I was quite happy to see Taiwan Tea House return after quite a lengthy absence. It has been quite a few months since they had to move one strip mall down (I assume because of the new Nordstrom Rack and Container Store going in). The sign was back up almost immediately, but it took quite awhile for the place to actually get running again. But I am happy to say it is—it is quite near my house in an area that is somewhat lacking in good lunch choices (it is right next to the Barnes and Noble at 82nd & Dean), so it was missed when it was gone. The new interior is remarkably similar to the last one, clean and simple.
Although I really enjoyed my Mapo chicken last time, for the benefit of variety, the BFF and I both got different things. And you know I was really glad I did, because I really liked the things we got on this visit too. We started with an order (6) of “boiling dumplings” ($4.55) which were nice and light (and pork filled). Your classic dumplings, much like I recently had at Saigon, but with a sauce that was a little more unique. It had the soy flavor as well as the slightly sour vinegar taste along with lots of chilis. They were good, but not amazing. I have yet to have an appetizer here that blew me away.
We were also brought a bowl of soup (comes with the entrée), which I liked a lot more than the one I remember having before. This one tasted like a light miso soup with large pieces of tofu in it. It had more depth of flavor than what I remember having there before, which I remember to pretty much just be a chicken broth. We both commented on liking it (don’t get me wrong, it isn’t life altering or anything, but mild and comforting).
I ordered the “family tofu with meat” for my entrée ($6.95). The dish consisted of lightly fried cubes of tofu, chicken (you have your choice of meat), and lots of veggies (broccoli, onions, carrots) in a rich brown sauce—it wasn’t overly sweet l (yea! finally) and had a nice flavor—tasted like it had soy and maybe some oyster sauce in it. The ingredients are exceptionally fresh, and the more I ate of it, the more I wanted. The chicken was also properly cooked, and was a slightly firmer texture than went nicely with the very soft tofu and crunchy veg. I really enjoyed the combination of different textures—you don’t often see tofu and meat in a dish, and I liked it. They also give you a couple of crab rangoons with each lunch, which while the aren't my favorite, are a nice change from the egg rolls you get everywhere else. And they are small and very crunchy adding a nice crunch to the meal.
I had a couple of bites of my friend’s Lo Mein as well (which was enormous by the way). There were lots of nice pieces of chicken as well as the pile of noodles, and the flavor was interesting. It had a brownish sauce as well, but tasted as though it may have some sesame oil in it as well, and possibly some vinegar (in addition to soy). It did have a slightly sweet flavor, but that was set off nicely by the other things.
All in all, I am glad to have Taiwan Tea House back in business, and judging by the people who kept slowly streaming in as we ate, I am not the only one.
Taiwan Tea House
3746 E. 82nd Street