June 27, 2012

Chef Jason - My Place

Address: No. 258-1, Ruì'ān Street, Dà'ān District (台北市大安區瑞安街258號之1)
Telephone: (02) 2703-8516
Hours: Not listed
Price: $$

I'm not sure what it is, but recently I've been craving all sorts of American food: hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue ribs, Philly cheese steak, Buffalo wings, whole Maine lobster, you know. So I thought I'd head over to Gusto Street Hot Dog next to the Diner. And wouldn't you know it? It's gone too. If this isn't the month for failed reviews....

Gusto Street Hot Dog is now Chef Jason - My Place. Taking a quick glance at the menu outside, I see there are burgers. Fits the criteria. Settling into a table at the back, I'm pleasantly surprised with the decor. It's fun without trying too hard. There's a Hulk hand smashing through the wall, a couple amusing "Wanted" posters, random paintings, some Americana photos. I can't quite figure out why but, I like it.
On the menu it says that this is a "burgers & pastas" joint, an interesting fusion. There are a lot of appetizers like nachos, onion rings, chili cheese fries, calamari and there's A&W Root Beer and Mountain Dew ($80 NT). There's a wide variety of burgers (Chili, Cowboy, Jalapeno, Philly, Regular Ham/Cheeseburger, et al.) and I ordered the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger ($230 NT) with a Coke ($60 NT). 
The music at Chef Jason's isn't so loud as to disturb reading or conversation, but it's loud enough that you can listen to it and hum along. My massive 8 oz. burger arrived on a toasted bun with all the accoutrements necessary for a delicious burger: a big green lettuce leaf, huge slice of onion, thick slice of tomato, melted cheddar cheese, two pieces of Applewood bacon, and zesty barbecue sauce. Two hands are definitely necessary. As far as burgers go, this might be my new favorite.
The hot fries were cut thick and perfectly seasoned with crispy exteriors. After eating the burger, finishing the fries is quite the challenge. Jason came out and asked me how everything was. Umm, most delicious burger I've ever had? As we chatted, he told me he bought the place in February, created the menu, decorated the restaurant, and used all of his sous chef knowledge to put together fantastic dishes (he didn't say that last part). Maybe that's why I like this place. You can sense from the moment you walk in he's excited to have his own place.
I like that Chef Jason - My Place focuses on a couple types of food (burgers, pastas, sandwiches), and avoids over-extension. There are also salads and quesadillas on the menu and a section for vegetarians. All the food is fresh, never frozen, and Jason makes almost everything himself (including the pasta sauces). The menu is in English and Chinese, there's no service charge, and there's a fairly good chance you'll get to speak with the proprietor himself. Look out for my pasta review coming soon!

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