Aug 14, 2011

Alleyway BBQ 胡同燒肉


Alleyway BBQ is an asian style BBQ house with manly locations including one in the NEO19 building in the bustling Sin Yi District. The Chinese name Hu Tong 胡同 invokes Beijing style cuisine, but the establishment is more like one of those pervasive Japanese style BBQ houses with a little more class. The prices are slightly higher than the average Japanese BBQ house, and each individual can expect to spend at least 1000 NT for a nice meal. They have excellent service and a posh clean atmosphere, and you can come here and dine freshly grilled filet mignon, sirloin steaks, lamb chops, butter chicken, and other bbq-able items you can think of. Out of all the Asian BBQ houses, this one sets the bar in terms of quality of food and service.

Address:  台北市松壽路22號
                 No. 22, SōngShòu Rd, Sinyi District Taipei City, Taiwan 110

Phone #: 02-2723-8838
Business Hours: 18:00-01:00
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range:   $$$$
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4.5 out of 5
Overall: 4.33 out of 5
Recommendation: Classy Asian BBQ with great service


When you step into the restaurant you can see the bartop bbq setup and a couple of booths in the front. The decor is really simple and they provide fairly comfortable chairs with weighty looking wood themes. They try to make it look sort of Japanesish even though their theme is supposed to be more Beijingesque. The decor doesn't really fit the name, but besides that point the whole interior looked nice. Their service is excellent as they have hosts take you to your seat and help place your bulkier items in their lockers for you. Also, they almost have a server manning each active grill to make sure you get the best preparation for your BBQ items. They always coach you on how to prepare your items, but most of the time they will do it themselves at your table. They seem to be knowledgeable of the preparation method and the reasons for each subtle step and timing. The servers are also quite lax and humourous while they cook on point. Each server needs to go through a period of on the spot training, so that they are all able to control the food quality fairly consistently.
The ones with the red tags with their names on it are the seasoned professionals. The trainees will have these temporary yellow tags and you should try to avoid their service unless they are really cute. The meats are not pre-marinated, but only lightly seasoned before grilling to emphasize the quality and freshness of their ingredients. Impressively, the meats hold up even with their light approach to seasoning. Sitting at the bar is great because you are guarenteed fast service and much help. It is also interesting to see them prepare items and peek at what the other customers ordered for some inspiration. However, the servers always try to push the more expensive items to you, but I guess it is worth trying to eat Kobe beef if you can afford it.
The first item that was prepared for us was the austrailian wagyu beef tongue. It is 480 NT for 4 slices like this. They grill it with a green onion mixture on top and roll it up like a meat taco. The meat was sort of tough, only slightly gamey. but absolutely delicious. Tongue is very lean and most of the flavor was contributed by their lemon and green onion topping. I don't think this is worth the price, so I would not get this again.
The butter grilled chicken is delicious as well. The chicken isn't charred too much. They are very juicy and tender and bathed in a nice lather of butter. The freshness of the chicken and great texture is accenutated by the rich creaminess of their butter. This is a cheap way to fill your stomach here, but it is not necessarily a bad way to go.
This next item is their squid. It is cooked ever so slightly, and they remark that this item could be eaten raw, but its good to cook it a little for a more interesting texture. Just a little lemon is all you need to bring out the inherent flavor of the squid. It is nice to add some seafood items to switch it up after eating beef and chicken.
But who am I kidding? I can't  get enough of beef, so you should definitely get a substantial amount of cow like this sirloin steak. This is a medium priced way to fulfill your bovine craving. A step up would be trying to Wagyu beef, and a step down would be trying their sliced shoulder meat. I recommend the sirloin steak if you like heartier chunks and don't feel like spending too much. Another great option that they did not have to offer are their filet mignons. They are smaller chunks of meat, but they are more tender. There are 3 types of preparation methods for their filet mignon, and all three of them have their own unique twist, but they share an overall tender texture and flavor.
All this protein can be overwhelming so don't forget to get your veggies in. I recommend getting the variety plate so you get a little bit of corn, bel peppers, and mushrooms in the mix. The bill was already racking up to about 1800, but I was not quite full. The good thing about BBQ restaurants it that you can add to your order and the food won't come out inordinately.
The lamb chops were seasoned to order and then plopped on the grill, and we waited with anticipation. The best lamb chops i've had on this island were at this Swedish restaurant called Flavors and nothing have really come close ever since. These lamb chops were a pretty good contender. The quality of the lamb chop was great and wasw lightly seasoned with a soy sauce based marinade, salt, and some pepper. It is not in a thicker sauce like that in Flavors, but these are closer to the minimally seasoned lamb chops I used to make myself. The minimal seasoning allows the flavor of the lamb itself to pervade. That grassy, gamey taste is what I expect to get from my chop. This was not extremely gamey, but lambness was only subtle yet definitely was there.

Alleyway BBQ "Hu Tong" is now my favorite Asian BBQ joint and if I had more money i'd be frequently a lot more often. The quality of the items are great and it can be attested by their minimal seasoning. Poor quality meats need to be covered up with elusive sauces and what-not. A good piece of meat can stand alone with a pinch of salt. Their ingredients could stand alone and are only accentuated by their light seasoning. If you are determined to spend 1000 NT at a asian BBQ restaurant, then I recommend that you consider dropping it here at Alleyway BBQ.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...