A satisfying evening with old friends at Country Goose Kitchen
By Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
19, CunZhong St., West Dist. (See logo on Art Musuem Parkway Map, p.32)
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:30-10:30 pm (open all day Sat/Sun)
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge. English/Chinese menu.
NT$100 minimum bill per person.
Walking down the little pathway past the tall trees and fish pond to the warmly-lit two-floor villa that houses Country Goose Kitchen on a winter evening felt like a visit to an old friend's home, and indeed it was. I originally met married owners Sun You-hui and Joanne Chuang in 2000 when they opened their first tiny eatery on MeiCun Road. Two years later, they moved to the present location, where they have impressed countless diners with their excellent cuisine and wonderful ambiance.
The couple first met as co-workers at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, so it's no surprise that the steaks here are perennial best-sellers, like the Chef's Special Prime Rib Eye (NT$750 11 oz., NT$1,100 16 oz.). Other popular meat dishes include the Grilled Lamb Chops 7 oz. (NT$500), Grilled Duck Breast with Orange Sauce (NT$700), made with big chunks of duck and fresh orange juice, and Grilled Prawns and Scallops with Tomato Sauce (NT$450).
Diners also enjoy dozens of appetizers, salads and pasta/risotto entrees. Top picks include the Manhattan Crabmeat with Creamy Lemon Basil (NT$200), Shrimp Salad Thai-Style (NT$200 small/NT$350 large), the vegetarian Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Cheese (NT$300), made with four mushroom types and truffle oil, and all-time favorite Penne with Stewed Beef (NT$300), cooked with filet beef, red wine and tomatoes.
Chef Sun continues to offer nice surprises for old and new customers alike. On this particular night, I began with a Crabmeat Louis Salad (NT$200/small), a pile of fresh-tasting, shredded real crab meat. Then there was the Spaghetti with Shrimp, Pine Nuts, Spinach and Olive Oil (N$300), popular for its lighter-flavored, healthy topping.
On the heartier side was the Pan-Fried Sea Bass Filet with Mushroom and Green Beans Sauce (NT$400)--three big chunks of flavorful fish with crispy skin sitting on the creamy, two-colored sauce. I also sampled the Grilled Pork Chops with Braised Red Cabbage on Apple Cider Sauce (NT$450). This thick 16-ounce chop sits on a bed of mashed potatoes and sweet-tart purple cabbage, and went well with a glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the restaurant's long wine/drinks menu.
Finishing with a rich, dense slice of dark-chocolate cake and coffee, I chatted with the owners by the fireplace as other diners lingered at heavy-wood tables in the many cozy corners, as the hanging lamps cast warm light through the big French windows and onto the garden. Yet again, I felt deeply sated and happy at the end of another Country Goose Kitchen dinner.
Left: Pan-Fried Sea Bass Filet with Mushroom and Green Beans Sauce
Right: Grilled Pork Chops with Braised Red Cabbage on Apple Cider Sauce
Left: Spaghetti with Shrimp, Pine Nuts, Spinach and Olive Oil
Right: Crabmeat Louis Salad