Tuesday, September 08, 2015

brunch/new american: i recommend SPOT TAIPEI

No. 58, Lane 233,  Dunhua S. Rd., Sec. 1
(02) 2775-4117

MRT: SYS Memorial Hall

Hours: 11AM - 10:30PM

visits reviewed:  5/18/2015 & 9/7/2015

Yesterday at lunch, my friend nudged me to put up some posts of newer places sooner. "You eat at all the new places first, so you should be the first to post about it." I responded by saying, that I do post quickly, but mainly on instagram and she gave me a mental kick in the butt to do it for the blog too. So I'm gonna try to do a blitz of posts of new places and menus for y'all... every time I scroll through my Instagram, I do feel a tinge of regret that I don't have the time to do full posts at the same time, but usually when I'm blogging, that usually means I'm not sleeping. Like right now.

Opened four months ago, Spot Taipei is a great new addition to the New American and brunch scene in Taipei, featuring affordable prices, generous portions and most importantly some hearty, tasty American dishes not yet found in Taipei. Not be confused with the also lovely Spot Theater, the independent movie house founded by Hou Hsiou-Hsien, Spot Taipei is a restaurant tucked in an alley behind Ming Yao Shopping Center (i.e. the mall with the huge Uniqlo, now next to the huge Forever 21) on ZhongXiao East Road near SYS Memorial Hall. 

I recommend going with a group if you can, to be able to share and sample more plates, and order some of my favorite dishes. I've been twice since its opening, once during its soft opening and my second visit was yesterday, so the menu has changed slightly since my last visit. 

The most popular dishes are from Spot Taipei's all day brunch menu, such as the chicken waffle sandwich, the corned beef hash, the french toast and eggs benedicts. Most restaurants in Taipei have a signature dish-- the thing you see on social media that makes you want to eat your next meal there. For Bing Burger, it's their bone marrow burger. For Belle Epoque, their boba milk pancakes. For Drip Cafe, their cronuts. For Pig and Pepper, it's their funnel cake. For Spot Taipei, it's their Ferrero Rocher French Toast and chicken and waffles sandwich, something that's big back in the US that's yet to trend in Taipei. (You can also find fried chicken and waffles at NOLA and previously at Bakery 49, but that's all that comes to mind.)

Let's start off with some of my favorites from today. Favorite things today at @spottpe were the spicy chicken wings, scallop crudo, ribeye steak and roast chicken with creamy mashed potatoes. Skip the green salad (too salty and plain), the miso pork belly (too dry). Otherwise the service was good- they were accommodating and friendly. Still have yet to try the pancakes here!! 

Scallops crudo- Hokkaido scallops with candied chorizo and homemade rice crackers (NT$290). Scallop lovers could easily eat 3-4 pieces, which if my eyeballing estimate is correct is about one scallop. Not looking at the menu, I thought the toppings were sundried tomatoes.

Chicken wings - dry rubbed and fried, pickled celery, dijon sriracha with blue cheese sauce (NT$180 for 4) 

THESE CHICKEN WINGS were some of my favorite things of the meal. If you are a chicken wing lover, you gotta order this. I had two of them, but could have easily eaten more. The skin was crispy and coated with spicy sweet sriracha. I didn't taste the blue cheese at all, but I didn't miss it. Fun twist on traditional buffalo wings.

Pan roasted chicken - half chicken deboned, wilted chinese kale, potato puree, chicken jus, chives and chervil (NT$460)

The pan roasted chicken is a table favorite every time I've been here. The potato puree is buttery and creamy (rivals the mashed at Robuchon) and the whole dish just works.

Fried chicken waffle sandwich- batter fried chicken, asian ranch, gruyere cheese, pickled onions (NT$400)

I enjoy the chicken waffle sandwich- the waffle isn't too heavy, the chicken is tender, the portion is hearty, so it can be a filling meal for one, or shared between two or four people. Each time I've eaten it, I wished both the waffle and chicken are crispier. If they could offer a version of this sandwich with the same level of crunchiness and flavor as the wings (with a little cabbage slaw) that would be AAAAAmazing. Right? Fried sriracha chicken waffle sandwich!! It sells itself.

Ribeye for 2- 22 oz USDA Prime ribeye, sous vide, chimichurri sauce, confit garlic, arugula (NT$1800)

At my first bite, I wished I wasn't so full so I could eat more. The ribeye was perfectly cooked to a nice medium rare, but still had a nice charred crust while being juicy on the inside. The confit garlic were creamy and melt in your mouth and I really liked the chimichurri sauce, which was slightly creamier than other places that I've had it. I ended up enjoying the leftovers at home later.

Duck confit croquette benedict- sous vide duck confit croquette with lemon hollandaise (NT$280) 

This came at the end of our meal, so I took a quick bite. The poached eggs were perfectly runny, the hollandaise had the right consistency and flavor and the lemon give the heavy dish a lighter accent. The shredded duck confit is mixed with sweet potato then fried into a croquette. Would be nice to see if Spot Taipei could do a great crabcake eggs benedict. Swoon.

Roasted Heritage Cauliflower - mix of griddled heritage cauliflower topped with almonds, raisins and lemon juice (NT$220) 

I liked the purple cauliflower the best, most of the broccoli and cauliflower were still quite crisp. I would have preferred them a bit more tender. But I love how Spot Taipei doesn't forget to include veggies on the menu and goes beyond salads. 

Mixed mushrooms- king oyster, oyster, maitake and enoki mushrooms (NT$180)


SPOT Burger - gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, chinese lettuce with fries and house pickles (NT$380) 

Miso pork belly - miso brined pork belly, 8 hours sous vide with mini salad and English muffin (NT$260) 

Today's pork belly was overcooked or too lean- it was quite dry and the salad was overly salty so we left this unfinished. The buttered English muffins were good though, so one could put this together to be a mini sandwich bite. 

Green salad- seasonal greens, fried shiitake mushroom crisps, sesame cookies and soy lime vinaigrette (NT$180) 

I wouldn't order this again. The first time, the vinaigrette was so salty, I had to reject it from my mouth. They replaced it for us without a problem, but the fried shiitake wasn't very crispy and the salad was quite plain. 

As you can see, the menu is mostly the same from the soft opening back in May 2015, with a few seasonal changes. 

Not currently on the fall menu - salmon carpaccio. I really liked the charred broccolini (NT$150) and corn mezzi rigatoni (NT$300) on the previous menu. Great dishes for vegetarians and I never thought about pureeing corn to make a creamless pasta. Will totally have to try that at home someday.

The coffee beef shortribs- with peppers, potato and egg on top (NT$280) was one of my favorite dishes of my first visit. Feels a tad healthier than corned beef and something I would totally order again.

Pan roasted chicken from first visit

Last but not least, the Ferrero Rocher cornflake crusted frenchtoast with nutella dipping sauce. (NT$300) Not too dense and almost tasted like a cinnamon bun stuffed with sliced bananas. The chocolate flavor doesn't really come out in the french toast, you need to dip it in the Nutella for the chocolovers. The whole thing is deep fried, so it is an indulgence. This dish takes #spottaipei a little longer to prep, and just as well, since it was like a dessert. Recommend for sharing, comes with 4 big pieces- it would be too much for one person as a meal.

Spot Taipei has been fairly popular since opening, especially on weekends, so reservations recommended. They have two floors of seating, great for larger groups, though the upstairs loft seating is a bit dark with low ceilings. Look forward to seeing new additions to their menu from their kitchen. Owner Eric Wang is from LA, Taiwanese American Chef Austin Hu opened New American restaurant Madison in Shanghai before joining Spot Taipei. (Email me when you get the crispy sriracha chicken waffle sandwich going!! Haha)


Anonymous said...

It's actually closer to Dunhua MRT.

Unknown said...

Hi I am a food blogger in Korea and I'm coming to Taiwan next week. Where do you recomend for an unlimited champagne brunch?