Although it is one of the four major styles of Chinese cuisine, restaurants based on the Beijing style has been far and few in between in the SF bay area. The other three major cuisines, Cantonese, Shanghai, and Sichuan style restaurants can be readily found here and elsewhere. The reason can be many. But in some respects, it is also the most prevalent style – as the term Mandarin style often means implicitly that it is the “official” Chinese style – which means Beijing style as it is the capital of China.
But Mandarin style usually have not represented the best of the Beijing style food, just the most common items. Shandong style, which can be thought of as a foundation for Beijing style food has been mentioned often on this blog. But there are also tons of other authentic Beijing food items that hasn’t made it to the state-side. Several years ago there was a Beijing style restaurant in Campbell but it did not last too long. Now there is another Bejing style restaurant taking over the spot formerly occupied by the one-lady-show Taiwanese restaurant called Taste Good while keeping the same name.
Inside, the restaurant has been remodeled to be more modern. The menu has nice color pictures showing some of its specialties. Over the lunch hour, I tried the house special Noodles with Soy Bean Sauce, Beijing Style (老北京炸醬面), or more commonly known as ZhaJiangMian.
My friend also recommended Steamed Bread with Meat (肉夾模) appetizer. It looks like a Chinese-style sloppy joe sandwich. The filling is pork with lots of cilantros sandwiched between a doughy wheat bun. The texture of the bun is similar to the English muffin. The pork filling was juicy and flavorful and tasted great. The only downside was it was way too oily, with each bite causing oil to drip down to the plate. I would have it again if they can remove some of the excessive oil. Perhaps this is how it is served in China. (Grade: C+)
The Zha Jiang Mian came with the zha jiang sauce (soy bean paste) on the side and a small plate of veggies for mixing into the bowl of noodles. The noodles unfortunately are not homemade. Also, somehow they did not dry out the noodle and it caused the bowl of noodles to be drenched in water. I had to remove the excess water from the bowl of noodle before mixing in the ingredients, or it would of became a noodle soup.
Due to the oilyness of the sauce and the cold veggies and the lukewarm noodles, the mixed bowl of zhajiangmian was nothing to write home about. Perhaps this is “authentic” Beijing style with the dark sauce being more on the salty side (similar to what I experienced at QQ Noodle). But the Shandong style adapted to the Korean-Chinese style tastes better for me due to its slight sweetness taking the edge off of the salty sauce. (Grade: C+)
Overall, the menu holds promise as it includes many items not often seen in the bay area restaurants. It is a little rough on the edges as it has only been open for a few months. It should be interesting to explore the rest of the menu. On weekends, it also serves Northern Chinese style breakfast items such as youtiao and congee.
Taste Good (京味軒) Peking Cuisine76 S Abel St
Milpitas, CA 95035