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Melanie Wong | Jan 15, 201801:35 AM    

Intrigued by this mention of a new Chinese restaurant in downtown Palo Alto https://www.paloaltoonline.com/blogs/... , my brother and i gave it a try last month when it had been open for two weeks. At 8:15pm, we were the only customers. Though the sidewalk signboard highlights Szechuan (Sichuan), the menu ranges much further to other regions of China. Our server confirmed that the chef who hails from Hubei is experienced with preparing dishes from the major Chinese cuisines and this is not just a Sichuan place. Taste can be considered a local example of the trend blending several regional styles under one roof. https://www.menuism.com/blog/blending...

We started off with Couple's Beef, a classic Sichuan cold appetizer that I nearly always order for the first visit to a Sichuan place. A nice version here with thin strips of honeycomb tripe, beef tendon and tender shank meat. The medium-spicy, faintly numbing and relatively complex red oil coated the meats but did not puddle on the plate. No sesame seeds, peanuts or scallions in this version.

Hot and sour potato strips turned out to be our favorite dish. Julienne of potato stir-fried to on point al dente texture seasoned with a touch of black vinegar, perfect salting, oil and mouth-warming spice.

Spicy fish in red oil was not a good example of the water-boiled prep. Not enough chiles, oil or Sichuan peppercorns, and the only vegetables were bean sprouts.

Lanzhou beef ramen featured a light-bodied, cloudy but intensely meaty tasting stock. Thin wheat noodles were neither ramen nor la mian and they softened too fast in the hot liquid. Thin shavings of Chinese turnip, tender slices of cross-but beef shank and fragrant scallions and cilantro topped the bowl. A dark red seasoning oil with red chile pepper flakes accompanied the noodles for seasoning the meat.

Kung pao duck was our least favorite dish. A close to authentic treatment, but ruined by an out of place sugary sweetness and too much cornstarch.

Organic tea was $3 per pot.

We had ordered enough to feed three. At $95 including tax and tip, University Avenue Palo Alto pricing is in force here.

Yet despite the high prices, one can eat well here once we figure out the chef's strengths. Palo Alto is home to another authentic Chinese restaurant.

Taste Restaurant
423 University Ave.
Palo Alto
650-323-6488

Taste
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