For hubby's bday I wanted to take him somewhere that doesn't serve Chinese food, because poor baby's gotten a bit homesick after having spent 3 birthdays in a row overseas (so did I, but I love *not* being home LOL!). So I told him to take a look at in the travel guidebook his Japanese colleague A-san had left behind for him. One of the recommendations was Mr. Onion, a steak house. I thought the name sounded familiar. Turns out I did hear of it before from another classmate of mine. He also thought this place served great steaks and had recommended to us a little while back.
There are several locations, but hubby and I went to the branch in Taini (台泥), which is accessible via MRT Red Line (淡水線) Mingquan West Road Station (民權西路站).
We went for a super early dinner, around 5-ish, thinking we'd want to take a stroll after and may be snack some, or get some dessert. The place was pretty empty, so we were seated right away. The first thing that struck me was the decor of the restaurant. It was very, umm, busy. The ceiling was pained a heavy burgundy, the wall columns the same marbling yellow-ivory as the outside columns, and the table cloth a crowded flower print, also on a burgundy background. Seriously, the atmosphere felt so heavy the moment we stepped in and that colored our whole meal.
And funny enough, neither of us ordered a steak. We just felt so heavy already with the decor, so hubby decided he would just go for several a la carte orders of appetizers and I went for a pasta course, which started with a fruit salad plate in yogurt sauce here. It was okay, the fruit was good, the yogurt sauce was ho hum.
Hubby ordered 2 appetizer plates, a Smoked Salmon plate, which came out with 3 paper thin slices of smoked salmon and a huge goop of mustard sauce, and Tender Beef in Thai Sauce, again was a couple of paper thin slices on a heap of cabbage. He thought they were just okay.
I was very much looking forward to my garlic toasts, but these turn out to be the most disappointing. They tasted like they were frozen bread, with the toasts, and garlic butter(!), rather stale. Even if they weren't stale, they still weren't half as good as the frozen garlic bread I get at home.
Escargot in Garlic Butter Sauce was decent, still not as good as the Escargot in Pesto Sauce we had a random Spanish tapas bar in Tokyo. I was really excited about the French Onion Soup also, however it didn't taste anything like French Onion Soup! Actually, it didn't taste like anything. Just some tasteless broth and onion, and even then I couldn't even taste the onions!
Hubby ordered a Creamed Corn Chowder, and it came out tasting like it was made from an instant soup powder. No, scratch that, the instant corn soup I had in Japan (made by Knorr!) was way better.
By this point hubby and I were both sorely disappointed and I started to dread the Spicy Seafood Spigadoro with squid ink pasta. However, it turned out to be yummy, even though it reeked of soy sauce and smelled like Chinese food LOL! Whatever, it was delicious, and spicy too! I really just want my food to taste good, because if I wanted frozen or instant food I could have done that at home. Perhaps my second favorite item that evening, aside from the soy-saucy-but-yummy pasta, was this Mango Juice. It was thick, but not too thick, and super smooth. And the mango flavor was not too overwhelming and wasn't all artificial. I love it so much I drank the whole glass in a snap, and proceeded to order another ^.^
Here's my second mango and Caramel Chiffon Cake, which tasted more like a stale walnut muffin :(
Worst of all, hubby weren't enjoying his Lasagna entree at all. I felt so bad for him since this was his birthday dinner to begin with and he was getting one bad dish after another. This lasagna again tasted like it was frozen. If anything, the Chef Boyardee-style lasagna he had at Denny's in Japan were better! WTF Mr. Onion?!? You may specialize in steaks, but why offer all these things when you suck at them so badly?!?
In conclusion, perhaps we might have arrived at the very wrong time when the chef was taking a break (at 5PM though?!?), but the food at Mr. Onion was subpar. If you have to go here, order the pasta a la carte, at least the Spicy Seafood Spigadoro, and don't waste your money with the dinner set. It's not worth it. I can't recommend the steaks since we didn't have it. When I finally complained about this on my FB, several other local Taiwanese friends weighed in that they too thought the place was terrible. Doh. Should have asked them instead of my classmate (or the guide book!). Ha. Lesson learned.