The Swank family enjoyed a terrific dinner last night at the newish Taipei Gourmet. We'd ordered takeout once before and weren't wowed, but we figured we'd give it another shot, especially after it was named one of the top 25 Chinese restaurants in the country by Travel & Leisure. (And especially after enduring a long wait at S Dumpling last week.)
We were quickly greeted and ushered to a window table. The dining room was perhaps half full. A lovely waitress brought us menus and chatted. We opted for the sichuan wontons (with a hint of peanut sauce -- something I've longed for!), roast beef scallion pancakes, pineapple shrimp, boiled flounder in black bean sauce, and pork buns for Young Swank.
The waitress asked if we'd like everything to come out as it's ready, a nice touch, since nothing is more annoying than waiting for every dish to come out simultaneously, then receiving cold platters. A complimentary dish of pickled cabbage came out first; a nice refreshing touch. Wontons came out next. They were excellent -- not greasy or leaden in the least, and the sauce did have a peanut hint, which I enjoyed. The roast beef scallion pancake was juicy but a bit too deep-fried for my taste, though it was made lighter by a thin spread of plum sauce.
At this point, the dining room began to fill up to about 75 percent, and takeout orders were flying out of the kitchen. (I'd been concerned when the dining room wasn't full on a Friday night.) Pineapple shrimp was too sweet for Mr. Swank's taste, but I found the boiled flounder with black bean sauce absolutely perfect -- and a fair portion size, too. So often, you find a bit or two of flounder floating in a gummy sauce. Not here. The beans stood out, and there were large, healthy chunks of flounder. Asked for chili oil on the side -- and this is the actual oil, not the chopped salsa-ish stuff they bring at some spots.
Finally, out came Young Swank's pork buns in a bamboo carton -- which he quickly devoured. We have some leftovers (shrimp, fish) to enjoy today. And we were in and out in an hour!!
I hope this place succeeds. What inches it above SD for me is the quick service and the availability of sichuan wontons.
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