>> Sunday, November 16, 2008
UPDATE: Now CLOSED - replaced by Unique Dumpling in the same location. The Super 88 Allston location is still open
Wisteria is a Taiwanese restaurant that had been on Newbury Street for as long as I can remember. I think the first time I went there was in 1994 (!). Less than a year ago the restaurant closed its Newbury Street restaurant and opened up two restaurants - one at the Super88 Food Court and the other one in East Cambridge on Cambridge Street.
Initially I was really excited that Wisteria was finally moving to Cambridge. We always liked going there whenever we were on Newbury Street. They were one of the earliest Taiwanese restaurants in the Boston area (before Taiwan Cafe, Mulan, and Jo Jo Taipei opened). It was fun getting traditional Taiwanese dishes such as Three cup chicken, rice sausage, and peanut rice drink.
When it opened at Super88, the waits at that restaurant were super long, and yet we kept ordering food there. It was my favorite stall at Super88. I loved getting the pork and chive dumplings, sauteed veggies, and other Taiwanese specialties. I absolutely couldn't wait for the East Cambridge one to open, since that one would be even closer to my home.
The East Cambridge location finally opened last fall. We've probably been there a total of 5 times since it opened. I think the restaurant is a mixed bag. Some dishes are excellent. For example, I love the egg pancake and the Taiwanese style congee. Other dishes, such as the crispy seafood and oyster pancake, were greasy and bland.
I still really want to love the restaurant, since it would be so exciting to have a really yummy Taiwanese restaurant near my home. I will still continue to try it and figure out which dishes are my favorites. Any one have any suggestions?
I also heard that Mulan has been improving a lot, and it quite good now. Jo Jo Taipei has also been getting rave reviews. One of these days I'll have to do a full fledged Taiwanese food review.
We'll see - the elusive search for amazing Taiwanese food continues . . .
We went back to Mulan last week, and this time asked our server (who I think is the owner) to recommend their best dishes. We ended up ordering the House special beef noodle soup, the handmade dumplings (boiled and pan fried), and a lamb stir fry dish (sorry, can't remember!). They also threw in twin lobsters (sauteed with ginger and scallions) for free since we ordered over $35.
This was definitely one of our best meals at Mulan. Even though it was still not amazing (especially compared to restaurants in California or Asia), it was still enjoyable. The House special beef noodle soup was tasty, and the handmade dumplings were pretty good too. The "guo tia" (pan-fried dumplings) are the the long-shaped kind, which I like. I also really liked the lamb stir fry dish.
As a side note, they do have some fun exotic drinks. They sell a whole variety of boba drinks, and they also sell a sentimental favorite of mine - peanut rice milk ("mi jiang" in mandarin, "bi lieng" in Taiwanese) - hot or iced!