Updated: 29th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed according Urbanspoon.com.
What a transformation.
I could not believe my eyes how Liu’s had upgraded their restaurant just recently. And the food this time made a much better impression on us that it did the first time.
The first and last time we went to Liu’s was 2.5 years ago. Liu’s was tucked in a hidden corner in the Union Square in Richmond. Many people will not notice them because the entrance is partly obscured by big pillars and the huge sign of Richmond Sushi next door drew much of the attention away.
That fist visit to us was just so-so although quite a number of people were raving about them. I guess it was because we failed to order their signature dishes and got some of the not so good ones.
But there are a few winners. The stewed pig intestines left a good impression that they are good in execution of Taiwanese food. The oyster omelette (they call this the oyster pancake) was moist with the eggs partly cooked the way it should be.
Also unique is their House Special Milk Tea. They use whipped cream to top them. Until today, I had not come across any other restaurants using whipped cream on milk tea like below.
This time we are back because of this newspaper clipping. I had been hearing buzz of their re-opening for a little while already but I did not really paid much attention. With the Hated Sales Tax, the 10% discount with the ad came in handy.
Looking at the newspaper ad, I was not expecting a lot of transformation. I thought it was quite weird to advertise that they have “3 new 46″ LCD TVs”. I mean, big deal right? Who actually will go to a restaurant to watch TV anyway?
The above was how Liu looked like 2.5 years ago. They had been operating like this for 14 years already.
The below is how Liu looked like 2.5 years later … with the addition of three 46″ LCD TV.
Our jaws dropped when we walked in. This is no longer the old Liu’s.
Besides the 3 TV, they should have also mentioned the chandelier, the plush new chairs and new tables. Actually, I think they would have made a larger impact if they had advertised how the insides looked like.
It is like Liu had thrown down the gauntlet to the big boys of Taiwanese Cuisine in Richmond. They actually look a lot like Pearl Castle with the fancy blue light thingy on one side of the wall.
It is definitely more modern. Gone are the family run hole in the wall look. We wonder what brought about the change. It is not easy to change so dramatically. With the “new menu” mentioned on the ad, we were wondering if the management is still the same. Anyone know?
So this is their new menu. It also tells their hours. They are opened for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday with a break in service between 3:30PM and 5:30 PM.
The combos are still there. I felt the prices are higher but I don’t know. I thought they had always been on the cheaper side compared to other Taiwanese restaurants and now the prices are on par with them.
If you like Taiwanese food, it is worth checking out their menu as it is quite extensive. The last image on the right is where the Chef’s Special is. You may click on the images above to read it.
Started off with an appetizer. Come to think of it, we had been ordering cucumber appetizer a lot lately.
This is called Taiwanese Style Cucumber ($4). We had mostly been having a lot of spicy cucumber appetizers in Sichuan restaurants. So we wanted to see what a Taiwanese style appetizer looked like.
If you like garlic (which we do) … and lots of it (like we do) … and I mean lots of it, you will love this dish. The garlicky spiciness and sweetness of this cucumber appy is what makes this different. It is served cold. The cucumber, while good, could have been better if it is a lot more fresher tasting.
This is the dish that everyone was telling me I should have tried in Liu’s the last time I was there. They serve this with rice as a lunch special back then and it was popular because it was cheap and really tasty.
They do serve this with rice but we did not want to have rice that night. So we just ordered the chicken only version called … Deep Fried Chicken Legs (3 pieces) $5.25.
I now know what everyone mean when they said I should have tried this …
I know the picture above is kind of hard to show you what I wanted to show you.
You see, the above is one of the chicken legs. They cut the chicken leg open and butterfly then. The meat is almost cut out from bone and just hanging on to the bone by the tendon.
Then they deep fry it. Very unique and definitely very easy to eat.
The skin is very crispy. In fact, the whole chicken leg is crispy makes you feel like you are not eating a whole drumstick. Rather, it is somewhat like eating chicken breast with skin … except that it is dark meat (which we prefer) and not white meat.
Yeah, we should have tried this the last time.
Nanzaro decided that he wanted the Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets Meal ($9).
This meal came with rice with some minced pork on it. You know, the same type of braised pork on rice that I mention is the cheapest common rice dishes in Taiwanese restaurant. I thought it was a good idea because the deep fried chicken nugget is very dry. The minced pork gives the rice the necessary “jup” (he he he … I think the word “jup” is more accurate to describe this than sauce).
There are also some stir fried cabbage, carrot and broccoli to make this a balanced meal.
The deep fried chicken nuggets are crispy and mildly peppery. It tasted very good. Frankly, I thought that if this is cheaper than $9, it would have been much better. It is just me … I thought that the deep fried chicken nugget are mostly appetizers and should be in the appy price range.
The last time I was in Liu’s I did not like the Beef Noodle Soup. I was complaining that the soup was clear and was not like Lao Shan Dong’s whose soup is “busier”.
Of late, I came to appreciate the clearer, less busy soup a lot more. So, today I am enjoying beef noodle from Taiwan Beef Noodle King on Oak Street.
So, I appreciate this now.
The soup was quite strong in herbs and is clearly detectable. Maybe non-Chinese might not like it but I do.
This is called the Stewed Beef with Noodles in Beef Broth on their menu. I thought that at $6.75, it was a good price and definitely on the lower price range compared to most other places.
They are cash only. So be aware.
See? Even the receipt is more modern. They used to handwrite them previously. See this:
Yeah … what a transformation.