2006 100 VERY BEST RESTAURANTS
THE SCENE. There always seems to be a special occasion at this small, nondescript Taiwanese restaurant in North Rockville that teems with regulars. Even if you're not a regular, the affable Bob himself, former journalist Bob Iru, makes you feel at home, personally guiding you through the often-daunting menu.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The long and winding culinary journey that is the menu, ranging from small plates to soups to casseroles to family-style platters and encompassing a variety of cooking preparations, most of them delicious. And prices are so good–$16.95 at lunch fetches three large dishes plus a huge bowl of soup–that you're apt to come back for further exploration or overorder and save the leftovers for the next day (or two).
WHAT YOU WON'T. There's little pacing to a meal–dishes come out one after another, forcing you to eat them before they get cold instead of taking time to savor them. And some dishes are likely to dull the enthusiasm of the most intrepid diners–among them plates of loofah, duck's blood, and sliced stomach.
BEST DISHES. Taiwanese hamburger, a misnomer for a hunk of luscious pork tucked into a steamed bun with chewy greens; an eggy pancake studded with oysters and served with spicy chef's sauce; ginger chicken casserole, full of both homey savor and bite; whole steamed fish; peppery sautéed baby short ribs; shaved ice with red bean, lychee, and peanuts.