Tao Ban (陶板屋)

Taiwanese people have a habit of eating out rather than cooking at home because food is so convenient. You don’t even need to walk 5 steps (unless you live in an isolated area) to get to ready-made food/fast food.

After a few days of eating Chinese food, T was craving something different. My grandaunt (mentioned in Buns (包子) at My Granduncle’s Place) treated us to lunch at Tao Ban House (陶板屋). The restaurant served food that was more western with a Japanese touch. Their dishes were creative and delicious!

They served set meals, including appetizers (which included soup and salad as well as an appetizer dish), main course, palate cleanser, dessert, and tea. Total it was about 8 dishes. We were pretty hungry, so it was good for us.

Salad:

蘆筍山藥沙拉 Asparagus Yam Salad; 海鮮水果沙拉 Seafood Fruit Salad

The asparagus salad was refreshing. The wasabi added a nice flavour to the yam (quite bland on its own; the proper name is Dioscorea opposita 山藥). The fruits they used in the seafood fruit salad was so fresh and sweet!

Appetizer:

烤杏鮑菇 Roasted King Oyster Mushrooms

Spicy (but they warn you in advance; the service at this restaurant is VERY GOOD, they tell you everything especially when they bring the dishes, they’ll say, “dish coming to your right, be careful” or “I am going to clear this for you” before they do the said action so that you expect it) but good. I love mushrooms! I think my grandaunt and granduncle found it a bit too spicy.

Soup:

綠蘆筍海鮮濃湯 Asparagus Seafood Cream Soup

I only took one picture of the soups. My relatives were getting tired of me taking pictures. I enjoyed the soup, although I didn’t taste a strong flavour of asparagus. The soup sure was creamy, though!

Rice:

青蔬螺肉蒸飯 Vegetable Snail Steamed Rice; 田園燻雞炸飯糰 Fried Chicken Rice Ball

The steamed rice with vegetables and snail (I think this is the translation for 螺肉) came in an interesting presentation. My mom ordered it (I think she said it was good). The rest of us ordered the fried chicken rice ball. It was over-fried and hard. We gave our feedback to the server and she asked if we wanted new ones, we were pretty full already so declined the offer, but she said she’d mention to the chef.

The palate cleanser was 桑椹醋汁 (mulberry juice with vinegar) – it was yummy.

Main dish:

陶板香煎牛肉 Tao Ban Steak; 陶板海陸 Tao Fish and Steak; 香蒜瓦片牛肉 Garlic Steak

The cooking levels for steak in Taiwan is:
近生 (blue)
一分 (rare)
三分 (medium rare)
五分 (medium)
七分 (medium well)
全熟 (well done)

The server at the restaurant told us that they wouldn’t cook it under 六分 (somewhere between medium and medium well) for safety reasons. The beef they chose was very tender and they did a good job of preparing it. Just what T was looking for! The portions were huge, though! I had to doggy bag some steak.

Dessert:

紅豆抹茶奶酪 Red bean green tea with cream; 香橙雪酪起司蛋糕 Cheesecake; 菓風提拉米蘇 Tiramisu

The cream dessert was excellent! I am not sure how to translate 奶酪, some website just called it cream. T said the cheesecake wasn’t like ones in Canada with Graham cracker crust. He said it reminded him of the cheesecake at Lotus Tea House. My granduncle had the tiramisu.

Tea:

黃金香柚茶 Yuzu tea (or Japanese citron tea)

We are finally at the end of the meal.

The tea was nice and citrus-y! Not too sweet.

The restaurant is a chain and owned by the same company as 原燒 Yuan Shao.

Meal cost: $499 NT = approx $16 CAD
Website: http://www.taoban.com.tw
My rating: **** out of 5 (service was excellent, price was reasonable considering the amount of food we got, food was creative and delicious – except for the rice ball – and the presentation was very good)

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