiwan.
Posted on 1/27/09
I haven't been back to Taiwan Cafe since they renovated. I'm hoping to try it either in March or April (or before, if I can find time to head over there).
Posted on 1/27/09
Taiwan Cafe is a favorite of ours (and many young professionals) because it's affordable and delicious. You should definitely try the braised basil eggplant, or if you're in the mood for something simple, the wonton noodle soup.
It's interesting that you didn't have a good experience with the scallion pancakes, because we just went there last Friday and LOVED them. Maybe it was because you ordered them take-out. Yes, they're on the greasy side (I think of them as a mild indulgence), but TC does a fantastic job with the flaky layering of the pancakes (think croissant-like).
Posted on 2/15/09
I returned to the Taiwan Cafe yesterday, but was in a rush, so I ordered the veggie dumplings and scallion pancakes once again for takeout, since I knew I could get them fairly quickly. The vegetable dumplings were as good as last time, as they were stuffed with all kinds of finely grated veggies. And this time, the scallion pancakes were quite good--they were less greasy than last time and had a more mellow taste. One of these days, I hope to have a slow, relaxing meal there, ordering one of the more traditional dishes that the place seems to be known for.
Posted on 2/15/09
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