(It's now a place called Taiwanese Specialties, by all accounts, a better restaurant.) Last night I decided it was time to try an altogether new (to me) cuisine, so I headed to Elmhurst to a restaurant I had walked past many times before, but had yet to visit: Lin's Taiwanese Gourmet.
Since I had never had any Taiwanese food before, I have nothing to compare it to. But I liked it, and will go back--which already puts it in a category above 99% of the restaurants I try. Went mostly with the more famous dishes, like oyster pancake (excellent, much like Korean pa jeon) and "3-cup chicken" (the menu calls it "chicken with ginger and sesame oil"--also excellent, and unlike any chicken dish I've had before... I could develop serious cravings for this one). We also tried an appetizer called "fermented pork". Quite tasty, although a bit difficult to determine exactly how and why it was "fermented". It appeared to be a pork chop marinated in something that perhaps includes fermented rice wine, then fried up (it comes out red) and cut into strips. There are two dishes on the menu translated as "shredded beef with chili pepper" (with a couple of different Chinese characters in the name, and a difference of a dollar in price). When asked what the practical difference was, the waitress said the more expensive one had, additionally, hot yellow peppers (?--I think she may have meant yellow chives, but I'm not sure). We opted for that one, and it was great.
I'm looking forward to returning so I can try the stinky tofu, which my friend would not have liked at all. It's a bit on the pricey side, but not ridiculous, and it's open LATE--until 2 a.m., I believe.
Lin's Taiwanese Gourmet
84-02 Broadway, Elmhurst 11373
(G, R, or V train to Elmhurst Ave. or Grand Ave.-Newtown. It's about halfway between the two.)