Tuesday, November 04, 2008

CLOSED! western/new in town: i strongly recommend L'IDIOT

Closed spring 2013

No. 156, MinSheng E Rd, Sec 3
(02) 2545-6966

hours: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM、5:30 PM - 10:30 PM (Fri/Sat until 12 AM)

$$ - $$$

Kid friendliness: high chairs available. friendly service.

Visit reviewed: 10/28/2008

I haven't figured out what to say everything I want to say yet about L'Idiot, but I wanted you to hear it from me first. A great new addition to the ever-growing scene of restaurants in Taipei, L'Idiot has a varied and seasonal menu offering salads, grilled meats, seafood, pasta, risotto and desserts. (Or as they put it with a sense of dry humor, Aquatics or "Cows and baby sheep")

Everything tastes fresh and they have some original offerings (pumpkin and crab risotto, fig brownie) that will become fast favorites, like the arugula & candied lemon salad (light, tangy and sweet) and vodka seafood fettucine.

Their other salads were also great- one with beets and goat cheese, the other a green salad with fresh figs, but I loved the sweet and tart flavor of the lemon and arugula combined.

I was too busy eating to take a picture of their cool interior sculptures that are covered in mosiac, but the airy, bright space is totally different from the previous tenant, the dark woody Tony Roma's. Also, there isn't a lot of signage, so it's definitely easy to miss, with their front entrance to the side of the street. Just look for the restaurant across from the huge McDonald's and Ruth Chris.

Once you're seated, some warm olive bread comes to the table with butter. We also got some complimentary appetizers that had ricotta cheese on toasted baguette. I don't care for ricotta cheese, so I preferred the bread.

Their lunch menu set offers an affordable option to try something you normally wouldn't, like salad with headcheese. What's headcheese? I didn't know either until it came to our table, and after googling it, I'm kind of glad I only took a tiny bite.

All the lunch sets looked appetizing (Reuben sandwich, Capellini with clams and pesto for NT$390 includes salad and dessert or Pan Seared Seabass with Balsamic Reduction or Pumpkin Risotto with Crab Meat for NT$590 includes salad, soup and dessert).

I ended up getting the seabass, but I was drooling over the Reuben sandwiches I spotted at a lot of the other tables. The pumpkin risotto my friend ordered had bits of pumpkin in it and I preferred the smoother uni risotto instead. We had a group of 9 and everyone was willing to share family style, so I got to taste a lot.

A friend who had been raving about the restaurant for awhile said the grilled duck breast was a must and I agree. Succulent and perfectly seasoned, the dish just confirmed how much I love eating duck- whether it's roasted until the skin is crispy and carved to be wrapped in thin pancakes or grilled and served with balsamic reduction.

The duck breast was served medium to medium rare, which some of the diners at the table would have liked a little more well done. So if you prefer your duck less rare, you should let the kitchen know in advance.

I really enjoyed the fig brownie as well, which had bits of fresh fig inside. The textures made it interesting, but it worked a lot better than the fig cupcake I had at VVG Bon Bon. My friends also tried to order Boston Cream Pie they loved from their previous visits, but it wasn't available that day.

If you're looking for something more filling or maybe you're just missing Tony Roma's, you could order the baby back ribs. While the sauce isn't the same as their barbeque sauce and it doesn't fall off the bone quite the same way, it's not half bad.

I've also heard their brunch is quite good with offerings like crab cake benedict and blueberry pancakes, so I'm eager to make my reservation for that soon.

Whether you are a fan of pasta, grilled meats or light salads, you'll probably find yourself at L'Idiot and wanting to be the first to introduce it to your circle of friends.

Just don't forget who shared it with you first!

Does it look good? Let me know. Been here already already? What was your favorite?

View Larger Map


Anonymous said...

I ordered the mango sorbet for dessert, which was good, but even better was my friend's blood orange sorbet. They make their own and it's amazing. I loved the complimentary ricotta bread (hard to find in Taipei).

Anonymous said...

hmm...I wonder what L'Idiot means in French. Haha. Sounds like a great place though. Will try it soon.

joanh said...

lin: thanks for sharing! i definitely want to go back and try more of their desserts

anonymous: hahha. i think it actually does mean "the idiot" or the fool.. the quote they have on the bottom of their menu is so interesting...

Anonymous said...

friendly service? I doubt it's authentic French then

Anonymous said...

well I'm french and it doesn't seem french at all... risotto, brownie and ricotta? come on...
and why friendly and french don't got together?
L'idiot mean the idiot (stupid)

joanh said...

keauxgeigh: awww...

camille: yeah, before i posted i wanted to label it western or fusion. i've never been to France, but I didn't think Reuben sandwiches were very french either..

Anonymous said...

Yes caus' I lived in Taipei for a year and except some bakeries and chocolate everything was "western" and not french (but they use french), "l'idiot" does look good but doesn't look french-at all-.
I keep checking your blog, even tho I don't live their any more...thank you

maoman said...

Headcheese is great stuff. My grandfather used to make it. Anyway, it's no more disgusting than some of the stuff that's for sale at night markets here!

hcpen said...

i checked on google for taipei good foodie haunts and came across ur blog...its simply amazing n very useful ur food guide! i'm definitely going to visit some of the places you recommended on my next taipei trip! =)

Anonymous said...

What a strange name for a restaurant...

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe you'd never heard of headcheese. I used to love it. But this place looks pretty good. Thanks for trying it out for us.

joanh said...

camille: thanks for continuing to read my blog... yeah, i've relabeled it to "western" since it seems to be a mix of western cuisines

Maoman: i agree with you there!

hcpen: cool! let me know what you think!

anonymous: i guess it's inspired from the steve martin movie LA STORY

billy: nope, never heard of it. let me know if you end up trying this place out

Unknown said...

Thank you for such a wonderful recommendation! I'm new to Taipei, and had a wonderful dinner. I recommend the tomato salad with this little oblong scoop of sorbet camouflaged as a tomato so it kind of throws you off, but it is so delicious and refreshing. i'm also with lin on the sorbet, it's served well. And the service is excellent and the restaurant looks expertly managed.

Anonymous said...

We ate there and the food was bad. Interestingly, they called themselves L'idiot....maybe we might have been the idiots for choosing to eat there. Probably won't go back to the restaurant again.

Anonymous said...

Just had the worst Valentines day dinner there tonight. Service was listless and everything tasted off except for the prime rib and the onion soup minus the cotton candy. The Martini was not perfect as it says on the menu. On my way to another place to drown my sorrows.

xtinA said...

Wow! Thanks for the review! This restaurant opened right below my office a while ago and I can't believe I have not tried it yet! I will definitely be planning a trip downstairs soon.

Joshua Samuel Brown said...

Excellent reccomendation! We thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

Anonymous said...

i have eaten at this place 3 times since the spring. i have had 3 different menus and have always had an excellent meal. the last time i went was with a large group of people and even though they had to ask us to leave (it was well past closing) they were nice about it.

Paula Berman said...

When we went, my husband had the ribs and *hated* them - I've never seen him come so close to gagging over food. It's because they were Chinese style, mostly fat, not much meat.

However, the salads we had were excellent (mine was tomato and cheese) and so was my salmon on a hot stone.

Anonymous said...

The food is not bad, but still very mediocre.

Enormous piece of foi-gras was served in a much smaller piece of bread. Fail 1

After asking for two more pieces of bread, we were asked to pay more 20 dollars. ok.

interrupted during a conversation to say again that we had to pay more 20 dollars. FAIL 2

Again, a conversation interrupted to ask if my wife's plate could be lifted. (before i finish mine) FAIL 3

Desert was good.

DEFINITELY not going back.

Rag-a-putin said...

This place has reopened (I have never been there before) and we went there recently. I thought the food was great and very fresh, especially their steak was just great. In particular, they had some mouth watering ravioli with ricotta. We had a sort of combo meal during that time. It was pricey, but very satisfying.