June 25, 2012

Kitchen 66

Address: No. 11, Alley 3, Lane 74, Wenzhou St, Taipei City (台北市溫州街74巷3弄11號)
Telephone: (02) 2362-9668
Hours: Tues - Sun 11:30am to 10pm
Price: $$

I've been in the mood for a good bagel lately, so I thought I'd head over to Shih's Bagel in the Gongguan area and have a late breakfast. Turns out, Shih's Bagel is gone. In its place is Kitchen 66, a kitschy Americana diner selling American fare.

When I walked in, the interior was dimly lit (so dimly lit, in fact, I thought they were closed). There were only two other patrons, so there was this weird kinda-open-for-business-but-not-really vibe. The waitress handed me a menu, a glass, and let me sit wherever. Kitchen 66 is one of those rare places in Taiwan that offers free refills but, as I was to find out later, the soda was flat and not really worth the refill.

Looking over the menu, I noticed there were a lot of photos of people eating Kitchen 66 burgers and making a mess of themselves. The motto underneath was "Never use a fork". This sounds like a philosophy by which I can live quite easily. Though there were pizzas, fried chicken, steak, and fish & chips to tempt the wayward, I chose the Spicy Mexican Burger ($240 NT). The waitress warned me that this burger is "very spicy, too spicy", what with it's jalapenos, chipotle sauce, and tinge of Tabasco. Psssh! Please! Bring it on.

Ten minutes, two glasses of water, and thirteen pages later, the aromatic burger arrived at my table. This thing looked quite a sight! Bacon hanging out, cheddar cheese dripping, chipotle sauce running, burger still sizzling. Now this is what I'm talking about. 
The burger bun is quite delicious, second only to the Diner, and is lightly toasted. The lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on the side were are fresh and, when added to the burger, made me long for a fork and knife. How was I supposed to eat this tower of food?! I managed to take a couple bites and was immediately hit with the heat. The chipotle, Tabasco, and thick, fat jalapenos definitely give this burger a kick. There's a lot of heat to contend with, but not so much that you can't appreciate the cheddar, bacon, and burger patty. This burger rides that fine line between perfection and overbearing heat.
The fries were hot, crispy, and well-seasoned. And because there's a bottle of Tabasco at every table, I thought I'd add a dash to my fries. Does it get any better than Tabasco-soaked fries? I'm not sure that it does.
I would definitely go back to Kitchen 66 to sample more of their burgers. I'll write off the weird vibe and flat soda to the early time of my arrival. I went on a Tuesday around noon, so they'd been open for a half hour before I showed up ... but still, completely flat soda? Anyway, there's no service charge, the manager speaks fluent English, and it's close to a lot of coffee houses and Belgian beer places (if you're looking for somewhere to go afterwards). 
Check out their Facebook page

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