Feb 1, 2011

Spicy Alley 辣巷子- Out of Business


Phone #:  02-2577-7575
Website: N/A
Price Range:   $$$
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 3.5 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.83 out of 5
Recommendation: The only place for Louisianna-Style seafood that I know of in Taipei

Ever since I landed on this island i've been searching for replacement versions of comfort foods from LA. One of the most comforting foods in San Gabriel was Cajun style seafood at the Boiling Crab. Used to get a lb of shrimp, a lb of crawfish, and a lb of clams with corn for a satisfying dinner. I was in joy when I heard the existence of "Spicy Alley," since they seemed to offer just what I missed so much. Spicy Alley offers a semblance of cajun style seafood at a tolerable price. If you come visit without any pre-conceived notions of Boiling Crab quality and prices, then you will have a great time. Caution: They don't sell crawfish and oysters are not $14 USD per dozen.

The interior design is a lot posher and modern looking than the boiling crab. This is definitely going toward the more high end market instead of pleasing customers with cheap tasty bags of seafood. The restroom here was too clean for comfort, although the automatic sink is a huge plus at a messy seafood restaurant.
They have all the elements of a cajun style seafood restaurant. A bunch of rolls of towels, although the Taiwanese version of a towel does not do a good job of mopping up my face. Buckets to place the shells, which I instinctively just placed on the table anyway. The seats, tables, and setting is definitely higher class than boiling crab, but it does not have that seaside shack feel that gives boiling crab it's charm. I am not sure if I want to dig into a bag of seafood face first at such a posh atmosphere. The servers were very polite, friendly, and prompt with their service. It may be because there were only two tables of customers including us this night, but they asked a lot of questions on how they could improve their meal and service. I appreciated the fact the servers here owned up as representatives to the whole establishment rather than viewing themselves as simple hired hands.
Down to the important part. The bag of shrimp came with corn and potato. First of all, the medium spicy is enough spicy. It's the perfect balance of heat and flavor so think twice before ordering the Hell Fire spiciness. What is depressing is that you only get 10 shrimp 1 corn and 1 potato for 280 NT, when I was used to paying 8.99 USD for a lb of shrimp. Characteristically Taiwanese, they were very stingy with the sauce and did not douse all the items in a whole bunch of sauce. It is like how they only give you one ketchup packet for a whole box of fries at Mcdonald's. I want my food drenched head to toe in cajunness. They suggest dipping the shrimp in the sauce, and I did so by necessity. In terms of flavor..its not as buttery, oily, zesty, and garlicky as I would like, but I would say this is a close representation to what a bag of cajun shrimp should taste like.
Next, they offer spicy shrimp rice, which is pretty much a tomato paste shrimp stock poured on top of a bed of rice. I would like to call this Gumbo, but it lacked the spices and flavor to really call it that. This might be a Taiwanese attempt at gumbo, or something else entirely, I am not sure. Whatever it was, it was tasty and paired well with the clams and shrimp.
The bag of clams is probably the item here with the highest value. For 180 NT you get a whole bag of clams doused in the sauce. Much like in boiling crab, the clams easily soak up all the flavor and the sauce and is the best tasting item. I suggest just getting a bag of clams and a bowl of rice. Separate all the clams from the shells into the bag, mix up the clam meat and the sauce and pour it all over the rice. Cheap and tasty.
The spicy alley also offers fried items. I kind of made the mistake for getting two orders of fish sticks, but actually came out alright. I recommend getting the 3 item combo for 600 NT to share with the table. 6 People is a number to share the bucket because 1 order of fish sticks comes in 6 pieces. So at least one person gets a piece. However, fried food is fried food and it is hard to get this wrong. They used decent ingredients and fried it to a acceptable point of crispiness.

The spicy alley is not a bad place to eat if you don't have strong pre-conceived notions on what a cajun style seafood restaurant is like in America. I was sort of let down, but I accepted the fact that I am in Taiwan, and this is the best I can get here to satisfy my Cajun cravings. I wish they would have crawfish in their menu, and they totally should import some from China. I did not get the chance to try the crab, but will do so at a future time. I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to mix their meals up with a little Cajun flavor after a work-week of eating noodles, rice, and dumplings meal after meal.

1 comment:

là ALLEY said...

Thank you very much for your recommendation!!!!!

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