Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lunch #40: Tai Tung

Tai Tung The MSG150 crew headed out again today still giddy about being back in the wilds of the ID. Today's mission: Tai Tung. Tai Tung is another spot that we have passed by many times but none of us as been to in recent memory. Today we stopped briefly to snap a shot of the exterior and headed in.

Tai Tung, Seattle
Address: 655 S. King St, Seattle, WA, 98104
Cuisine: Chinese: Cantonese
Average rating: 3.4 chopsticks
Lunch date: 3/19/2008 @ 12:00:00
Time taken to be seated: 0 minutes
Time to take order: 10 minutes
Time for food to arrive: 16 minutes
Total lengh of meal: 64 minutes
Chopstix quality: Nice Wood
Do they use MSG?: Yes
Where is the owner/chef from?: Canton
Number of tables: 18
Number of occupied tables: 9 (50%)
Number of business lunch tables: 2 (22%)
Number of "local" tables: 7 (77%)
Healthcode Score: 0
Links: Yelp!, Urbanspoon
Tai Tung

Luncher: Geary

Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs with RiceLunch: Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs with Rice - $6.45
Fortune: You will make someone happy today.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Geary's Review

Years ago upon first moving to Seattle in the early nineties a friend recommended Tai Tung as a good representation of old school Seattle Chinese. I remember a crowded, fun dinner with lots of unfamiliar menu choices. I hadn't been back since. Today, at lunch, it felt much different. There were fewer then ten other diners there and four of them were setting on stools at the bar in the entrance. The place looks out of repair and new menu items are simply scrawled on sheets of paper with a marker and taped to the wall. Maybe the place picks up in the evening, but it looks like it's a ghost of what it once was.

We were seated quickly, but left unattended for a while before the waiter took our order. Once engaged, however, the waiter was very attentive and helpful. He even made a few suggestions to us as we ordered. There is an extensive lunch menu that to my joy did not contain a single Kung Pao anything, however the prices are a bit high.

We ordered individually, but did lots of sharing. I ordered the Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs from the lunch menu. It was a bit light on the greens, but the meat and sauce had a nice flavor. The Chop Suey had nice crisp veggies, but was a tad bland. The Chow Fun and Curried Beef looked good, but Joey and Torrey horded their lunches so I didn't get a taste.

We received our first bribe today. Our waiter brought out a large plate full of fortune cookie. Nice try, but it's going to take real, hard cash to get extra chopsticks out of me.

Luncher: Emmett

Chef Special Rice (Hong Kong Style)Lunch: Chef Special Rice (Hong Kong Style) - $7.25
Fortune: You will be admired for your internal beauty.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Emmett's Review

Tai Tung's got some class. Shiny metal front. A big fat counter in front with some grisly old dudes. White paper sheets with the specials written in sharpie. The yellow crusty newspaper from 1938, reviewing this restaurant. The waiter with a 'I don't give a fuck' attitude. The back room where we were seated reminded me of some 1970s-era Milwaukee rec room, complete with smell. The menu's got lots of options. Stuff like War Mein! Chop Suey, Chow Mein, Chow Fun. I decided to get the Chef Special Rice.

Rice wasn't bad - had lots of veggies, a tasty, yet pretty basic sauce, and an okay amount of seafood. I had the Beef Curry - a little too much Turmeric for me. The Chop Suey - also average.

It was a fun experience, and very affordable. I'd come back.

Luncher: Adam

Roast Duck Won Ton Mein Special Lunch SpecialLunch: Roast Duck Won Ton Mein Special Lunch Special - $5.45
Fortune: You have a winning way. Keep it.
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Adam's Review

This is arguably one of Seattle's favorite Chinese restaurants. It's been around forever and everyone loves it.

Walking in, you can definitely tell this place has been around for a while. The interior looks like it hasn't been updated since the 100 Years' War. Our menus were a little shabby looking and felt a little greasy--I was right-at-home.

I ordered a soup off of the lunch special list. The food was good and loaded with about 6 dumplings of won-ton-y goodness. The duck in the soup was OK, but tasted a little too salty for me. What struck me about this lunch menu though, was that it is really expensive.

If you're a restaurant trying to bring in a lunch crowd, the bulk of the lunch menu should hover right around the $5.95 mark... with each add-on costing you about $1 extra. This menu seemed to have an median lunch price of $8+ dollars. Too rich for my blood on a normal day of the week.

Decent food. Can accomdate a crowd. There are lots of better places for lunch in the ID.

Luncher: Rob

Sliced Cod with GreensLunch: Sliced Cod with Greens - $8.95
Fortune: You will be presented with several good opportunities.
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Rob's Review

Tai Tung was one of those restaurants I'd walked by many times but never noticed. It has an old and forgettable exterior, and, as it turned out, an old and forgettable interior, as well. But enough of the awful decor. When I walked in, I tried to read all the specials written in that old school style of one special per sheet of paper taped to the wall in a grid, but it was too much to take in. A couple of cod specials caught my eye, and I ended up ordering one of them, the sliced cod with greens. The meal came with bland cabbage soup in what turned out to be chicken stock -- that seems to be following me around these days. The soup went mostly untouched. My expectations for the main dish were pretty low by the time it arrived, and maybe that helped. The fish was tender and flaky within the soft breaded coating, and the taste was subtle but not bland. I dolloped on the red hot sauce, added just a touch of the hot mustard that comes with your plate in its own little bowl, and suddenly the meal came to life. I ended up finishing the whole thing. Wow. The hot sauce combo made this a four; otherwise it probably would've been a three. At the end, the waiter presented us an overflowing cornucopia of fortune cookies, and the second one I ate had the following lovely fortune: "You will have gold pieces by the bushel." Adam, however, stubbornly refused to replace my first fortune with that one. Jerk.

Luncher: Joey

Beef Chow FunLunch: Beef Chow Fun - $6.25
Fortune: You will be fortunate in the opportunities presented to you.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Joey's Review

When in doubt order beef chow fun. That’s been my strategy for restaurants during MSG150 that I’ve never been to like Tai Tung or KC Kitchen. You can’t really go wrong with it. It’s like ordering mac n cheese at an American restaurant, because how can you mess up mac n cheese? Well, that’s a bit of an extreme example, since mac n cheese is a lot easier to make than chow fun. Tai Tung’s beef chow fun turned out to be on par with other Chinatown restaurants. Maybe not the best, but a solid 3/5 rating is deserving.

Luncher: Al

Special Chop Suey with BBQ RibsLunch: Special Chop Suey with BBQ Ribs - $7.95
Fortune: Your efforts will be favorably acknowledged.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Al's Review

Marginally better than American Chop Suey.

Luncher: Michael

Wor Won TonLunch: Wor Won Ton - $7.95
Fortune: You have a wise spirit, an advanced intellect and faith in human nature.
Rating: 4 Chopsticks

Michael's Review

I tasted a little bit of nearly every dish on our table. I'm fairly sure I had the most awesome meal of the table! A huuuuge bowl of noodles, veggies, bbq pork, shrimps, and ultra tasty dumplings. I'm not sure exactly what the broth was. Probably chicken and vegetables - it did have an almost green tint to it.

Did I mention how big the bowl was? I could probably have dunked my whole head in it. Tasty lunch, great value, and bonus: this place is open late. Add it to your list of post drinking eating spots.

Luncher: Torrey

Beef Curry Lunch SpecialLunch: Beef Curry Lunch Special - $7.45
Fortune: You will be awarded some great honor.
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Tai Tung Photos

Tai Tung
Tai Tung

Bar & Specials?
Bar & Specials?

More Specials
More Specials

Mad Fun
Mad Fun

No Incoming Calls
No Incoming Calls

Cabbage Soup
Cabbage Soup

Wor Won Ton
Wor Won Ton

Hot Soup Action
Hot Soup Action

Special Chop Suey with BBQ Ribs
Special Chop Suey with BBQ Ribs

Beef Chow Fun
Beef Chow Fun

Beef Curry Lunch Special
Beef Curry Lunch Special

Roast Duck Won Ton Mein Special Lunch Special
Roast Duck Won Ton Mein Special Lunch Special

Sliced Cod with Greens
Sliced Cod with Greens

Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs with Rice
Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs with Rice

Chef Special Rice (Hong Kong Style)
Chef Special Rice (Hong Kong Style)

Our first bribe
Our first bribe

03/27/08 - Fixed typos

4 comments:

John H. said...

Geary, I see you got fortune cookies as your first bribe :-) Scott already received 2 free lunch and a standing offer for a 3rd one, LOL...

Anonymous said...

I'm in my 30's and I used to go here when I was little, with my parents. The only thing I would eat was the fried rice.

Glad to see it's still around!

Anonymous said...

I am Chinese and have lived in Seattle my whole life, yet I've never tried TaiTung. Perhaps I should see why the gwei lo's love this place so much...

Anonymous said...

I hate Tai Tung dishes. I ordered beef chow fun and the beef was undercooked and it was too thick and tasted really horrible! I could not chew it and swallow it so I almost threw up. I just had to the beef out. It was the most horrible food I have ever had!!! I won't recommend Tai Tung to anyone in my life!!! LOL