Oct 28, 2010

Karen Teppanyaki 凱林鐵板燒


Address:   台北信義區松智路8號
                No. 8, SōngZhì Rd, Sinyi District (Taipei 101)
Phone #:  N/A
Price Range:   $$$
Accepts Credit Cards: idk
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  3.5 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.83 out of 5
Recommendation: Cheaper steak craving option.


Karen Teppanyaki is a small teppanyaki restaurant located in the Taipei 101 B1 Food Court. They have 3 eating areas, one outer rim for more scattered groups and two smaller tables for medium sized groups. They offer a 200 NT economy meal that includes soup, rice, vegetables, and a side (chicken, pork, or beef). But if you feel like going for something heartier, they have a surf and turf and steak menu ranging from 400-680 NT. They have an attentive wait staff, and enough cooks to provide your meal promptly. This is probably a safe bet in the Taipei 101 food court, especially if you like beef and shrimp.
Their decor is like the typical food court teppanyaki design all around the island. They have 3 teppan stations, which occupy most of the space, and bar type seating is utilized around each station. This place has a fancier menu, and fancier plates, but it's only relatively smancier. They also have a chandelieresque lighting fixture on the ceiling, which is their attempt for a touch of class.  Since this is a food court they only get a 3.5 for being a little more sleek looking than other food court teppanyakies. Their servers were also very professional and prompt. I did not have to leave my seat to get a napkin, cause they already knew I wanted a napkin, and so they brought a couple to me without even asking. Their chefs are also very effecient, and they have multiple chefs on call behind the curtain to accomodate sudden influxes of customers. Because of this, they get a 4 out of 5 for above average, but not extremely excellent service.

Every set meal typically starts out with the bowl of miso soup, rice, and the beverage that you chose. This teppanyaki does not provide drinks like the other more lower end teppanyakies, so you have to purchase your own drinks. Even water is served by the bottle.

Next, you get two sides of vegetables. Like most restaurants, you get bean sprouts and cabbage. The food preparation here is very light, but still flavorful, and the ingredients they use seem to be a little fresher and clean looking than the lower-end joints. The vegetables were not overly oily/buttery/salty. They did a good job in preparing these common dishes in a uncommon way. You can tell the difference between a chopstick full of bean sprouts served here than those served at RT mart or Carrerfour.
I ordered the Surf and Turf: Filet Mignon, Fish Fillet, and Prawns. The first entree that came out was the filet mignon. I ordered 50% cooked. I thought that would translate to medium rare, but I guess I can try 3 o 4 next time. The meat was tender, but it wasn't Filet Mignon tender. It was still chewy and sinewy even tho the inside looked properly red. It may be that the quality of the meat is not so good. They serve the Filet with their house steak sauce and garnished with fried garlic. It tasted delicious, a smooth sauce with a hint of pepper and garlic. However, the meat could be a little more melt in your mouth, but I guess you can't get that for 480 NT.
The next sides to come out were the fish fillet and the prawns. They already deshelled the prawns so all the flavor was cooked unto the meat. The shrimp meat was soft yet still having that elasticity found in shrimp. They seasoned it with salt, pepper, butter, and lemon juice. Each shrimp was very good. I could tell my the brain juice that it was not super fresh, but it hasn't been sitting in the freezer for too long either.  The fish fillet was also delicious. It soaked up more butter than the shrimp did, and the meat was very flakey. It melted off the bone, and each bite was filled with the aroma of butter and lemon. The fish and shrimp really helped add different flavors to the otherwise steak sauce heavy flavors originiating from the bean sprouts and the steak.
At the end of your meal, they bring you this lemon jelly dessert. It tops off the meal well my cleansing your pallet with a refeshingly sweet juice. The jelly was flimsly, and trickled down your throat easy. I did not have this type of jelly dessert for a while, so I happily indulged in it. This meal was really good, and I finished everything they offered me. I think the quantity was just right, and the quality was good enough. They get a 4 out of 5 for serving above average teppanyaki.

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