George of the Sea
From our archives, Compass Magazine, OCT. 2002
It is a rainy, blustering Tuesday night and Uncle George is packed to the gills. Over six years in business, this restaurant still fills up with customers. Clearly, owner Zion “Charles” Hsieh has found the key to long-term restaurant success–good service and great food.
Patrons are not at Uncle George’s for the decor, the ambiance, or to be seen sporting the latest fashions. While the service is prompt and friendly, there is no mistaking Uncle George’s main draw–the North Atlantic lobster, Alaska Dungeness crab and other fruits of the sea, imported live every 10 days from Maine, Alaska and Nova Scotia.
My meal started with salad and a soup. The salad was good, the clam chowder excellent. I was impatient for the real show: a lobster and a crab to be shared with my girlfriend, chosen from the tanks of live and swimming meals-to-be. When they arrived, we dug in. No sauces, spices or garnishes are necessary (or welcome). Bits of flesh and shell sprayed out all over the table and our clothes as we greedily extracted the tender flesh from the hidden crevices of these crustaceans. This is not food for the fashion-conscious. The near ritualistic, hedonistic ripping apart and devouring of the meat of clawed creatures is a rare and special joy.
Charles chooses cold-water seafood popular with Westerners for the firmer, sweeter meat yielded. The larger size of this seafood also allows for bigger morsels. To ensure quality, he pays high duties to import the seafood himself and frequently goes abroad to check on his suppliers.
This kind of quality comes at a price, which normally runs over NT$2,000 a head. If you aren’t a seafood fan, don’t even think of coming to Uncle George’s–this isn’t the place for you. For true seafood aficionados, however, this isn’t a place you can afford to miss. Because of all the regular devotees coming to worship at this temple of fine seafood, a reservation is recommended. If you are visiting from out of town, be sure to note that Uncle George is closed Sundays.
492, TaYeh Rd.