I was tipped off to this new place on these boards on Monday but little did I know that it was also the restaurant's grand opening. I fought the Noreaster today and found refuge in this Taiwanese basement restaurant at 11 Mott St.
It's a bright, clean generic place with few customers at this early point. The service is friendly and English is spoken reasonably well but for some reason it takes a lifetime to get so much as a glass of water in this place. I ordered a honeydew shake and my friend ordered a green tea bubble tea both of which took twenty five minutes to arrive. The honeydew shake was pale green and was of weak in flavor as it was in color. This was not a promising start.
I must admit I am not very well versed in Taiwanese cuisine with only a trip to Sunny King and a couple of cultural festivals under my belt of experience. I started with the Taiwanese hamburger which is one of the few items with which I have a frame of reference. The bun was a little less tender than usual though the thick, strips of meat were well seasoned and appropriately fatty. There was something lacking in it, maybe peanuts.
The seafood tofu skin rolls were four deep fried cylinders and came out looking pock marked and eggroll-esque. They did ooze some syrupy and salty sauce but I wouldn't identify it as coming from the sea. Still it was the best thing we sampled.
I expected the oyster pancake to be crispier but instead it is a glutiny mass atop some sauteed greens covered in a downpour of thin, sweet chili sauce. I enjoyed the flavor of the pancake but the texture made it difficult to appreciate as it was just dripping all over the place and stretching like imitation mozzarella.
The ginger chicken with ginger in casserole was a very haimish looking plate of hacked chicken, meltingly soft cloves of garlic, and slabs of ginger. The flavor wasn't that intense for the amount of aromatics used but it was an overall pleasurable dish if you don't mind picking through a lot of bones.
I wasn't bowled away by the place but I might not have a proper understanding of the correctness of the items I ordered. I'd like to go back with someone with more Taiwanese chow experience and try some smelly tofu(which preparation is the best introduction to this oft-maligned treat? They have sauteed, and steamed.
Other items include a dim sum menu that includes some Taiwanese breakfast items like plain crullers(sic), salt soymilk, and Chinese baked pancakes which I assume are some kind of sesame bread. Unfortunately though the last time I ordered Chinese Pancakes at a bakery on Bowery I ended up with ham and eggs on buttered white bread.