Monday, December 18, 2006
american: TAHITIAN NONI
No. 108, Xin Yi Rd, Sec 5
official website: tncafe.com
visit reviewed: 11/16/2006
One day walking near 101, the bright blue, yellow and white store front sign for Tahitian Noni caught my eye. Inside, there seemed to be an array of displays of spa-like merchandise and in the back, a counter with models of salads, sandwiches, shrimp bowls along with a menu of hot and cold drinks, including their branded Tahitian Noni teas and juices.
It's an interesting lunch option for a city short of good places for good salads and wraps- most of the places that have decent salads, such as Macaroni Grill or Chili's, have huge family style portions at family style portion prices. Here the portions are still enough to split between two people, but quite affordable for a quick lunch (about NT$400 for 2).
My friend and I ordered a chicken quesadilla and a sesame chicken salad at the counter and took at seat near the window. The website asks you to enjoy the food in the "Tahitian" decor which is warm and simple, yet inviting, sort of like the food.
But as much as I wanted to LOVE the food, I didn't. The salad was mostly lettuce, with a pile of shredded carrots on top, with some sprinkling of peanuts, red bell pepper slices, broken ramen noodle pieces and smoked chicken cubes. I found the chicken to be dry and hard, and the ginger sesame dressing to be more oily than flavorful.
The chicken quesadilla fared a little better- while they used the same smoked chicken (if it wasn't smoked, it tasted like it)- and the tortilla looked as if it was grilled. But the other ingredients inside looked as if they might have been assembled from canned beans, corn and salsa from a jar from Costco.
After browsing their website, which mysteriously lacks listing a location in Taiwan, yet has the Taiwan phone number under "locations" in the USA section of the website, there are other locations in Germany, Japan, Brazil and in the US, Atlanta and Dallas. The menu here also seems more limited than the menu on the site- perhaps they will bring in more options as the cafe gets more popular? I'd love to try their Kalua pork sandwich or crab cake salad and their shrimp bowl seems popular. They also have breakfast options in the morning, such as breakfast sandwiches and wraps.
I would definitely give them another chance, especially to avoid the overwhelming madness of the food courts during lunchtime- their lunch set menus offer a good deal with a drink with the salad or bowl of the day. They are practically across the street from 101, next to Peony Japanese restaurant, but somehow inside, you feel much further away.