Taiwan Chinese Restaurant

I have conflicting emotions about Taiwan Chinese Restaurant.  I really want to LOVE this place, but I can't say that I do.  There are some dishes TCR does really well but it's hard to remember which ones because of the massive menu.  I'm talking about 50 dishes for what's really a small restaurant.

Pu Pu Platter $9.95
I feel as if we ordered the majority of the appetizer portion of the menu.  First, we had the Pu Pu Platter.  It consist of two egg rolls, two fried shrimp, 4 crab Rangoon, 3 BBQ ribs and two Teriyaki chicken.  The egg rolls consist of pork and a bunch of vegetables.  Typically that would be ok except TCR uses cabbage as well.  I hate cabbage in egg rolls.  I think it tastes weird, but if you dip it in enough duck sauce it's palatable.  The BBQ Ribs were so tough.  The meat was all dried out.  I had one bite and was done.  I didn't have any shrimp or chicken however, my friend thought both were good.

Crab Rangoon (10) $4.95
I didn't mention the crab Rangoon because I had a separate order. This is one of the dishes I've had before and remember liking.  The Rangoon are made in egg roll wrappers instead of wonton wrappers.  The egg roll wrapper is thinner and fries up crispier.  These are also stuffed nice and full with the filling; which is kinda sweet and has a good amount of krab (yes, with a "k").

Fried Dumplings (8) $5.45
My friend absolutely love TCR's fried dumplings and I understand why.  They're pretty darn tasty. The dumplings are plump with filling.  I think it's made primarily of pork.  It's served with a sauce made up for soy, red vinegar and hot chili oil sauce.  I like submerging the dumpling into the sauce then eating it.  That way I avoid the dreaded double dip.

Fried Calamari $7.00
Another dish I liked was the fried calamari.  I believe it fried in a tempera batter so it's nice and light.  The batter also does not overwhelm the delicate flavor of the squid.  I especially like the way TCR score the squid before it's fried.  The technique makes the squid more tender than left as is and fried.  My only complaint is that it did not come with a dipping sauce or maybe a lemon to squeeze over it.  However, I did used the soy dipping sauce that came with the fried dumpling and it went with it very well.  TCR is my new favorite place to eat fried calamari.

Hunan Beef Lunch Special about $8
I had a very hard time choosing my lunch because as I mentioned TCR has a very large menu.  I ended up ordering the Hunan Beef lunch special.  It came with fried rice and an egg roll for about $8.  I thought the stir fry was really good.  There was a good ratio of meat to vegetables.  The meat was tender and the sauce was stellar.  The vegetables were cooked well.  It still had a bit of a crunch to it. The fried rice was a little lackluster though.  It wasn't much more than rice tossed in some low sodium soy sauce.  I don't remember any egg or vegetables at all.  Although once paired with the sauce in the stir fry, it was much better.  If you've gotten this far, you already know how I feel about the egg rolls.

Orange Chicken was about $9.50
My brother got the orange chicken and it came piled high on the plate.  There was plenty for him to share with my friend and I.  I liked this dish. The chicken was very tender.  The coating was not too thick.  The sauce was thick, but could use a little more orange flavor.  This huge plate came with a tiny bowl of plain white rice.  I mean really, if you were going to serve family size portions shouldn't that apply to the rice as well.  The rice didn't taste like jasmine rice either.  We left the tiny bowl primarily untouched.

My friend has nothing but good things to say about the proprietor, Ms. Jenny but my experience has not been all that great.  She may make regulars feel welcome but if it's your first time, be prepared for some curtness.  She's not rude really.  During my first visit, I just felt like I was interrupting her watching her soaps and she rather get back to that than serve me.  This time was little different since I was with one of her regulars.  She was a little more attentive, but it still far below my mark as adequate service.  The restaurant is set up a little odd as well. In the middle are two big round banquet tables then lining the walls are booths and tables, which wasn't very comfortable.  If you get bored while waiting for your food, you can look at the pictures lining the wall that spans thirty years.  The photo chronicle everything for the owners' first restaurant to family vacations and customers.  Interesting stuff although tacky as decor.

I think TCR would be a much better restaurant by simplifying their menu.  I could read it like a book although there's no description once so ever.  How am I suppose to know the difference between Hunan and Mongolia Beef?  It just doesn't make any sense.  As my brother says it "This place is nothing special."

Taiwan Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Click here for a look at Taiwan Chinese Restaurant's Menu.


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