Friday, November 28, 2008
CLOSED! american/new in town: i strongly recommend YUMA SOUTHWESTERN GRILL
CLOSED a/o 2/2011
YUMA SOUTHWESTERN GRILL
No. 21, Alley 11, Lane 216, ZhongXiao E. Rd, Sec. 4
hours: 12 PM - 11 PM (last orders at 10 PM)
Kid friendliness: high chairs available. lots of room for strollers
Visit reviewed: 11/14/2008
Yuma Southwestern Grill has arrived into town offering a huge menu of Southwestern style (think TexMex or Chili's) grilled ribs, chicken, shrimp, nachos and sides to be eaten family style.
Located in the alley parallel to Chung Hsiao East Road, you would have spotted its bright orange and blue storefront if you made it around the corner past the busy 248 lane filled with Alleycats, Toasteria, Chili House and Mary's Hamburgers.
I had been graciously invited to the Grand Opening by the owner (who previously founded the successful and delicious Alleycats), and the menu and concept definitely picqued my interest. I couldn't make it that night, but I wanted to try it out as soon as I could.
We made our reservations for the following week and were greeted by its friendly host/manager. Our waiter spoke fluent English and was helpful in helping suggest what to eat.
If you're not sure what to order, they make it easy by offering some sample menus for larger groups that will give you the right amount and mix of food. We decided to try the menu for 6 which included half order of ribs, half order of prawns, whole chicken, steak fajitas, calamari, chicken salad, and a side of rice. We also added the nachos.
Along with deciding if you want ribs, chicken or shrimp, each one has 3 different kinds of seasoning to choose from... if you like it spicy, then you could get the Peri Peri or Garlic and Chili Butter. We chose the cranberry and honey baby back ribs, dry rub chicken and rosemary and lime prawns. Yuma was inspired to make everything to be shared family style, but of course, you could order things individually as well.
Along with all the grilled meats, there's also an array of margaritas, wines, cocktails and beers and lots of sides to choose from- coleslaw, fries, corn, tortillas, rice.
How great would it be if they made sweet potato fries or cornbread (as asked recently by reader Christopher T.- where can you find cornbread in Taipei)? Mmmm. I'd be in trouble!
Everything arrived quickly to the table, maybe a little TOO quickly for family style eatings.. my mouth couldn't keep up with all the food on the table, and some of it was cold by the time I got to it. In the future, I would ask the servers to ask the kitchen to pace it a little more, or at least put some room between the appetizers/salads and the main meats.
The Arizona Chicken and Roasted Corn soup- hearty broth based chicken soup that you couldn't really find in Taipei before now, sweetened with the corn and fragrant with cilantro- a happy discovery since everywhere the soups served here always seems to be creamy and indistinguishable.
It's more than a week later and I'm still thinking about this soup. I could make a meal out of the soup and the nachos.
The Porky's Pulled Pork nachos (NT$240) were huge and piled with toppings, the way nachos should be! It was a good mix of toppings and melted cheese with the crispy chips, not served individually like some of the chain restaurants around town (and not Doritos with salsa like at some local eateries. Doritos with salsa is NOT nachos!)
The blue cheese in the Flame Grilled Lime and Rosemary Chicken Salad (NT$280) is not for everyone, but I liked its pungent taste mixed in with the salad and ranch dressing. Unfortunately the chicken in the salad that night was unbearably dry- I didn't eat it and instead saved room for the main courses.
I was not crazy about the Texas style calamari (NT$190) which was spiced batter then fried, but it seemed to do okay around the table.
The steak fajitas (NT$390) loses to Chili's on only one factor (no guacamole!)- with large slices of steak, warm tortillas, cheese, fresh corn salsa and pico de gallo, you have everything you need to make your own mini soft tacos, or pile in some rice and make a mini burrito. They also offer a trio shrimp/chicken/steak fajitas.
With so many things on the menu, I would say I wouldn't order the shrimp again. I was a bit surprised when our half order of butterflied prawns came and I saw six regular looking shrimp on 2 kabobs (NT$320/half dozen). That's like almost $5/US for each kabob!
I guess I expected them to bigger when I saw the word prawns.
Instead, put your money towards the ribs and get them with the sweet cranberry and honey glaze. We got the half rack, but should have gotten the whole. (NT$370 half/680 whole)
For dessert, you can choose between their crumb cheesecake or their Tijuana and Vanilla Lime flan. The group was split over which they liked best, but I didn't like the crumbly crust (which may have been its feature). Rather, I liked the sweet and tangy flan, which had a hint of lime and vanilla.
One waitress seemed confused when we asked for plates (to split the desserts around the table) and she said they didn't have any extra small plates. Oh well.
Yuma Southwestern Grill has the perfect location and bright colorful space to become a neighborhood hangout for great grilled fare that is competitive taste-wise and price-wise with not only its neighbors around the corner, but with the Western chains. Inside its brightly styled interior with large spacious tables and a table full of food, you might forget for a moment that you're in Taipei.
I will definitely have to come back for the lunch menu which offers a variety of wraps (NT$150-195) with a side of chips and additional soup for NT$30. It could be the perfect meal... with an order of nachos.
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