8.3
NYC

Win Son

Perfect For: Big Groups Casual Weeknight Dinner Date Night
PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

We could complain about the fact that there’s only one bathroom, or we could tell you about the time that it took us a few minutes to get the bartender’s attention. But the bathroom thing seems pretty minor, and we’ve been told by several sources that our faces are actually pretty ignorable. In the end, we have very few bad things to say about Win Son.

The food at this East Williamsburg restaurant is Taiwanese-American. You should know, however, that this doesn’t mean fusion, and that if you want a cheeseburger egg roll, you’re still going to have to go to Applebee’s. This place is owned by two Americans, and what you’ll get is their mostly-faithful take on Taiwanese food.

They do lu rou fan (minced pork over rice), beef wrapped in scallion pancakes, and a Taiwanese staple known as flys head (equal parts pork and chives). Pretty much everything comes topped with something like scallions or fried shallots, and, as you see each dish come out of the kitchen, you’ll know for certain that you want it to be a part of your life. Sure, maybe the zhajiangmian (noodles with fermented bean paste) could use a little more sauce, but you’ll finish the bowl regardless.

It’ll be hard not to, seeing as how the food is great, and this is honestly just a pleasant place to have a meal. It’s casual and unpretentious, but you could bring a date here on Saturday night (and chances are they’d be impressed). The dining room itself is a little nicer than the one at your average neighborhood spot, there’s some outdoor seating, and they keep the mostly-hip-hop soundtrack at the exact volume where you can enjoy it but still have a conversation. All in all, this is one of the coolest places where you can eat in your sweats on a Tuesday.

And you should feel free to do so. Win Son is affordable, the service is friendly, and the food is interesting without being too fussy. It isn’t necessarily a place where you’re going to make your friends eat when they’re visiting from out of town, but if you live within, say, a 40-minute commute, it’s one of your best casual-meal options. You can sit, eat some good food (that you maybe haven’t tried before), and not spend a fortune. We not only have no complaints about that - we wish we eating here right now.

Food Rundown

Lu Rou Fan

This is your all-in-one, go-to order here. It consists of minced pork belly over rice with a soft-boiled egg, and there are more flavors in here than you can count .

Pan-Griddled Pork Buns

You’ll get six of these with an order, and normally that would be an entree-sized portion. Unfortunately, you’ll eat these so quickly that your stomach will not have the opportunity to register food.

Fried Eggplant

Crispy pieces of eggplant, cashews, and some kind of white sauce. Ideally, how we’d eat every vegetable.

Big Chicken Bun

We’ve never been to a McDonald’s in Taiwan, but they probably serve something like this. By all means, order it. (The bun is sweet and squishy). Just know that you’re ordering a fried chicken sandwich.

Guohua Street Salad

Strips of cabbage and tofu with some chunks of mango and grilled shrimp. As long as you weren’t expecting a bunch of leafy greens (and you don’t mind a heavy dressing), you’ll enjoy this.

Scallion Pancakes

Flaky, chew, and all the rest of the good adjectives. Start your meal with these.

Pea Shoots

You’ll order these just to be healthy, but they’ll come sautéed and topped with fried shallots. And you will breathe a sigh of relief.

Zhajiangmian

A bowl of fettucine-type noodles with fermented yellow bean paste and lamb. Truly not bad, but it could use more sauce.

Oyster Omelet

Texturally, there’s a lot going on here. So if you aren’t cool with gooier things, maybe go a different route.

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