At first blush the Wuxi ribs presented tactical problems too, but a few stabs with the chopsticks made it clear that the meat was going to fall right off the bone. The server said the ribs were among the most popular dishes; I can see why, starting with their appealing looks--a plate of glistening short ribs with a deep auburn color. They taste delicious with the kind of complex, multilayered flavors that result from slow cooking and many spices. Spicy here does not mean hot, as in flaming chilies; it is more nuanced and mild. That finesse was apparent in the dumplings, too. I'm a fan of giant dumplings and was well pleased with the Taiwanese pot stickers since they were, in fact, huge: long cylinders rather than crescents, stuffed with minced pork and sauteed, but not at all greasy. The dumplings had a lovely balance of textures and fairly neutral flavor; a soy-based dipping sauce bursting with minced ginger adds pizzazz.
The ambience encourages the quick in and out rather than extended dining (especially at lunch, when there are very reasonably priced specials). The service on three visits was terrific, and the servers, enthusiastic ambassadors for Taiwanese food, are very helpful at recommending dishes. One night our young waitress patiently translated the Chinese-language specials as best she could (and we ended up ordering a plate of delicious yard-long beans sauteed with ginger and garlic). That spirit of eager collaboration makes navigating the fare an agreeable adventure.
516 E. William 622-0750
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