La Mode keeps the fine-dining surprises coming
By Douglas Habecker Translated by Ann Lee
9, TaichungGang (Taichung Kang) Rd, Sec. 2, 1F (Landis Hotel)
(04) 2323-8008, ext. La Mode
Open: breakfast buffet 6:30-11 am, lunch 11:30 am-2 pm, teatime buffet 2:30-5 pm, dinner 6-9:30 pm
10% service charge. Credit cards accepted. Free parking available.
When it comes to fine dining options around Taichung, many people often forget the hotels. That's a shame because hotels are home to some of the city's best restaurants and chefs. Such is the case with La Mode, which has long delighted diners with a mix of French and Continental cuisine from its location on the first floor of The Landis Hotel.
Over the years, I have personally enjoyed La Mode's culinary delights countless times, thanks to the many food promotions the restaurant regularly puts on. Although it sounds a bit odd for a high-end dining establishment, one of La Mode's biggest draws for me and many other customers is its outstanding buffet, which usually matched with a main course in a semi-buffet arrangement but can also be enjoyed alone (NT$520/lunch, NT$620/dinner). Besides the salads and soups, La Mode's European-style rotating selection of appetizers is wonderful, as is its dessert bar of cakes, ice cream and other pastries.
As good as the buffet is, the stars of the show here are always the main-course entrees presented by Chef De Cuisine Kevin Chung and his staff. Chung, who spent his early years at Taipei's Swiss Chalet before moving to La Mode nine years ago, changes up his entrees every three weeks. In spite of the constant challenge of remaining creative (promotions are never repeated), he always delivers.
Until August 14 the restaurant is promoting its "Vacuum Cuisine" menu. This may sound a little odd, but refers to a popular, recent European fine-dining trend of cooking food in a vacuum. The extraordinary result is that many fully-cooked ingredients look almost raw, without any browning or charring on the outside. Not only is this probably healthier, but this technique preserves original flavors like nothing else. You can experience this for yourself with main entrees like the beautifully-presented Slow Poached Prawn served with Sweet Potato Balini and Bay Leaf White Wine Reduction (NT$890), and Baked Salmon served with Vacuum Potato and Lobster Form (NT$880). In the latter, the beautiful, flawless-orange salmon is succulent, tender and loaded with flavor. Finally, there's the juicy, savory La Mode Signature Dry Prime Rib Eye Steak (NT$1,480/lunch, NT$1,580/dinner), limited to 10 steaks per day (with free Crepes Suzette for advance orders of two). Chung recommends ordering it rare to get all the flavors.
All this is paired with a great wine list, high-end ambiance and five-star service. You won't want to miss the Vacuum Cuisine promotion but if you do, fear not because La Mode's sure to have more great events coming up, starting with a sugar apple fruit cuisine promo in September.