Dorian's Food Reviews: Din Tai Fung
31 Dec 2018
Well, I finally made it out to the famous Din Tai Fung. Without further ado, let's begin.
Ambiance - 10/10
I've got to say, I really liked the ambiance of the restaurant. The first moment you walk in, you get to watch the restaurant's chefs making platter after platter of dumplings behind a glass wall, definitely making your whole trip an experience. Aside from that, this was a perfect place to hang out with friends - it's not too quiet that it's awkward, but also not so loud that you can't hear the person next to you talking. A perfect level of hubbub. The restaurant itself also feels clean in general, which is a rare feeling inside an Asian restaurant.
Bathroom - 8/10
The bathrooms are modern, making them quite comfortable. The stalls are basically actual rooms, which is something I wish more places did. The toilet paper was high quality - had a good amount of texture, may not have been two ply but certainly got the job done. The urinals needed some cleaning, but not a huge deal.
Service - 8/10
Service was quite good for an Asian restaurant. The waiter took his time to walk us through the menu and our order, which was very helpful because it was my first time at the restaurant. He also routinely checked in on our table. Definitely was not blown away, but was quite satisfied.
Shrimp & Pork Wontons with Spicy Sauce - 7/10
These were pretty good. The sauce was incredible - it had a nice kick of spice, combined with the perfect blend of salty and savory flavors. The dumpling itself was fairly average - I thought the wrapper was a little too soft, potentially overcooked, and the meat was a bit flavorless.
Pork XiaoLongBao - 4/10
Wow, I'm very disappointed. I've heard so many stories about Din Tai Fung's xiao long bao, and these were honestly barely better than Trader Joe's frozen equivalent. There was not a whole lot of soup in the dumplings, which were again fairly bland. I do like that the dumpling stayed together well, but it didn't really matter all that much thanks to the lack of soup...
Sauteed Spinach with Garlic - 7/10
I think this was probably the best dish I had here. Again, a little on the bland side, but the spinach worked very nicely as a palate cleanser. It had just the perfect kick of garlic that made the spinach quite enjoyable.
Braised Beef Noodle Soup - 6/10
I found these noodles passable. I've definitely had better Taiwanese beef noodle soup in the South Bay area - the broth here was fairly bland and definitely needed more character. The beef itself was well made, although I do wish there was some more tendon. The presentation was quite nice though - the way they fold up the noodles when they place them in the bowl is quite unique.
Prices - 2/10
Sorry, I just had to make a special section about the prices here. The portions are way too small for what you pay for, frankly. It came out to roughly $25 per person, when we only got to eat 3 or 4 dumplings each along with a bowl of noodles.
I really wanted to like this place, after all the hype I've heard. The restaurant itself is quite nice - the staff are helpful, and it's a great place to hang out with friends. But frankly, the food is quite bland and needs a bit of work.
Overall Rating - 6/10