Fri, Jun 25, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: NY Bagels Cafe

Address: 147 Renai Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (北市仁愛路四段147號)
Telephone: (02) 2752 1669
Open: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Average meal: NT$250
Details: 10 percent service charge added to bill on weekends, 7am to 6pm. Credit cards accepted. Menu in Chinese and English

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nocturnal noshing just got better.

PHOTO: DAVID MOMPHARD, TAIPEI TIMES

Cities are judged on such criteria as infrastructure, income and education levels. But how about whether or not you can get a lox and cream cheese bagel at 4am? In opening a second shop on Renai Road, that is 24-hour, NY Bagels Cafe has given Taipei a new place for nocturnal noshing and helped the city fit into its international-sized shoes.

Located a block from the 24-hour Eslite Bookstore and a short walk from the late-night lounges lining Anhe Road, the new bagel shop is already filling tables after having been open for only two weeks.

It's no surprise. There is a lot more on offer in the 20-page menu than just bagels. Notably, a section of gigantic sandwiches, including a delicious sirloin steak sandwich on sourdough and a "homemade" hamburger, that will likely find favor even among those who aren't bagel fans.

Other non-bagel items unique to the new store are a selection of pastas, Jack's lasagna (NT$190) or a choice of chicken, bacon or seafood spaghetti in a creamy tomato sauce (each NT$170). Here, too, you can ante-up for an optional drink and fries.

The menu is a bit annoying. Rather than simply list what's on offer, it's unnecessarily promotional and filled with newspaper clippings and ads for cream cheese and olive oil. There's even a section titled "What's a bagel?" for locals that think bread should be steamed. If they want to get creative, they would do well to look at Japanese grill Kan Pai's menu, which doubles as a monthly newsletter, with articles on everything from proper grilling techniques to local alt-rock bands. Last month's menu had illustrated instructions on how to change an electrical switch -- quirky, but it moves the conversation away from the work day.

Other suggestions: First, tack up some no smoking signs. Nothing messes with your mish more than the cigarette smoke from the guy next to you. Next, add a couple of fondues to the menu.

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