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Tai's Asian Bistro

Tai's Asian BistroIn a word: Pan-Asian express.

The specs: #0644  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Restaurant DB, At First TasteYelp, Ruppert Food Blog, 77 Square; listing at Eat Drink Madison; official web site, Tai's Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Latest Tai's Asian Bistro news and reviews

Aine ate the General Tso's chicken.
JM ate the bourbon chicken with a fountain drink.
Nichole ate the stir fried beef udon.
Pete ate the sweet and sour chicken.
Peter ate the Mongolian beef with a fountain drink.
We split some crab rangoon and chard.
The bill was about $13/person, plus tip.
Aine, JM, and Nichole gave Tai's Asian Bistro a B; Pete gave Tai's Asian Bistro a B-, Peter gave Tai's Asian Bistro a C+ (see our grading rubric).

Tai's is on Whitney Way but not on Whitney Way, set back so far from the road in a strip mall that it's easy to miss. (But parking is easy.) Tai's appears to be chain of some stature, though not with the location count of, say, Happy Wok.

When we visited, they were advertising a Chinese new year special and also courting votes for a national Top 100 Chinese Restaurants Competition. Much of the staff's efforts were occupied with a happily feasting crowd packed into a small banquet room in back. The dining room was not very busy, but our group of five found it challenging to find a clear table.  By the time we left, even though only two of the twelve or so tables were occupied, nary a one could be used for all the dirty dishes piled upon it.

The menu was six feet tall, displayed on a banner stand across from the order counter. Tai's offerings are expansively Asian, and include sushi, pad thai, galbi, pho, curry, bubble tea, and dan dan noodles, and that's just the English menu. There was a paper Chinese menu on the counter as well.

Crab rangoonEgg rolls

We know when we're overmatched, so we just got whatever we felt like eating rather than vainly engaging in an attempt to explore the whole menu. That of course meant getting the customary crab rangoon. These were good: evenly cooked, savory with a hint of onion. The egg rolls that accompanied the entrees were standard.

ChardA winning side dish was a big plate of sauteed greens that we obtained with the "we'll have what they're having" point-and-order method. The gleaming emerald vegetables had been prepped simply in soy sauce and oil, but provided a fresh counterpoint to the starchy, meaty entrees we'd chosen.

Peter found the Mongolian beef to be more onions than beef. It was the right amount of heat for him: slightly spicy but with a depth of flavor.

Pete got the sweet and sour chicken, which came with a good sauce and no vegetables of its own.

Aine's General Tso's chicken, always a good benchmark at a Chinese restaurant, was good but suffered from the presence of a little bit too much cartilage and bone.

JM got the bourbon chicken, slightly rubbery white meat sliced and cooked in a sweet brown sauce and presented on an iceberg leaf with a scoop of light, egg-free pea-and-carrot-studded fried rice.

Nichole's stir fried beef udon with onions, bokchoi, and carrots was a perfect end to a day of beer and cheese. Greasy and fortifying, the noodles were better than the beef, which was tender to the point of mushy.

Bourbon chickenMongolian beefGeneral Tso's chickenSweet and sour chickenStir fried beef udon

On a previous visit, we'd tried the pho (about a 3 of 5) and another gorgeous, glimmering mountain of vegetables, namely eggplant, in a brown sauce. There's enough to keep an eater busy for months at Tai's. (If it's still there when we're done, we might just try the whole menu in alphabetical order.) Compared so recently with Tagura, though, it was hard to for us to say Tai's is #1 in its class.

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