[Palo Alto] Taste 鄉味居

Taste opened earlier this year serving a dishes from a number of provinces in China. I asked the server for recommendations, and the Chongqing xiao mian and the Chongqing sour spicy vermicelli was mentioned. I got a Chongqing Xiao Mian, which was quite good with a broth with a good amount of aromatic red chili oil coating the thin noodles, plus some spinach, sesame and green onion. Its like a soupy version of the CQXM at CQXM in SF.

That said, the portion was really small for $13. I was not even halfway full when I was done fishing the few noodle strands out of the broth. University Avenue tax applies here I guess.

I asked the server where the chef used to cook before Taste, and she said the chef cooked at Chili House in SF.

What else is good at Taste?

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Taste in Palo Alto showed up on OpenTable so we went there tonight and really enjoyed it. I think this is the first real Sichuan restaurant near us where you can make reservations.

They won me over when I saw a couple of frog dishes on the menu! We had the braised frog and it was wonderful. There was a really nice balance of the frog and ma la flavors, reminiscent of similar dishes I have had in more frog-friendly places like China and (not kidding) Minnesota. Dry fried green beans made for a delicious and milder contrast. It’s quite expensive as you might expect from being on University Ave in Palo Alto.

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Minnesota? is it because they have a lot of lakes (and thus, frogs)?

Are they crowded during dinner rush? I went late on a weeknight so it was not crowded.

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Finally tried this place, favorably impressed. Unlike MP’s Fey, this place has the goods when it comes to bold flavors. I had a numbing peppercorn fish fillet dish which I’ve had a few times in China, and it was appropriately numbing on a pleasant clear broth. Maybe not quite as bold as you would expect from the dish in china, but pretty close.

The size of the portion is crazy small, as noted above. I did leave hungry, having ordered for two people a fairly standard dumplings - veg - large dish. Dredged just enough fish from the bottom that I didn’t order another dish, and was thinking of desert. The good news is with small portions you can order more dishes ??? It’s still cheaper than a lot of the University Ave meals I have, perhaps because there’s no full bar.

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Fey seems to have really toned down the spices in recent years. I haven’t done a suitable comparison, but I’d be curious how Taste compares to the Da Sichuan on ECR.

Which should be in my new lunch radius, I should give them more tries. I’ve always liked them.

I think DT Palo Alto is not the easiest place to find a good bite to eat if that’s where you have to find eats now… Do let us know what else you like.

Left Bank, Refuge, and Baronne are all still in rotation for dinner, none in Palo Alto. We did happen to go to Coupa Cafe for dinner last night, for a change, it’s the same as always ( not such a bad thing, the arepas ).

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold