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.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs with Rice - $6.45
Fortune: You will make someone happy today.
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.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Chef Special Rice (Hong Kong Style) - $7.25
Fortune: You will be admired for your internal beauty.
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: AdamLunch: Roast Duck Won Ton Mein Special Lunch Special - $5.45
Fortune: You have a winning way. Keep it.
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: RobLunch: Sliced Cod with Greens - $8.95
Fortune: You will be presented with several good opportunities.
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: JoeyLunch: Beef Chow Fun - $6.25
Fortune: You will be fortunate in the opportunities presented to you.
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: AlLunch: Special Chop Suey with BBQ Ribs - $7.95
Fortune: Your efforts will be favorably acknowledged.
Marginally better than American Chop Suey.
Luncher: MichaelLunch: Wor Won Ton - $7.95
Fortune: You have a wise spirit, an advanced intellect and faith in human nature.
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: TorreyLunch: Beef Curry Lunch Special - $7.45
Fortune: You will be awarded some great honor.
Tai Tung PhotosTai Tung
Bar & Specials?
No Incoming Calls
Wor Won Ton
Hot Soup Action
Special Chop Suey with BBQ Ribs
Beef Chow Fun
Beef Curry Lunch Special
Roast Duck Won Ton Mein Special Lunch Special
Sliced Cod with Greens
Chinese Greens and Black Bean Spareribs with Rice
Chef Special Rice (Hong Kong Style)
Our first bribe
03/27/08 - Fixed typos