Having read several reviews here and on another well-known rating site, we decided to have a boys-noon-out for lunch there today. After three years, I'm still finding my way around C'ville, and though the small shopping center is well identified on mapping apps, finding Cafe 88 tucked away in a far corner was a bit of a challenge...but well worth it! Based on other reviews, we got the beef noodle soup, scallion pancakes, and fried shrimp shu mai.
From the menu, it was apparent that the owners came from Taiwan where things like scallion pancakes are a staple. We were three older adults, all reasonably fit, and we started by ordering three beef and noodle soups. The proprietress vetoed that, telling us that one, or at most two orders would be more than enough. Problem is that they wouldn't split up the order, but gave us paper bowls to dish out the two orders ourselves (one would have been sufficient, by the way). They provided small plastic soup spoons, and each of the two orders had the traditional Asian ladle-spoon. When we asked for a third ladle-spoon, we got a disapproving look from the "lady of the house," but I knew just enough Mandarin Chinese phrases to partially ingratiate myself with her. So, disapproval aside, we got a third ladle-spoon. Apparently, beef and noodle soup is only served on Fri-Sat. which is one reason that we were sure to get there today (a Saturday). And the beef was tender, and flat noodles galore. Tasted great, in tradition. We had a hard time finishing both orders, but suspected that if we wouldn't finish, we might not be allowed in again! ;-)
The pancakes were hot to the touch, as were the shrimp dumplings, both served with soy and shriracha sauces. Both were top-notch, and reminders of Taipei restaurants.
The total bill was $36. Pay up front, food brought to your table. Small eat-in: four tables for four people, and one for two. Tables outside with big umbrellas, but it was too hot at noon for me to sit out.
All three of us would surely return. Recommended!
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