Friday, August 19, 2011

Celestial Restaurant - Review

Celestial Restaurant - Dude Grade: D+
1 Nanking West Road 3rd Fl, Taipei, Taiwan
Phone: 886 2 2563 2171

We got a recommendation to check out Celestial Restaurant which serves Beijing style food. Food is decent, but the waits are horrendous. Definitely not on the recommended list.

Our Menu
Vegetable Dumpling
Textures on the skin were a tad too soft, but the bigger problem was the lack of flavor in the filling. Not terrible, but any food stall in Taipei would serve better for 70% less.

Spinach, Bamboo, and Mushrooms *
Solid textures and flavors. One thing that I can't seem to find back home is dishes that serve delicious bamboo. The texture and flavor of the bamboo were pretty killer - pleasingly crunchy and almost nutty like flavor. Nothing like the canned stuff you get in NYC Chinatown.

Peking Duck *
Very crispy skin with great flavor. The meat was tasty, but pretty dry which was the only negative. The surprising thing was the wrap which was incredible. Thin enough, but incredibly chewy and flexible. When you combined the duck skin/meat, hoisin, scallion, and the wrap, you had a pretty damn solid combination of flavors and textures.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way (no stars - poor to average) * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (C) – Food was generally good, but nothing mind blowing.
  • Service (D) – Servers were relatively friendly, but the waits were unbearable. After the dumplings and veggie, it took 45mins - 1 hour to get the duck. On top of that, they didn't bring out the duck meat until we finished half of the skin. No bueno.
  • Atmosphere (C) – Standard Chinese joint where you have big circular tables - wooden floors and yellow walls. The place was packed with a combo of businessmen (with girls have their age) or families. We got there at 7pm on a Tuesday and it took 30 minutes to get seated. It was 100% full when we got there and 100% full with people waiting when we left.
  • Price (C-) - Price was about $60 which isn't so bad for the US, but pretty pricey for Taiwan. Definitely not worth it for the service and waits.
Closing Comments
Definitely not recommended and although the peking duck was pretty delicious it wasn't much better than stuff we had in NY/NJ. I've had Peking Duck many a time and I'm curious to see if even the stuff in Beijing will be much better than the stuff I've had before - my guess is it'll be better but not eye openingly better.

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