The Greater Boston Area is a hub of unique and traditional restaurants from a variety of cultures. Dolphin Bay, an unassuming Taiwanese restaurant in Allston, harbors an array of deliciously authentic specialties. The decor is ocean-themed, with a large wooden boat protruding from the rear of the restaurant and serving as a countertop for the host and workers. Painted with tropical murals of palm trees, seagulls, and dolphins, the restaurant provides a strange but amusing atmosphere in the wintertime. Visiting Dolphin Bay is an experience, and well worth it for the food. Alongside its cuisine, the restaurant offers an array of specialty teas, slushes, juices, and flavored milk. During our visit, my family favored the strawberry slush drink and the Thai iced tea, which presented two different–but equally refreshing–flavors.
I coerced my family into trying out the restaurant with me, so I could order all of the dishes that interested me. For appetizers, we got spicy wontons, small fried chicken pieces tossed in a spice mix, and takoyaki. The wontons were similar to dumplings but with a softer wrapper; I loved their silky texture and meat-filled center, paired with the hot oil drizzled overtop. The fried chicken pieces are the restaurant’s specialty and can be ordered as mild, medium or hot. They were perfectly crispy, and came in a fairly large and well-seasoned portion. Takoyaki consists of a small piece of squid surrounded by a fried dough ball, which is then drizzled with sauces and bonito flakes. They are incredible, despite sounding a little bizarre. One round down, and we still wanted to try a lot more!
After the appetizers, we chose a few meals to split. We ordered sesame noodles, a pork belly rice plate, beef noodle soup, and stir fried udon noodles with chicken. The noodle and rice dishes had a perfect balance of flavors which were gentle and light, not overpowering. Each plate had a portion of meat, starch, and veggies, working together in fresh and healthy combinations. The sesame noodles had a delicious peanut and sesame sauce coating, paired with some bok choy and chunks of ground pork. I prefer Udon noodles, which are thicker, but this sauce made a difference. It was subtle and contained carrots, onions, and more bok choy with greens. The pork belly was moist, flavorful, and oily; perfect for over the rice, and for pairing with the gravy and vegetables on the side (we chose to mix them with everything else). Collectively, our favorite dish was the beef noodle soup, which was rich and savory. The noodles, strips of beef, and greens were plentiful and cooked perfectly, absorbing the broth and taking on some of its flavor. The notes of beef were deep and complex, making the soup fairly addicting and therefore hard to share. We all fought for our turn with the large bowl.
For dessert, we ordered shaved ice with mango, condensed milk, and red bean to split. Toppings are optional, and there are a variety of options to choose from in order to suit any palette. The dessert was enormous–between the six of us we only finished half–but it was very refreshing. Red bean and condensed milk are both common dessert items in Asian cuisine, and we loved sampling the new flavor profiles and textures they presented. Mango added a burst of fresh sweetness, which elevated the experience even further. We left incredibly full and incredibly happy– I would recommend Dolphin Bay to anyone who is trying to expand their palette while seeking restaurants in the Greater Boston area.