Jul 8, 2011

Celestial Clay Jar 天罎


Address: 台北市敦化南路一段29516
                No. 16, Lane 295, Section 1, DūnHuà South Rd, Daan District
Phone #: 02-2709-6916
Business Hours: 11:30-21:30
Website: http://www.975.tw/
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:  3 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
Recommendation: Cheap late night eat, but not good.


Celestial Clay Jar is a very traditionalesque chinese restaurant that offers many slowly cooked items from their special earthen cookware. They pride themselves in being very health conscious, and so their dishes are flavored just enough, but not overly oily and heavy. The average price of a dish is 250 NT, so you will probably spend about 500 NT a person here. The service staff seemed very friendly and recommended what they thought was the most poular dishes without feeling like they are pressuring you to purchase the most expensive items. Also, the server we had was very attentive to our needs and courteous in accomodating us. This is a very interesting place to dine especially for those who might want to try a light meal that is not flavorless.

The interior is pieced together really messily with a lot of particle wood setups. They tried to make it very traditionally chinese. They even have those old style parallel wooden chairs with a table between them. The actual dining area is really small, and I think they will max out at 50 people in this restaurant. The decor is too messy and very poorly arranged and designed. Their service was not bad, but they only had 1 real "waitress" working that day. The waitress was very sincere in her recommendations and did not try to get us to purchase too much. The main draw of this place is their slow cooked food items cooked using earthen cookware.
The first dish she recommended was this meat trio comprised of smoked chicken leg, smoked spare ribs, and sliced pork. The chicken leg and the spare ribs are cooked by their traditional chinese clay cooking jugs. There is a smokiness to the meat and the juices are all contained into the meat. It does not seem too dry or too oily, and that is probably due to the method of preparation. They believe that this type of food is healthier to eat than the overly seasoned and oily meat items that are more commonplace.
The rice they provide is not just normal white rice, but a blend of white rice, little rice, and barley. This blend was not too "healthly" and the textures were soft enough that it was not as bad as the typical 5 grain rice that does not pair that well with other food items.
We also got this sesame oil angel hair noodles to go wtih the meats. The noodles were very Q. The sauce was very light. This was definitely healthy and needed to be paired with the meat and other dishes for it to be more palatable.
The cabbage cooked in spicy vinegrette was a very light yet subtly spicy dish. The leaves were very crunchy, clean, and tender. This again is a very healthy rendition of a dish you can get at teppanyaki places, or any other cafeteria-like restaurant.
This next dish is a mountain potato, tomato soup. It was very clear and deep with the notes of tomato and mountain yam. There were a couple of mushrooms in there as well, but the tomato and yam flavors dominated the broth. Since, you can't really see what is going on in the big bowl I moved some down to a smaller scale.
It's more clear here than it in essence, this was a very clear and uninteresting vegetable soup. It was very healthy and soothing, but I would not be able to admit that it was delicious, or that I would want to drink some more. It was very bland and "healthy."
The dessert they have here is also very bland and healthy. This sesame dessert soup was not very sweet, but the just very sesame suffused and thick from some sugar.
And of course, the last dish was the complementary yams. These are not only semi-sweet, they also help you digest. It is a very healthy end to a very healthy meal.

This restaraunt is a very healthy place to eat. In my experience, that usally means that the food will be rather bland and tasteless. The food here was indeed borderline bland and tasteless. If they only used a little less salt or oil it may have been impalatable. The ingredients they use seem to be pretty fresh, but their minimal use of seasoning takes some getting used to. This place is good for those people who like a healthy meal that isn't overbearing. I thought it would be cool because they used earthen cookware, but I didn't really see hard evidence that they actually used it. This place is just a healthy choice in Chinese dining.

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