japanese/sushi: sumi sushi (澄壽司)

date june 21, 2011

contact No. 17, Alley 248, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Taipei City/台北市忠孝東路四段248巷17號/02.8771.9986

hours Monday-Friday 11:30-14:30, 17:00-21:30/Saturday 12:00-14:30, 17:30-21:30 (closed Sundays)

price 300-600NT per person (+10% service charge)

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT or Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT (捷運忠孝敦化站或捷運國父紀念館站)

website http://sumisushi.pixnet.net/blog

For our last dinner with Lydiana before she heads back to Sydney we ended up at Sumi Sushi. After trying to think of a place to eat, we narrowed it down to Japanese or Korean. Jamie remembered a sushi place being in the area and I had remembered seeing it on hungry girl’s blog, so to Sumi Sushi we went.

Sumi Sushi is located on the same alley as Chili House and one of Dazzling Cafe’s locations between Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (捷運忠孝敦化站) and Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT (捷運國父紀念館站).

Sumi Sushi has two floors: the top floor where the sushi bar is located and a basement floor where there are a few tables (where we sat). We got there at around 8pm on a Tuesday night and didn’t have to wait for a table for five.

The staff suggested that our group of five sit downstairs. The downstairs is small, but has a lot more room than the sushi bar on the first floor.

The menu at Sumi is in both English and Chinese. There are no descriptions for the rolls or pictures, but the waitress was very nice and told us what was in the rolls when we asked.

While their menu does not have pictures, they do have photos of their rolls on the first floor.

The sub-heading of Sumi Sushi’s name is California Roll. With that in mind, I was expecting the kind of sushi place I’d find in San Diego or San Francisco; lots of rolls, not a whole lot of sashimi or nigiri. I was right. Sumi has all the typical kinds of sushi rolls you’d expect to find in the US: Dragon Roll, Rainbow Roll, Alaska Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll, Philadelphia Roll, etc. They do have sashimi, but only salmon and tuna, and they do have a few other sushi items, but their main items were rolls, which ranged from about 100NT-300NT. The menu also had appetizers, salads, and rice bowls. We asked the waitress for suggestions and she gave us a few. We ended up with eight rolls for 5 people (each roll had 5-6 pieces).

We decided to order the two types of sashimi they offer: salmon (鮭魚) for 300NT and tuna (鮪魚) for 350NT. Realistically, this was not worth it. I mean, it is over priced especially for what you get. Not to say that the fish was bad, it just wasn’t of the highest quality and was definitely not worth the price. If you want sashimi I would not recommend this place. I would instead go to A-Plus, Sashimiya, or Tsukiji Market.

In total we ordered eight rolls. Salmon is my favorite fish and I love spicy things, so naturally we ordered the Spicy Salmon Roll (辣鮭魚捲) for 150NT, which was the first to come out. The roll had salmon, avocado, cucumber, and wasabi inside and was sprinkled with chili flakes and green onion on top. This was not bad, pretty standard in terms of what you’d expect of a Spicy Salmon Roll. It was not really spicy at all, just a little kick from the wasabi, but other then that pretty mild. There was a squirt of sauce on the side that tasted like a sriracha mix, though.

I feel like if you go to a restaurant and they have something on the menu that has their name in it you have to get it. The Sumi Roll (澄捲) for 250NT was cut into 5 pieces and had imitation crab, tamago, avocado, cucumber, and possibly some other things inside and was topped off with tobiko, sesame seeds, and what tasted like unagi sauce (the sweet brown sauce that almost tastes like a sweeter more condensed teriyaki sauce). This roll was okay, nothing particularly special.

The Jump Jump Roll (跳跳捲 literally translated as jump jump roll) for 250NT was recommended to us by the waitress and is one of their newer rolls. The roll itself was a standard California Roll (crab meat, avocado and cucumber) but it was topped with a scallop and tobiko mix with some spicy mayonnaise. This was probably one of my favorite rolls we had. I really love scallops and the scallops on this roll were pretty good.

Another recommended roll was the Avocado Smoked Salmon Roll (酪梨燻鮭魚捲) for 250NT which came in 6 pieces. This was another roll I really liked. The roll itself had crab meat, avocado and cream cheese in it and was topped with smoked salmon, avocado, sesame seeds, a touch of mayonnaise, what tasted like ponzu sauce, and some chili flakes. The combination of all of it together was pretty tasty.

Another recommended roll was the Special Fried Shrimp Roll (特製炸蝦捲) for 250NT for 5 pieces. This roll had shrimp tempura, avocado, and cream cheese inside and was topped with tobiko and sesame seeds. There was some sauces around the roll on the plate, but not actually on the roll. Either way, this roll was good, nothing amazing, but good enough.

We got a Dragon Roll (龍捲) at 200NT for 6 pieces. I mean, who doesn’t love a Dragon Roll? This one was your typical Dragon Roll: standard California Roll topped with unagi (fresh water eel). Nothing spectacular, but a good staple. The unagi was baked just right so that it was flaky and tender, as unagi should be.

After we finished our first round of roll, we decided we needed to add more. We added the Volcano Roll (火山捲) 300NT. This roll was 6 pieces of who knows what. I want to say the inside was a California Roll that was topped with a scallop mix and crap tons of sauces. I mean, the sauces really kind of drown out everything else; everything just gets really muddled, but I still liked it. This is not the type of roll you want to get if you’re trying to enjoy the flavor of fish. However, if you want a roll with lots of crap on it, this is your roll.

The last roll of the night was a Soft Shell Crab Roll (軟殼蟹捲) for 300NT. The 5 piece roll had soft shell crab, avocado, and cucumber in it and was topped with tobiko and ponzu sauce. The soft shell crab in this was pretty meaty, which was nice. Overall this roll was your standard soft shell crab roll.

All in all we ordered eight rolls and two plates of sashimi for five people. Our bill came out to about US$90 (2710NT) which included a 10% service charge. At one point my friend Jamie mentioned that after a while all the rolls started tasted the same because they all had the same sauces. In general I feel like that’s true of a lot of rolls, in the US as well, because they seems to all have the same sauces that drown out a lot of the fish flavors. I liked this place as an American style sushi restaurant. The prices are decent and the sushi is good enough for me to want to go back. Sushi is my favorite food and I do crave different kinds of rolls like they have in California. Sumi Sushi is the perfect place to satisfy that type of craving. However, if you’re looking for high quality sashimi/nigiri, Sumi is not the place for you.

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