Chevalier: A new European twist on teppanyaki
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
6, Taichung Port (ZhongGang) Rd, Sec 2, 2F, Xitun District
(04) 2313-9988, ext. 2875
Hours: 12-2:30 pm, 6-9:30 pm (closed Mondays)
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Free parking available.
Teppanyaki is another Japanese culinary tradition that the world has pretty much claimed as its own, with such establishments ubiquitous in most international cities. Thus, it's not a big surprise that a few chefs and restaurants are starting to innovate on this theme to offer something fresh.
Such is the case at Evergreen Laurel Hotel's second-floor Chevalier Teppanyaki, which has recently undergone a significant change of layout, menu and culinary style. Chevalier now focuses exclusively on offering a form of French haute cuisine cum teppanyaki. A team of five chefs is led by the award-winning Bai Yi-ping, touted as Taiwan's top female teppanyaki chef. Besides her more delicate, artistic teppanyaki skills and adoption of trendy "low-temperature cooking" methods, Bai has put her mark on everything from daily shopping for fresh ingredients to the restaurant layout and silverware, making this a true chef's restaurant.
There are a total of five open cooking stations, seating eight to 12 people, including a private eight-person VIP room. Unlike most fine-dining places, this means that diners can fully appreciate the chefs' skills and interact with them throughout the meal. Lunch sets start from NT$800 and there are NT$1,980 and NT$2,980 "tasting menu" set dinners. Various main entrees can also be ordered a la carte and paired with a "tasting" set. In addition to various steaks, this includes live seafood from Chevalier's acquariums, including Alaskan king crabs, Arctic surf clams, Australian lobsters, Penghu king prawns and so on.
My own exquisite meal, served with Evian water and the hotel's excellent fresh-made bread, started with a savory French Gillardeau No. 3 Oyster and Carpaccio of Fish with Urchin and Caviar. This was followed by an exceptional Pumpkin Cappuccino soup, served in a coffee cup and topped with a latte-like flavored foam representing the chef's nod to globally-popular "molecular cuisine". Then there was a Hokkaido Scallop with Bearnaise Sauce; and giant perch with sea urchin sauce and king oyster mushrooms. The two main courses were a succulent imported French "Rougie" Duck Breast with Manuka Honey, and an American Kobe-style wagyu beef fillet. The meal ended with a mixed-dessert plate and coffee in Chevalier's cushy lounge.
As if all this wasn't enough to tempt diners back, your chef will also present you with a signed personal postcard at the end. Collect cards from all five Chevalier chefs and you'll get a free bottle of French wine valued at NT$1,000.