Thursday, July 31, 2008
american/sandwiches: GORDON BIERSCH
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A11, 2F
11 Songren Rd
hours: 11am- 12midnight
Kid friendliness: high chairs available. crayons. lots finger foods
Visit reviewed: 6/13/2008
You may or may not have heard about this new addition to the "Western Chain Restaurants" (or now known as "WCR") that have made their mark in the Xin Yi area in Taipei in the recent years. Gordon Biersch is a restaurant that I first heard about because of its garlic fries. So imagine my surprise when I saw its familiar sign on the second floor of Shin Kong Mituskoshi where there used to be random shops.
I went there opening week (it was packed at 1pm) and again the following week (not so packed at 12pm).
Why so long for the review? I wanted to figure out how to fairly describe their opening week kinks (and there were lots). I wanted to think about how GB is different than the other WCRs.
It's got an across the board menu filled with appetizers, salads, burgers, pastas, pizzas, grilled meats similar to TGIF, but has yet to work out its growing pains in training its servers to (1) bring you drinks right away and keeping them filled; (2) understand English requests/questions/orders and (3) bring you bread/soup etc right away to keep you happy/munching.
Service was on the slow and confused sides on both visits- with our first visit experiencing a missing pasta dish that ended up having to be reordered and coming about an half hour after we'd all started our food. And the Linguine Marinara ended up being too acidic for my tastes (though my friend thought it was ok).
Another annoying thing is that on the lunch special menu, it says in English that one of the options is lemonade. But apparently, that isn't an option according to the servers. They have lemonade, it just isn't complimentary as a drink with the lunch special (even though it's printed on the menu). And there is no option to upgrade the lunch special sodas/ice tea/coffee to something like lemonade (which turned out to be VERY sour).
But if you like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, then you should definitely try the one at Gordon Biersch. I don't think you could get one anywhere else in Taipei (please correct me if I'm wrong).
And if you go at lunch and ask them to switch out the potato chips for garlic fries (it might take a few tries) and get the business set lunch that comes with soup OR dessert and drink, then it's not a bad deal at NT$250. With a sprinkle of coleslaw and tender pulled pork bathed in tangy sweet bbq sauce on a bun, it's better than quite a few pulled pork sandwiches I've had in LA. And the garlic fries-- good, but hopefully you get a batch that is not overfried.
And if you're tired of the same old spinach salads from Mac Grill or Quesadilla Explosion salad from Chili's, then you should try the Grilled Chicken Cashew salad here.
GB also has a selection of award winning beers and even a beer sampler (NT$230) of shot glasses for you to try if you can't decide on which one. Personally, I'm not a beer drinker, so I can't report how it is.
From the lunch special, the various creamy soups (potato? mexican chicken?) go down easy like reheated Campbell soups and the chocolate cake is a good size for lunch (not too big, not too small). Chocolate-y enough though not as rich as the cakes from Mac Grill or Chili's.
But there were a few other things on the menu I might want to try if I go there again.. crabcakes, hummus, a couple of their other salads, fish and chips. BTW- if you end up with a menu with English titles for the foods but the descriptions in Chinese, you can ask for an English menu. Most of the WCRs have separate Chinese/English menus that you need to request if you are NOT an obvious Not Chinese Menu Reader like me (aka Chinese American who went to Chinese School for six years but can still only recognize first grade level characters). har har. Okay, my Chinese comprehension has gotten better than that since I've been here so much, but I'd still like my English menu.
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