Photo by David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Tai Ke

Tai Ke is the first exclusively Taiwanese restaurant in St. Louis, but it’s no mere curiosity. Owners Calvin Koong and Brian Hsia, both of whom have cooked in Americanized Chinese restaurants in town, present a focused overview of their native cuisine, and while dishes range from soups to wok-fried meats to traditional street snacks, everything I tried was appealing. The braised-beef noodle soup is as rich and purely beefy as any stock I’ve sipped; the clear clam soup is light and briny-sweet, with a sparkling undercurrent of ginger. Those street snacks are especially compelling, whether your taste runs to the sticky-rice hot dog (a plump little sausage in a sticky-rice bun) or sticky-rice cubes with basil and pork blood. My favorite dish so far is the signature three-cup chicken, sizzling in a sauce of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine inside a clay pot.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2015

Must order: Signature three-cup chicken ($9.95)