It was with eager anticipation that I headed out to Tao’s Delicacies, a small Chinese restaurant in Selden featuring authentic Beijing, Sichuan and Hunan cooking. The place, which serves only Halal meat, is geared to serving the Stony Brook University community. It's also under the same ownership as the new Tao’s Bakery & Dim Sum in Stony Brook, whose dumplings recently delighted my colleague. I wish I could have said the same about the rather bland chicken dumplings I had in Selden. Or the slightly gummy shrimp dumplings.
The modest-looking little eatery had the air of a takeout, although there was perfunctory table service by a lone waiter/counterman. Four of us repeatedly requested water, only one glass was ever brought to the table. Dishes arrived in random order.
Best was Chonqing spicy chicken, crunchy little nuggets (some with bones) in a ringing-hot red chili pepper-laced sauce. Lamb ribs were unavailable, as were oxtails. Cumin lamb turned out to be mostly fat. And an assorted vegetable dish called fungus Sichuan style would have been ideal, had the dried bean curd been soaked long enough to be rendered chewable.
Everything is reasonably priced: the most expensive dish was $15. Note that the restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.
Tao’s Delicacies is at 1310-7 Middle Country Rd., Selden, 631-320-0414, taoshomecooking.com.