Wednesday, March 01, 2006
breakfast/American: NY BAGEL CAFE
No. 122, Xin Yi Rd, Sec. 5
open: usually 24 hours
review visit: 2/27/06
I had heard about NY Bagel Cafe's American style breakfasts for awhile when they only had their Ren Ai location- after all, pancakes, french toast, eggs and bagels are quite a contrast to the standard breakfast here which is usually porridge with sides of dried pork, pickled cucumbers, spicy bamboo, salty egg and sweet gluten; or hot soy milk with yo-tyow (long deep fried bubble sticks) to dip in. And I LOVE breakfast. Last year when I was with my cousin, we taxied to over 4 different places in search of the perfect waffle breakfast in Taipei. I love to make waffles and omelettes at home and it's tough finding other places that can serve it as satisfying to my tastebuds as when I make it myself. When the new NY Bagel Cafe XinYi location opened last fall nearby, I finally got a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
They have a good range of bagels (NT$50) to choose from, including plain, wheat, blueberry, cinnamon raisin and onion, as well as various flavors of cream cheese, which come for an additional NT$20-40. They are all pretty good, with the right amount of chewy denseness, but fresh rather than hard. I prefer to get mine to go and toast them at home.
Offering various set menu breakfasts, which you choose from french toast or pancakes with corned beef hash and eggs as your main dish and you get a drink/coffee, side of apples, small glass of OJ for . Go for the french toast- it's not the best I've ever had, but it's eggy and sweet enough to satisfy.
The banana chocolate walnut pancakes sounded so promising, but they were so dry as if they chef forgot to add enough milk to the mix- the opposite of fluffy or melt in your mouth. A huge disappointment. The eggs were slightly greasy, but the corned beef hash was even more greasy and artificial tasting. The side of apple slices are a little strange, but refreshing. The small glass of OJ is tiny and the latte looks pretty but has the burnt bitter coffee taste- but then again, I am not a regular coffee drinker. My coffee drink of choice is typically a vanilla latte or ice blended from Coffee Bean or Starbucks and compare all my coffee experiences to that.
They have various sandwiches and pastas, but I've found their steak sandwich (NT$240) to be surprisingly good. It comes with toasted ciabatta bread and fat steak fries, which makes for a filling and satisfying meal. The fries taste baked rather than fried. The texture of the bread fits perfectly with the steak, and the sandwich is almost too tall to take a bite. I've also tried their roast beef sandwich which is a disappointing couple slices of roast beef on a roll. I've heard the roast beef sandwich is better at the Ren Ai location.
They do have a tasty selection of Junior's cheesecakes- brownie, key lime and original. I tried the key lime which had a slight lime flavor and was not too sweet. The slices are small for the price NT$145, but the right portion if you don't want to eat too much for a late night snack.
The menu has chinese and english and pictures of some of the items, such as the breakfasts. The area is casual with lots of booths and high ceilings, as well as outdoor tables to sit when the weather is good. With loud music playing, it's definitely a diner atmosphere. It's a very popular late night hang out and often there is a waiting time at night.
All the times I've been there, I've found the service to be unbearably slow and unsatisfactory. The order slowly comes to the table, one dish or drink at a time, even when the restaurant was not particularly crowded. We also had to frequently wave down the servers to get assistance and in general, I've found that they are not particularly friendly or helpful. Hopefully, if you are there with a large group, you can use the conversation to make the time pass by. You can also order to-go and just enjoy it somewhere else.
147 Renai Rd, Sec 4, Taipei
(02) 2752 1669