On opening three years ago, Tai Ke garnered attention as the only Taiwanese restaurant in St. Louis and as a part (if one complicated by history and geography) of the boom in regional-Chinese restaurants in the area. But Tai Ke was notable solely on merit, and on a recent visit I found it even better. My favorite dish, the braised beef-noodle soup, revealed a more complex flavor, the meat’s essence unfolding in layers contrasted by spices and the tang of pickled mustard greens. Tai Ke offers a wealth of dishes to hook first-time visitors: the signature Three Cup Chicken, the hakka stir-fry and the sticky-rice hot dog among them.
Hours: Lunch and dinner daily
Last year's ranking: Rest of the Best
Must order: Braised beef noodle soup ($9.99)