Restaurant: Sonoma Grill

Address: 600 Linsen N Rd, Taipei 104(台北市林森北路600號)
Telephone: (02) 2598 5168
Open: Monday through Sunday 11:30am to 2:30pm, and 5:30pm to 10pm
Average meal: NT$NT$1,500
Details: VISA, Mastercard, Diners, AE accepted


Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 19

Among the diversions of The Combat Zone, it might be easy to overlook the Imperial Hotel's Sonoma Grill, home to what some consider the best steak in town.

Daniel Lan (蘭培雲), the restaurant manger boasts, "We serve the best steak in Taipei and have for five and a half years."

Currently victim to a Taiwan ban on US beef imports, Sonoma Grill has had to find a different distributor. Its substitute, akin to the acclaimed Kobe beef of Japan, is Australian Wagyu beef. Australian certified Wagyu beef herds are raised in clean air, on a formulated diet and are known for the pampering they receive -- as a prelude to the fine dining they will provide.

The elegant mahogany backdrop and comfortably dim lighting creates an ambiance that successfully creates an undeniable meat lovers' haven. Because you can expect to spend somewhere between NT$1,500 to NT$2,500 a person, the restaurant focuses on dinner from 5:30pm until 10pm, but is also open for lunch between 11:30am and 2:30pm.

The chef grills six different cuts of the featured Wagyu New York strip steak as well as Matsusaka steak, both delectable. You would, however, be doing yourself an injustice to visit and not order the Wagyu Gourmet Cut. Accompanied by a small starter, or not, it is best

complemented by a house red or white wine.

There are also set menu options, consisting of the Chef's Tasting Gourmet Specials and the Teppanyaki Specials. The Chef's specials include teppan-steamed live lobster and the Wagyu prime cut, while the teppanyaki specials highlight the teppan fried rice with vegetables and the Matsusaka Steak.

If you are a not a red meat person, the lobster, or an assortment of the smaller portions among the side orders such as king prawn Caesar salad, traditional French onion soup and sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms make tantalizing alternatives.

The accommodating and friendly staff will keep your glasses full and provide some of the best service to be found in Taipei. The restaurant was previously located in Tianmu, but has since been relocated to the Imperial Hotel on Linsen North Road.

"Business is quite good, better since the move and we frequently see celebrities eating in our restaurant," Lan said. So if you are looking for a delicious loin, or a chance to spot your favorite movie star you can't go wrong here.