or CHI SU DA WEI
No. 102, Kun Ming St.
website: ximen.com.tw mostly Chinese
hours: 11:30AM-10PM; closes 10:30PM on Friday/Sat
Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted. fast casual seating on 2nd and 3rd floors, stairs only
Visit reviewed: 4/14/2011
After moving back to Taipei, I found myself craving all sorts of things that I never gave a second thought to in the states. Fajitas. Subway cookies. Meatballs. And philly cheesesteaks.
So when I heard about a philly cheesesteak place opened in Taipei, I knew I had to give it shot, especially after hearing that it was opened by a Taiwanese American who lived in Philly and had moved back to Taiwan.
There's probably a good portion of Taiwanese people who have never been to Philadelphia, so this would be their first exposure to a philly cheesesteak. I've never had a cheesesteak in Philly either, so I can only imagine how awesome they might be. My memories of the smell and sizzle of philly cheesesteaks are from Steak Escape at the Galleria Mall in LA (but I think I usually ended up with Chick-A-Fil or the orange chicken from Panda Express).
Cheese David is located in Ximending, closer to the theaters than to the MRT stop. Once you get onto E Mei St., it's easy to spot with its red and white three stories.
The plastic menus have English and Chinese as well as pictures. Besides cheesesteaks, there are burgers, chicken sub sandwiches and tuna salad sandwiches. I was also surprised to see waffles and desserts on the menu, though the desserts looked slightly Costco-ish.
Once we placed our order at the counter, we had to wait for the food to take it upstairs where the seating is. So I wandered over to the window where they were grilling up the beef and spotted the tub of cheese sauce. Scoops of cheese sauce going on fries, going on cheesesteaks.
It looks pretty promising...
I have to admit that the packaging and concept is pretty well thought out. The bright orange logo is on all the wrappers and cups and the cheesesteak even has a sticker with the cartoon image of Cheese David.
Upstairs, we can't wait to dig in. I asked them to cut the cheesesteak (NT$185 set meal) and burger in half so my friend and I can each try half.
I wished there was more steak after my first few bites. At least twice as much, if not more. Is it too American of me to want a huge pile of meat overflowing out of the bun, or is that a reasonable expectation for a philly cheesesteak? Just google "philly cheesesteak" if you want to see what I mean.
So I can't help but to be a little disappointed, even though the flavors are good, especially if you enjoy gooey cheese whiz-like cheese sauce.
The burger (NT$175 set meal) is decent too, with a better meat to bun ratio, though the bread on the cheesesteak is better than the bun on the burger. It's a good size and I can't really think of other burger places in the Ximending area besides McD's. And I devoured my cup of cheese fries and probably some of my friend's.
I can imagine how this place is popular with people looking for something different and there seem to be a lot of students hanging out and studying in the seating area. Hard core cheesesteak lovers might want something more, but for some looking for a taste of "home," this might do the trick.
At the end of the meal, most of my friends agreed that we might not come out of our way for a second visit, (especially since I had started experimenting with making my own cheesesteaks at home!) but it is worth trying once to see if you like it or not. I could totally see how if you're really jonesing for cheese fries, and in the area, Cheese David wouldn't be a bad place to hang out for an hour or two.