Fri, Jul 25, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Wood Stone

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Smoked salmon salad is served up as an appeitzer with the set menu.


Raising the ante on steak dinners, pizzas and pasta is a restaurant that opened earlier this year and is now making a bit of a reputation for itself among foreigners in search of Western cuisine that doesn't drain the bank account, but does satisfy the palate.

Wood Stone succeeds on many levels and the first rules for a restaurant -- location, location, location -- are beautifully met on the ninth floor of the new "Bistro 98" bar and restaurant arcade. Much of the seating consists of tables-for-two arrayed along large plate-glass windows, which give a refreshing perspective on the scurrying population below shopping at the Zhongxiao East Road and Fuxing South Road junction. The view extends toward the north of the city and the mountains of Yangmingshan.

Decor-wise, it is hard to find fault with such a scenic advantage. Elsewhere, we have exposed ducting in muted browns, with golden drapes softening the effect. An open kitchen and view of the "very expensive" imported woodstone oven is a nice touch, while floor lighting, elegant seating and a lounge area are intended to give the place a "classy feel." One of the owners of the chain of local steakhouses -- Bullfight (鬥牛士) -- that is behind Wood Stone has applied his interior decorating talents and not done a bad job.

Yeh Wei-nan (葉威男), who has been a chef at a clutch of major hotels in Taipei and now manages Wood Stone, said the restaurant concept was to update and upgrade the typical steak-dining experience. Prices, however, have been kept down, he said, "Because no-one wants to pay too much."

The two set courses range in price from NT$390 to NT$480. For this you get starters, such as smoked salmon roll or soup, foccacia bread with balsamic vinegar, a main dish, dessert and a drink.

Address: 9F, 98, Zhongxiao E Road, Sec 4, Taipei (台北市忠孝東路四段98號9F)

Telephone: (02) 6638 5899

Open: 11am to 9:30pm

Average meal: NT$400

Details: Credit cards accepted. Chinese and English menu

I had the lamb chops, which came with a little mash potato, broccoli, glazed carrot trimmings and a red-wine type sauce. They were well cooked and the overall impression was satisfying. My partner had the extra cheesy beef pizza, which was declared "fresh, soft and easy to chew." It proved to be too much, however, and it was packed up to go in one of the prettiest doggy backs I have seen. Pizzas are priced around the NT$250 mark.

Yeh said many foreigners came mainly for the stone-fired pizza and rated them among the best in Taipei. "I would rather concentrate on quality than quantity, so we will keep up our standards," he said.

Finally, the service was unusually good, attentive and friendly. There are many reasons to visit Wood Stone, but the best one is the view, day or night. And that is why it is a good idea to make a window-seat reservation before you go.

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