I want to start off by saying that for forumosans interested in saving every last possible NTD, this thread will not be of interest. For readers in Taipei City with a few extra coins in their pocket, and a hankering for some of the fine things in life, read on.
You know how the cafe and international dining scene in Taipei City (and also elsewhere in Taiwan) has jumped forward over the past decade? We are now blessed with numerous beautiful clean cafe spaces with attentive bosses and also some extraordinary owner/chefs presiding over some incredible places to eat.
Have you found yourself wondering why the Chinese food scene here has not kept up? Why has there been no Chinese place as remarkable as, say, Angelo's place (before he moved on to a new gig in Hong Kong) or Joseph Bistro? Where's the freshness, the vision?
I am happy to say that earlier today I stumbled across (through a helpful recommendation from a great cafe owner) a remarkable exception: Yeh Gong Guan (葉公館; aka Chez Yeh) on Anhe Road (address: 118, Section 2, Anhe Road, Taipei City--it's on the west side of the street between Heping and Xinyi; tel 02-2736-1999). Yeh's understated storefront, with an open kitchen, and clean simple lines in the dining area were all promising--but the food! My god, it's been a while since I've had this sort of attentively prepared and extraordinarily tasty Chinese food. The focus here is Sichuan cuisine, but the gracious owner/chef (who took the time to come and chat) and his team are obviously capable of ranging across different regions. The mapo doufu I had (made with house-made doubanjang--at its best after 2-3 years, I was told) knocked my socks off. A few bites into my meal, I was already planning a return visit. As I work my way through Yeh's menu on subsequent visits, I'll do what I can to report back.