Top of ONE: Putting some beef into Taichung's tallest restaurant
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Naomi Lai
532, YingCai Rd, 46F (Hotel ONE)
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm,
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge. Free parking. Reservations recommended.
Hotel ONE has always found itself in the enviable position of owning the city's tallest manmade dining venue. Day or night, this space--Top of ONE restaurant--lends itself to leisurely executive lunches or the romantic evening rendezvous.
Since opening, Top of ONE has transitioned from French-Japanese to modern Chinese cuisine. Now the restaurant is promoting a brand-new theme that already promises to be a winner--steaks. Although the current Steak Promotion officially only lasts until April 15, almost everyone, including Executive Sous Chef Nicholas Pena-Alvarez, is betting that the already-enthusiastic response will make this fresh direction permanent. At the same time, he is aiming to create a truly unprecedented steak experience.
"I really want to highlight different cultures and how they eat steak," he says. "We want to try a different route to broader spectrum."
He notes three a la carte appetizers respectively represent Japan, France and Italy--Semi Cooked Beef Nigiri with daikon, wasabi and sesame (NT$325); Warm Beef Tartare & Asparagus with poached egg, brioche, pommery aioli and Parma ham vinaigrette (NT$320); and Prime Tenderloin Carpaccio with Mizuna salad, black truffle, truffle oil and parmesan (NT$300).
Another testament to the multi-cultural approach is a big tableside cart of condiments--from the Montreal-style ONE Steak Spice to traditional Argentinian steak sauce Chimichurri Infused Olive Oil--plus eight to nine exotic salt varieties. By request, staff finely grate these mineral and nutrient rich rock and sea salts, which include iron-rich Pakistani/Himalayan salt with a sweeter flavor, an even sweeter black Utah salt, and a Spanish salt infused with charcoal and chilis.
The main courses themselves are a steak lover's vision of heaven, all made from USDA Prime Grade beef and often of a size that will amaze, alarm or satisfy, depending on your steak-eating habits. Examples include the two-person NT$3,300, 32-ounce Cote De Boeuf, a bone-in rib eye; and the 20-ounce Chateaubriand (NT$2,200), cut from the thickest part of a tenderloin. Just as impressive are the Porter House (NT$1,480 for 14 oz., NT$1,780 for 18 oz.); New York Sirloin in four sizes, from 10 to 18 ounces (NT$980-1,520); and Filet Mignon. Also popular are three "Surf & Turf" steak/seafood combinations, like the Petit Cut Bacon Wrapped Filet & Roasted Hokkaido Scallops (NT$1,260) or Petit Cut Filet & 1/2 Roasted Maine Lobster. Rather than the traditional approach of individual diners ordering their own steaks, groups of diners are already discovering the appeal of sharing a variety of steaks, together with vegetables and other side dishes, in a family/home style meal--all to the head chef's approval and applause.
To make ordering easier, there are three set-menu options for lunch (NT$880-1,780) and dinner (NT$1,380-2,680). If this all sounds good to you, stop by Top of ONE before April 15 and do your part to ensure steaks stay on the menu.