japanese/sushi: a-plus dining sake bar.

date December 16, 2010

contact No. 33, Sec. 1, An He Road, Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區安和路一段33號/02.2731.9266

hours 7 days a week [lunch]12pm-3pm/[dinner]6pm-2am

price depends 300-1000NT

rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

website http://www.AplusDiningBar.com.tw

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (忠孝敦化捷運站)

So the first time I went to A Plus Dining Bar was when I went for my 24th birthday. I had seen reviews of A Plus before so I was really excited to try it. I loved it, so when my friend Stephanie was looking for a sushi place to celebrate her 26th, I recommended A Plus.

Each time I’ve been to A Plus I’ve taken the bus, however, you can also take the MRT to ZhongXiao DunHua and walk too.

I highly recommend making reservations before going. For Stephanie’s birthday, I made reservations for five for 7pm on a Thursday night and it was a good thing because the place was pretty full. The overall lighting is kind of dim, romantic-ish I guess. Around 9pm they dimmed the lights pretty low, very mood lighting-ish.

The menu at A Plus is extensive. I love that they have pictures of almost everything as well as English. The menu is conveniently divided into sections ie. sushi rolls, sashimi, noodles, appetizers ect. so it’s easy to find things.

A Plus has an extensive sake menu and about 20 signature sake cocktails, so the first time I went we decided to try them. On the recommendation of our waitress I ordered the Cherry Blossom and Dan ended up with some sort or rose infused cocktail. Both were very good. The Cherry Blossom didn’t taste very cherry like, but it had a very light and refreshing taste and wasn’t too sweet. This time around we ended up with a GIGANTIC bottle of their house sake. From what my friends told me the waiter looked scared when we decided to order the ginormous 1800ml bottle of house sake. Their house sake (about US$100) was pretty good, better cold than hot. Between 4 people it was easy to finish off without anyone getting drunk. Although, the extra birthday shots did me in a little.

I’m pretty much just going to start posting pictures of a bunch of different things I’ve ordered over several visits. So here it goes.

I love cod roe, but was not expecting a cod roe salad to be inside the hand roll. Unfortunately the mayonnaise drowned out the taste of the cod roe, so it tasted more like mayonnaise than anything else. The avocado was really good though, but I wouldn’t get it again.

I love salmon so the flaming salmon roll thing on the menu was a must. It’s basically a california roll inside (crab meat, avocado, cubumber) with salmon, thin slices of cucumber, some dressing and cod roe sprinkled on top then torched table-side. I liked this a lot. The quick torching brought out some of the fatty flavors from the salmon which was nice. On a random note, it’s fun to hear the cod roe pop while it being torched, too.

The rainbow roll was pretty standard, but standard isn’t bad, it’s good. Everything seemed fresh and I really love that their rolls aren’t caked with rice. It really makes me sad when I feel like I’m eating a rice roll with some fish; it should be the other way around.

These seafood skewers were pretty delicious. I’m not sure what kinds of sauce were drizzled over them, but whatever it was, it was tasty. The skewers had onion, shrimp, scallop (?) and a few other various items. Nothing was overcooked which was great. I find that seafood served on skewers more often than not are over cooked. While these skewers are small, they’re pretty good and worth a try.

So the specialty rolls are cut into 8 pieces, but their more basic rolls, like the shrimp tempura roll pictured above come in 4. The shrimp tempura roll is pretty good. Shrimp tempura, cucumber, and crab meat, rolled in tempura flakes and cod roe, then drizzled with unagi sauce. I always like shrimp tempura rolls, and A Plus does a good job.

I love sashimi and the sashimi at A Plus is good. The cuts are pretty decent and for 590NT you get 12 pieces. Everything tasted fresh, so really that’s all that matters. I love the presentation, it’s always pretty intense. We all got a kick out of the glittery roses. When I was here for my birthday there was like a whole bonsai tree in it. I wonder how many times they reuse them…

We decided to do a round two of sashimi. One order is one piece, so we did 8 orders, two pieces per person at 50NT a piece. Again, tasty stuff.

There were several different comments about this duck appetizer. I thought it was pretty good. I like the sauce and the cucumber and duck all together. I will admit that the sauce drowned out the taste of the duck a little, but I liked the sauce, and sometimes duck is a little gamey for me, so I liked it. The birthday girl wasn’t a big fan: the sauce was too overpowering for her. Chris said that it was the first time where he felt like the cucumber added to the dish. I guess if you’re looking for something with a strong duck flavor, this is not what you’re looking for.

The wild mountain boar skewers are by far one of my favorite things on the A Plus menu. There is just something about the combination of the orange, marinated turnip, and wild boar that complements each other so well. I think that this is best when it’s eaten as one bite. While it’s might be a big bite, it’s the best when you get all the flavors.

The name itself is what really drew our attention: red bull roll. Raw beef on top of a california roll with some sauces and seasoning torched table side. I actually liked this roll a lot. It was kind of different and it comes with a tomato sauce, almost like a salsa, to be eaten with the roll. Something about all the flavors together that was unique and tasty. Plus, who doesn’t like food that is lit on fire in front of their eyes.

Our waiter recommended the crab meat omelette to us. It was a cold night and he said we needed to order something hot since we’d only ordered cold food prior to. Overall this was not bad. Eggs with crab meat in some kind of brown sauce with sauteed mushrooms on top. Like most things that have multiple ingredients like this, the best bite is one with a little of everything. I didn’t think there was anything particularly great about this dish, but it wasn’t bad.

So no one is really exactly sure what this was. David said he thought it was a Japanese mountain yam, but he wasn’t 100% sure. I really really liked this. First off, I love anything with melted cheese on it. Second, I love anything with cod roe sauce. This had both. Third, I love crunchy vegetables. Whatever it was it had a really great crunch and was kind of slimy like okra, which is great because I love okra. If you like the three things I mentioned above, you will love this dish. If you do not like any one of the things I mentioned above, I do not recommend this dish.

So the last few things were ordered by David since he arrived late and everything he ordered (including the cheese yam thing) was delicious; this dish was no exception. Honestly, this might have been one of my favorite things. The sweet potato was nice a soft and the chicken was well seasoned, tender, and juicy. I’m not sure if they left the skin on and crisped it or if it was something else they wrapped around the chicken, but whatever it was, it was delicious.

This is something we ordered at my birthday earlier this year. It was some kind of scallop appetizer. Unfortunately it was not a big hit. The scallop was over cooked and overall it was just kind of bland. It looks pretty though.

Overall, I love A Plus. They have a lot of options so it’s a good place to come with friends. Service has always been good when I’ve been. They gave us a few shots on the house for our friends birthday, too. A Plus, it’s a fitting name.

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