Fri, Oct 29, 2010 - Page 14 News List

RESTAURANTS: Kitamurake 北村家

By Ho Yi  /  Staff Reporter

Lights, camera, Kitamurake.

Photo: Ho Yi, Taipei Times

Kitamura Toyoharu, a Taipei-based Japanese actor and film director, has lived in the city for the past 13 years. His directorial feature film debut, Love You Ten Thousand Years (愛你一萬年), a romantic comedy starring Vic Chou (周渝民), also known as Tzai Tzai (仔仔), hit the big screen this summer.

His interests extend to the culinary arts. The chefs at the director’s restaurant, Kitamurake, a snug establishment with a relaxing vibe that attracts widespread attention despite its location on low-profile Leli Road (樂利路), are his mother and father.

Queues outside the homey restaurant, which only accommodates about 14 patrons at one time, are common at the weekend. Part of the eatery’s popularity can be attributed to Kitamura himself as the director is very much a people’s person and effortlessly makes diners feel at home.

Kitamurake’s menu is equally friendly. Mom’s loving tidbits (媽媽愛心的小缽, NT$70 for one dish, NT$240 for four dishes) are selections of appetizers made by Kitamura’s mother.

Among those I nibbled on a recent visit, a cold appetizer that stood out contained cucumber slices, seaweed and the refreshing zest of pickled lemon.

Kitamurake’s version of chikuzen-ni (筑前煮), a traditional stewed dish, is composed of mushroom, carrot and burdock root, and is much sweeter than that served at similar restaurants.

The restaurant’s filet mignon brochettes (北村家招牌牛菲力炸串, N$120), one of Kitamurake’s signature dishes, are delightfully crispy, and the meat buttery-soft with a hint of sweetness and spiciness provided by a slice of onion.

Though the stewed beef tongue with red wine sauce (經典紅酒燉牛舌, NT$240) was made from the thickest beef tongue I have ever seen and surprisingly tender, the sauce was far too salty.

Kitamurake 北村家

Address: 17 Leli Rd, Taipei City (台北市樂利路17號)

Telephone: (02) 2378-5518

Open: Weekdays from 6pm to midnight, weekends from 6pm to 1am. Closed on Tuesdays

Average meal: NT$800

Details: Menu in Chinese, credit cards accepted

The Kitamura family is noted for its beef dishes, which include rare Wagyu beef with Kitamura’s special sauce (生和牛肉搭配北村家獨家醬汁, NT$220) and braised beef tendon with miso seasoning (香嫩牛筋味噌煮, NT$160).

Hungry visitors could do worse than the restaurant’s famed Japanese-style stewed beef omelet over rice with red wine sauce (正宗日式紅酒燉牛肉半熟歐姆飯, NT$300).

The drinks menu includes a decent range of shochu, sake and plum wine (NT$120 to NT$180 per glass), as well as draft Asahi beer (NT$110 and NT$130).

The final verdict: Kitamurake is an intimate mom-and-pop venture that serves delicious food, but the chefs could do with being less heavy-handed with the salt.

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