|Niu Ba Steak
By Paul Adams
Translated by Anna Yang
150, GongYi Rd, Sec 2, Nantun Dist
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm; Sat-Sun 11:30 am-9 pm
Niu Ba has been open for about a year and has already become one of Taichung's best-kept foodie secrets, generating a lot of word-of-mouth buzz by managing to offer top-quality cuts of meat for very affordable prices. Owner A-Ling got into the business almost by accident. Originally planning to open a restaurant with a friend, she was left in the lurch when her partner bailed out. Undeterred, she set about teaching herself all she could about the meat business and her hard work soon paid off.
Niu Ba seems a little small when you first enter but the tables are well-spaced, ensuring that guests feel at ease. It goes without saying that this is not really a vegetarian-friendly joint. The star of the menu, as displayed in the front window, is a selection of American beef cuts. Special mention goes to the 10-ounce Prime Rib-eye (NT$659), which is as tender and juicy as one would expect, and can easily rival similar steaks priced twice as high in other restaurants.
The 10-ounce New York Strip (NT$559) is equally flavorful as is the eight-ounce Boneless Short Ribs (NT$499). If you aren't in the mood for beef then there are some pork and chicken options, too. The Pork Hock (NT$299) looked particularly appealing to me as it was delivered to a neighboring table. All meals come as a set, comprised of salad, bread rolls and a choice of soups.
If you need a little something on the side, or are just a bit hungry, a good appetizer selection includes Grilled Tiger Shrimp (NT$199), Buffalo Wings (NT$199) and generously-portioned Mozzarella Sticks (NT$159), which were nice for nibbling on while waiting for the mains. There is also the usual range of soft drinks, tea and coffee, with the alcohol selection limited to a couple of cocktails and beers. The mango cocktail is very refreshing and a nice alternative to beer.