Aug 8, 2011

Madame Jill's Vietnamese Cuisine 翠薪越南餐廳

Madame Jill's Vietnamese Cuisine sells pho, spring rolls, and all sorts of other vietnamese delicacies in their sizeable location in the NTU main entrance area. This is very accesible to students living in the Shui Yuan BOT dorms, and is a very economical and delicious dining option. The pho runs about 125 NT per bowl. They have many noodle options like the dominant thick flat rice noodles seen mostly in Taiwan, but the owner smiles when he tells his customer that they also offer the thin rice noodles predominately used in America. This is probably be the best vietnamese restaurant in this area, and their success is evident in that this is their second location. Whenever you are craving for pho, Madame Jill can help you out.
Phone #: 02-23680254
Business Hours: 11:00~ 14:30 17:00~21:00
Website: N/A
Price Range:   $$
Accepts Credit Cards: idk
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  3.5 out of 5
Service: 3 out of 5
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
Recommendation: Best Pho in Gong Guan


The interior is spacious and you don't feel overcrowded in this establishment. There are faux oil paintings with Vietnam themes. The chairs and tables are quite comfortable and they have the air conditioning on at a suitable level. This restaurant is one of the few Vietnamese restaurant in the NTU front entrance area that spent thought and time in their interior design.  It isn't really spiffy, but it is definitely above average.

The service here is on and off. Most days when I come and they don't have that many people, you get relatively good service. The servers seem to give you the feeling that they are preoccupied in their own world, and maybe it is because they are being overworked. However, on most days when I ask for Hoisin sauce and spicy sauce, they bring it right away. Once when they were busier they totally didn't bring it to me at all and so their service isn't really able to deal with a surge in customers that well. They sacrifice the little requests by their little customers to take care of the greater whole. Despite that, this place is still the closest and best Pho fix around campus.
They bring you a side dish of bean sprouts, sliced red peppers, and basil just like in America. What isn't like America, is they skimp on the ingredients and give you a few small twigs of basil and a handful of sprouts. I guess things are a lot more expensive here in Taiwan. What also is disappointing about this and most other Vietnamese restaurants in this area is that they don't have what is commonly known in southern californian vietnamese restaurants as "the special #1." I like the different cuts of meat that I get in the californian pho restaurants: brisket, sliced round, tendon, and tripe. At this place, the best option you can get is sliced round, tendon, and beef balls. I miss that stinky innards mixed with the pho noodles and hoisin/cock sauce.

That being said, at least their soup base tastes good. It is more clear than the american counterpart, but it still brings back those familar notes of onion, beef stock, basil, cilantro, and msg. The noodles they use here are still a little thicker than the ones back in Cali, but they pass with the characteristic mushiness. There's nothing really much to mention about the hot pot meat they use for Pho. Its just sliced beef round, I was more of a fan of brisket and tripe, which they don't seem to offer here. However, this is still a very good bowl of Pho to satiate that occasional want. This may not be the best bowl of Pho in Taipei, but certainly a blockbuster in the Gong Guan front entrance area (1 of 3 that I have tried).

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