Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor: 4 out of 5
Service: 5 out of 5
Overall: 4.3 out of 5
Recommendation: Upscale Chao Zhou Restaurant
The Chao Fare Collective inside the San Want Hotel on Zhong Xiao East Rd is an upscale Chinese restaurant featuring the regional cuisine of Chao Zhou. Although part of the menu seems to be cantonese dim sum, most items in the front of the menu claim to be Chao Zhou cuisine. Chao Zhou Cuisine seems to be a little less salty and not so heavy. Also, it seems like most of the dishes have a sweet quality in them. The set meals all consist of shark fin soup, appetizers, entree, and a dessert starting from 980 NT. However, from now til 5/31/2011, you can try their all you can eat 880 NT per person special anniversary menu to try this restaurant out for a cheaper price. This special menu applied only to dinner hours only. Check this place out before this promotion is over.
The interior is pretty well designed with comfortable seating, nice tables, and sleek porcelain tableware. They have slightly cramped spacing between the tables, but its at a tolerable distance. They also accomodate private rooms for parties of eight or more. They had a decent server to table ratio, so we were served promptly. Their servers are all very professional and warm, this is also one of the few restaurants in Taipei that clears the check at the table for you. They also change plates and give you new wet napkins regularly, so I felt that this was definitely at the higher echelon in the food service industry. I will not hesitate to give them a 5. Even though, they did make a mishap in the ordering by double clicking on an order, but that did not affect us that much. They kindly took the extra dishes away. The photo does not do this place justice, because my seating limited the angles I could take of the space, but the whole area had a classy ambience.
We started off with these shredded turnip pies. They were very flaky and crispy on the outside, with a very hot and juicy turnip based filling on the inside. These were very good appetizers. They were easily consumed in a few bites and was not overbearing to the tastebuds.
The first normal dish we got was this Chao Zhou-style braised goose slices. This is the only distinctively Chao Zhou style item on the promotional menu. If you really want to try more authentic Chao Zhou cuisine then you got to pay the normal prices. The dark meat of the goose was really really good. It had the gamey chicken taste to it. They had this garlic based sauce you can dip the slices in. On the bottom of the slices are a few slices of oily tofu. The tofu absorbed all the juices from the slices and carried that flavor within their tender bodies. I also recommend this dish to try out something distinctively Chao-style.
Finally, the coconut milk sago dessert. You could also call it tapioca, but its the 椰汁西米露. Translating all this chinese into English can be very frustrating, and I you can connect my translations to the actual chinese menu. This dish had its ups and downs. I liked the fact that the soup had strong coconut notes and was thicker in consistency, but the tapioca balls did not seem to have that pop in them. They were too soft and kind of yielded to easily to ur bite. I like the tapioca balls show a bit of resistance to your teeth when you chew on them. In other words, they were not Q enough for me. This was not a bad meal at 880 NT a person, and if you bring more than two people, then you can sample a lot more than we did here today.
Try out this place before the promotion ends, otherwise, you will have to pay about 400 NT per dish that you see in this post. Of course, the quality of the normal menu probably has better quality items, so I may come back and try more authentic Chao-style dishes here in the future.