Tuesday, December 18, 2007

american: SWENSEN's



SWENSEN's
No. 109, Jen Ai Rd, Sec 4
(02) 2772-3696

website: swensens.com.tw Chinese only

hours: 24 hours at this location

$-$$

Kid friendliness: high chairs, crayons spotted

Visit reviewed: 10/26/2007

I think that I visited Swensen's in Taipei when I was a kid, but I can't be sure. Before all you had so many selections for American food, Swensen's was the place to go (next to Sizzler.. remember when Sizzler was THE American place to go in Taipei? hahah). Now it's sort of the Denny's of Taipei with its late night hours, generic American menu and breakfasts- not to mention its decor, service, prices and food.



When you walk in, you see the ice cream right away and they have pints of ice cream for you to take away, as well as milkshakes and sundaes if you sit down. The English and Chinese menu has many pictures and offers a few things each of a wide range of appetizers, salads, soups, steak(NT$530-620), ribs, chicken, seafood, pastas, fish n chips, sandwiches and burgers- as well as scoops of your favorite ice cream and drinks- and breakfasts like omelettes, french toast, pancakes and eggs (NT$130-225). They also have some unique offerings like german pig knuckle (NT$499), mexican chicken burger (NT$260), and european, indian or thai curry (NT$260-299)

For NT$180 for a milkshake, I expected it to be diner-sized, meaning in a full glass with a silver shaker of more milky ice cream goodness to refill yourself. Instead we got a slim tall glass. It is actually plenty for lunch, with the richness and flavors, but still expensive for the amount that you are getting.



On this day, we got a set menu special because it was Mon - Fri between 11am- 5pm of adding NT$10 to any entree and getting a set meal (meaning w/ a soup or salad and beverage or dessert. Extra for milkshake. The French Onion soup was decent, though there was no melted cheese anywhere.



The mushroom hamburger my friend got (NT$260) was sizeable, though I thought they were skimpy on the fries. However, I had a sort of weird experience with my club sandwich. When you order, you have the option of ham or grilled chicken. When I ordered, I said "ji" or chicken in Chinese when the waiter asked me which I wanted. When the sandwich came, it had ham, which looked decent, but we pointed it out still and the waiter (different from the one that took the order) just took it back to the kitchen.

Then a few minutes later, the waiter that took the order came back with a look on his face- don't know if he was angry or annoyed, but definitely not happy. He said we ordered "ham and cheese" and I said, "no, I ordered chicken." I guess he misheard my "ji" for "cheese," but he also didn't repeat my order for what I said for confirmation. Either way, I figured they would just redo it with no problem, but it was sort of strange the attitude he was giving us.

When the grilled club finally did come about 10 minutes later, it was more less plump and juicy than I had imagined and I should have just taken the ham and not said anything.



I don't know. Do you guys send stuff back if it's not what you ordered, or what point do you just keep it? Personally, I think the attitude does make all the difference. We were even nervous that they might have done something to our sandwich (which I know is rare these days, right?) and they probably didn't, but it just made the sandwich all the less appetizing.


OTHER SWENSEN's LOCATIONS (free delivery within 2 km radius with minimum NT500 order)

Tien Mu
2, Lane 14 Chung Shan N. Road, Sec 7
(02) 2875-3361
hours: 730am - 3 am

Trade Center
81 Keelung Road, Sec 2
(02) 2735-3696
Hours: 730am - 2 am

Tun Hwa
218 Tun Hwa N. Road
(02) 2715-2754
hours: 730am - 2 am

Nei Hu
306 Ming Chuan E Road, Sec 6
(02) 2632-1983
hours: 730am - 2 am

8 comments:

abstractpoet said...

Word. It's all about the attitude, and what you described doesn't seem typical of Taipei at all, what with waiters and waitresses typically being all apologetic even when there's no need to be.

I guess in the States you'd dock their tip, but here I dunno what you can do.

Haven't been to Swenson's in years. Don't think I'll be going back anytime soon, based on this review.

tt said...

Bummer. Service makes all the difference. It can actually make so-so food taste good when the service is good, but also
vice-versa when service is bad.

Nice of you to still include all their locations though.

I think you are ready for a real shake back at The Counter! :)

j'adore food said...

I've never really liked Swensen's...their prices are too high, and the food (even the ice cream) isn't that great. If I had been in your shoes, I probably would've reminded them of what I ordered, then read their response to determine if I'd have them change it or if I would've said "It's okay, I can just eat that one." It's hard, though, to be gracious when the server is not. Generally in Taiwan, people don't seem to live by "the customer is always right" policy. Did they have any feedback forms anywhere? I'm sorry you had a bad experience. YES, I remember when Sizzler was all the rage...funny how things change!

pterrell said...

Off the topic of Taipei, but if you're up in the East Bay Area, you should drop by the Swensen's in Pleasanton. A Vietnamese family took it over and added Pho and other Vietnamese food on a separate menu. It's not great pho, but it's good. And I'd say the same of Swensen's ice cream--it's not great, but it's good. But the place is an interesting mix of cultures.

pterrell said...

Oh, and thanks for the review. When the in-laws lived on Dunhua Road, I often passed by the place, but never got a chance to go. So I often wondered if it was any good.

For ice cream, the wife prefers Häagen-Dazs. And when the in-laws want "American", they hit Tony Roma's (RIP) and Ruth Chris.

joanh said...

abstractpoet: yeah.. I guess that's the negative about the auto 10% service fee at some Taipei places. Ah well, here, you just don't go back.

tt: are you going to come back and meet up with us at the Counter? :)

j'adore food: Yeah, I know. I tried to offer to take it, but the other servers were okay. It was the one that took our order that was giving attitude. Ah well..

pterrell: the added pho to the menu? that's hilarious! I'm sad about Tony Roma's having closed down too.. you can take them to Lawry's or the Diner next time, I suppose.

Melbourne Hotels said...

With the reviews I got, well, it's not so good. But I think I have to try it myself before I judge.

Paul said...

Just tried breakfast at the Swensen's on Keelung Road (intersection with Guangfu S Rd.
No problem with service, although extremely slow.
Food? Well, so so. Had the traditional breakfast and wife had pancakes.
On mine the French toast and eggs were OK. Bacon was Taiwan bacon style and sweet.
The pancakes on my dish and the wife's were, well, like eating cardboard. No other way to describe it. No match on McD's fresh hotcakes, I suspect they may have even been frozen.
Got strange looks from server when asking for more syrup to try and soften them up to make edible.
Restaurant was full, though. Strange.
Will not be going back.

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