Category Archives: japanese

updated/sushi: n.c.i.s (northern california inspired sushi/德相N.C.I.S美式加州壽司)

n.c.i.s (northern california inspired sushi)

date March 09, 2013

contact No. 4, Alley 27, Lane 216, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區忠孝東路四段216巷27弄4號/02.2721.6952

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:30-14:00 :: [dinner] 17:00-21:30

price 500NT-1000NT

rating ♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua Station, Exit 3 (捷運忠孝敦化站3號出口)

website http://www.ncisushi.com/ or http://www.facebook.com/ncisushi

You know how they say food is the way to a man’s heart? Well, sushi is the way to mine.

For a ladies night out, a college friend (a Santa Barbara native) requested some California-style sushi. Since she was getting her hair done across the street, literally, we decided to meet at 德相N.C.I.S.美式加州壽司. This was my first trip to their new location off Zhongxiao E. Rd.; I had previously been to their Shida Night Market location.

inside ncis.

On a Saturday night around 8pm the restaurant was pretty full. We managed to grab the last open table. The new location of NCIS is noticeably  roomier than their previous location at Shida.

menu at ncis as of march 2013.

We were quickly sat and handed menus. I noticed that the prices for some of the rolls have gone up, but nothing too drastic. Menu is still in English and Chinese. Speciality rolls range from 200-300NT.

Itadakimasu:
– Seasoned Soy Beans (椒鹽毛豆) 70NT
– BBQ Eel Nigiri Sushi (aka Unagi/鰻魚) 100NT/2pcs.
– Halibut Fin Nigiri Sushi (比目魚緣側) 160NT/2pcs.
– Toyota Roll (豐田) 200NT
– Sofa-King-BOMB Roll (沙發王棒) 280NT
– Spicy Ji Jimmy Roll (辣吉吉米) 300NT
– Johnny Can’t Walk Roll (約翰走不動) 300NT
– Geikeikan Sake (月桂冠) 250NT/250ml

complementary soup.

Complimentary soup was the first thing out. Tasted like some sort of light miso broth with salmon.

First things out were the Toyota Roll (豐田) for 200NT, Sofa-King-BOMB Roll (沙發王棒) for 280NT and Johnny Can’t Walk Roll (約翰走不動) for 300NT.

IMG_2062

The Toyota specialty roll was described as fried shrimp and cream cheese on the inside, topped with smoked salmon and avocado. I liked this roll. Cream cheese and smoked salmon are a natural combination (a la cream cheese and lox and the standard Philadelphia roll). With the added sauce, fish eggs, and green onion this roll was delicious. We particularly appreciated was that they aren’t too heavy handed with the cream cheese. As much as I love cream cheese, too much in sushi drowns out all other flavors.

johnny can’t walk (約翰走不動) 300NT.

The only thing we ordered that I had previously ordered on my last visit to NCIS was the Johnny Can’t Walk specialty roll. Described as a roll of spicy tuna, crab mix, and shrimp topped with seared tuna and bbq eel (unagi), this was easily one of the favorites of the night. I had suggested it since it was our favorite roll from my last visit. My friends liked the slightly charred tasted from the searing and in general just liked the combination of flavors. I think I liked the roll better this time than I did the last. Last time there was a lot of random sauce on the plate. While for presentation sauces can be pretty, I’m kind of the opinion that what is put on a plate should compliment the dish and be edible. It’s like that idea of random ass sprigs of parsley on a plate: don’t put it on my plate if I’m not supposed to eat it. Especially with sauce, since if it gets on the food you can’t really just wipe it off. Okay, end tangent.

sofa-king-BOMB! (沙發王-棒!) 280NT.

Before being moved to the bar, Val and I spotted some roll with salsa on it. We immediately asked a server what it was because we wanted it! The Sofa-King-BOMB! specialty roll is a fried roll with chicken strips, cream cheese, and smoke salmon topped with salsa. At first the idea of chicken strips in my sushi was unappealing, but I actually liked this roll. Something about the combination of the fresh salsa with the saltiness of the chicken strips and salmon and the creamy cheese was tasty. This roll wasn’t as popular with my friends, but I liked it.

spicy ji jimmy (辣吉吉米) 300NT.

Still hungry we asked for a recommendation. Sitting at the bar we got to watch everything come out, including the Spicy Ji Jimmy specialty roll, which ended up being recommended to us. A roll with fried shrimp and spicy tuna topped with bbq eel (unagi) and avocado, this roll was probably the favorite of the night. With some spicy mayonaise sauce, and sriracha on the sides, this roll was only mildly spicy, but delicious. So delicious, in fact, that Xiao Yan got one to go.

[top] bbq eel (unagi) nigiri sushi (鰻魚) 100NT/2pcs. :: [bottom] halibut fin nigiri sushi (比目魚緣側) 160/2pcs.

On the nigiri sushi side we got two orders of BBQ eel (unagi) nigiri sushi and one order of halibut fin nigiri sushi. The unagi was pretty standard, nothing special. Xiao Yan ordered the halibut fin. Neither Val nor I had ever had it before, but I must say, it was quite delicious. Halibut fin (engawa) is apparently the “thin muscle of the dorsal fin”. The halibut fin had a bit of a chewy fatty texture, and the slight searing helped to bring out the flavor in the fat. Very delicious. Also, the sushi chef was kind enough to give us an extra piece since there were three of us.

seasoned soybeans (椒鹽毛豆) 70NT.

Val wanted something to break up all the sushi, so we got an order of the seasoned soybeans. The seasoning on the soybeans kind of tasted like some sort of italian herb seasoning with chili flakes. Kind of interesting on the soybeans, but not bad at all.

We also ordered some sake. Pretty standard tasting sake; served cold.

Our only complaint would be regarding the servers. The female servers seemed a little clueless as to what was going on and not particularly warm or friendly either. When we asked one about what roll a table had ordered, after looking at it she still had to go ask one of the chefs what it was. Maybe we’re harsh since we’ve both worked in food service, and maybe I’m a little extra critical because I served in sushi restaurants for 7 years, but if you can’t tell what a roll is by the look of it, I think it’s time to do a little homework.

Overall, I much enjoyed NCIS. It was a nice taste of home for two California girls and fun to introduce our Taiwanese friend to California-style sushi. Rolls were great and decently priced. Our bill came out to about 1700NT or so, so between the 3 of us, about 600NT (~US$20) each. Sitting at the bar we got to talk a little to the owner, who introduced himself as Jo, from Sacramento. Even while busy he still managed to make conversation and seems to genuinely like what he does. We also overheard him say that if we had requests for other types of sushi not on their menu we could ask them to make it, which we will definitely do on our next visit.

sushi: n.c.i.s (northern california inspired sushi/德相n.c.i.s美式加州壽司)

date july 19, 2012

contact No.17-3, Longquan St., Daan Dist., Taipei City/台北市大安區龍泉街17號之三 (師大夜市內)/ 02.2363.9931

hours 7 days a week 17:00-00:00

price 500NT-1000NT

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Guting MRT (捷運古亭站) or Taipower Building MRT (捷運台電大樓站)

website http://www.ncisushi.com/ (Chinese Only)

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UPDATE

The Shida location of N.C.I.S is closed, but don’t fret, they opened a new location on Zhongxiao E. Rd!

contact No. 4, Lane 216, Alley 27, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd,  Daan Dist., Taipei City/台北市大安區忠孝東路四段216巷27弄4號/02.2721.6952 

nearest mrt MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua (捷運忠孝敦化站)

~::~::~::~::~

Having walked passed N.C.I.S many times my friend and I decided to check it out after talking to one of the owners (who is from Sacramento) one random night.

Located inside of Shida Night Market (師大夜市), N.C.I.S is located on the main street running down the night market close to Heping E. Rd. (和平東路).

The inside of N.C.I.S is pretty small: about 5-6 tables, plus some sushi bar space.

The N.C.I.S menu is pretty intense, mostly full of rolls, which based on the name of the restaurant I was expecting. The front of the menu has basic rolls, appetizers, sashimi, and nigiri type stuff.

The back of the menu has all their speciality rolls with the names and ingredients in both English and Chinese. There are color coded dots next to the rolls to denote whether or not they are spicy, deep fried, well done or torched. Being first time customers the server introduced us to some of the more popular rolls and rolls that would suit our tastes, after telling him what we liked (which is pretty much everything).

We decided to get three rolls and an appetizer, as follows:
– Stir Fried Onion Cheese Fries (起司炒洋蔥薯條) 200NT
– Marilyn Monroll (瑪麗蓮夢露) 220NT
– Salmonlicious (鮭揨高) 220NT
– Johnny Can’t Walk (約翰走不動) 300NT

Water and miso soup is self serve and can be grabbed on the lefthand side of the sushi bar.

Upon seeing the words “stir fried onions”, “cheese”, and “fries” on the menu, Erin and I immediately looked at each other and said, “we’re getting that.” Freshly fried seasoned fries topped with freshly sauteed  onions and some fake looking nacho cheese makes this Stir Fried Onion Cheese Fries (起司炒洋蔥薯條) appetizer for 200NT super tasty. This appetizer would be great drunk food, but was delicious sober as well. The serving size isn’t very big, but that’s probably good considering this place is a sushi joint, not a place for bar food. I would totally get this again.

The Marilyn Monroll (瑪麗蓮夢露) for 220NT was listed as having fried shrimp and crab mix inside the roll topped with avocado and scallops. First impression was, where is the avocado??? To be honest, I was a little let down by this roll. When you describe something as being topped with avocado and scallop, I expect to taste both the avocado and scallop, or at least be able to see it. Upon further inspection I realized the avocado was  the green stuff spread on the top of the roll; it was not slices like sushi rolls usually have and would probably have been completely overlooked had I not looked for it. The fried shrimp inside tasted like prepackaged frozen fried shrimp from Costco, which while isn’t bad, isn’t great. This roll wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I wouldn’t get this again.

Salmon is my favorite raw fish so the Salmonlicious (鮭揨高) for 220NT was an obvious choice for me. Described as smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber on the inside (a basic Philadelphia Roll) topped with fresh salmon and lemon. Erin was afraid there would be too much cream cheese, but there wasn’t, just enough to get the taste.  This roll had a nice fresh taste to it thanks to the nice sliver of lemon on top.

The last roll we ordered was the Johnny Can’t Walk (約翰走不動) for 300NT. Described as spicy tuna, crab mix, and shrimp topped with seared tuna and bbq eel (aka unagi), this roll is torched, although it’s not marked on the menu.  This roll was recommended to us by the server, it is also one of two 300NT rolls, the most expensive on the menu. This was probably my favorite roll of the night, not because I could single out any one particular flavor (which you can’t), but because I was in the mood for the kind of saucey jumbled roll that I’d find at home (being San Diego) and this fulfilled that. You do taste the unagi, but other than that, all the sauces and flavors just meld together.

Overall, N.C.I.S is not bad. They have a lot of other rolls on the menu that I’d like to try. In terms of price, it’s pretty average for a place that sells American style rolls (150NT-300NT). I don’t know how their nigiri or sashimi is, but considering they specifically market California style rolls, I’d probably stick to rolls. I think that N.C.I.S fills a niche that the Shida area needed to be filled and I appreciate it’s proximity to my apartment. Based purely on the American style sushi roll angle I like N.C.I.S; it makes me feel like I’m eating sushi at home.

sushi/japanese: hashi sushi (橋壽司)

date november 15, 2011

contact No. 292, Sec. 2, Yonghe Rd., Yonghe District, New Taipei City/新北市永和區永和路二段292號/02.8925.2223/0975.780.275

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:00-14:30 :: [dinner] 17:00-22:00

price 300NT-600NT

rating ♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Dingxi MRT (捷運頂溪站)

I think that every time I post about sushi I say it’s my favorite thing to eat ever. So, to drive home that point: I love sushi, it’s my favorite thing ever.

Ashley has been telling me about “the cheap sushi place in Yonghe” for a while now, but we haven’t been able to go until tonight. Totally worth it.

Hashi Sushi is located in Yonghe District right next to the original location of Yonghe Soy Milk King (永和豆漿). The nearest MRT is Dingxi (頂溪). Just walk north up Yonghe Rd. (永和路) toward Zhongzheng Bridge (中正橋) and you’ll see it right past Yonghe Soy Milk King (aka Yonghe Doujiang).

Hashi Sushi is kind of a hole in the wall kind of joint. Nothing fancy, wallpaper kind of peeling off the walls, but honestly that’s my favorite kind of sushi place. My favorite sushi place in San Francisco is Sushi Zone and it most definitely falls under the category of “hole in the wall” sushi joints. Hashi has two floors; the first floor has the sushi bar and about 6-7 tables.

I know this picture makes the second floor of Hashi look like ghosts and creepy Japanese horror film children should be lurking, but Ashley said when it’s open (which it was not when we went) she prefers to sit up here.

The main menu at Hashi is in Chinese and English. There is a picture for every item, which is always helpful. They have a pretty large variety of fish. Most of their menu is made up of nigiri sushi; they also have maki sushi, hand rolls, chirashi, sashimi, and salads. Prices are not listed on the picture menu, but on the order sheet (which is in Chinese only). All the nigiri runs about 30NT-90NT for 2 pieces. Hand rolls range from 30NT-160NT and chirashi 250NT-680NT.

On a white board behind the sushi bar they have some specials that aren’t on the main menu.

Between Ashley and I, we ordered:
– Seared Scallop Nigri Sushi (炙干貝) 90NT
– Sweet Shrimp Nigiri Sushi (胭脂蝦) 80NT
– Grilled Chicken Wings (雞翅; 2串) 60NT
– Hamachi Kama (青魽下巴) 250NT
– Mixed Seafood Chirashi (海鮮丼) 250NT
– Salmon with Salmon Roe Chirashi (鮭魚親子丼) 300NT

I love scallops. Raw, baked, pan seared, whatever, I love them all. Ashley said their Seared Scallops were delicious and she was right. For 90NT you get two pieces of Seared Scallop Nigiri Sushi (炙干貝), or on their menu “Roasting Scallop”. Lightly torched, the scallops were sweet and buttery. Melt in your mouth buttery. Squeeze some of the kumquat juice on the scallops for a little acid.

Another thing I love, amaebi, otherwise known as Sweet Shrimp. For 80NT we ordered the Sweet Shrimp Nigiri Sushi (胭脂蝦) 80NT, or “Big Sweet Shrimp” on their menu. Like the scallops, the sweet shrimp was melt in your mouth delicious. Sweet, fresh, and melted in my mouth.

Ashley ordered the Grilled Chicken Wings (雞翅) for 60NT. One order comes with two skewers of two wings each. The wings are really tender and pretty tasty. Add some lime for acid.

Ashley also ordered the Hamachi Kama (aka Yellowtail Cheek). For 250NT you get a pretty sizable portion of hamachi kama (青魽下巴). The cheek is lightly seasoned with salt and comes with a side of grated daikon radish. The fish was really tender and delicious. Add lime for some acid.

Ashley ordered herself the Mixed Seafood Chirashi (海鮮丼) for 250NT, known as Mix Sashimi with Rice on their menu. I’m not exactly sure what all was in this, but for sure there was tuna, salmon, sweet shrimp, squid, salmon roe, and tamago. She was happy with it and everything looked tasty and fresh.

My favorite fish is salmon, so I opted for the Salmon with Salmon Roe Chirashi (鮭魚親子丼) for 300NT. This bowl had some seared salmon, along with completely raw salmon, salmon roe, sliced onions and tamago. Everything was delicious and fresh. You get a lot of salmon, which is nice. For the price and quality, this is a pretty delicious deal.

Overall, I kind of love this place. The fish is fresh and affordable. There are a lot of other things on the menu that I want try and will most definitely be back here.

japanese: 紅蜻蜓食事處 (hóngqīngtíngshíshìchù)

date september 28, 2011

contact No. 35-1, Yongkang St., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區永康街35號之一/02.2394.7517

hours Monday-Friday 18:00-01:00 :: Saturday [lunch] 12:00-15:00 [dinner] 18:00-01:00 :: Sunday  [lunch] 12:00-15:00 [dinner] 17:00-24:00

price 300NT-600NT

rating ♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt MRT Dongmen (捷運東門站) Exit 5

For the past two years I have been walking passed 紅蜻蜓食事處 on Yongkang St. (永康街) and always thought, I want to eat here, as I love Japanese izakaya places. Finally after two years, my friend Ashley took me.

紅蜻蜓食事處 is located on Yongkang St. past the park, across from the Dante’s Coffee, at the corner of Yong Kang St. Lane 37.

One of the reasons I never made it to 紅蜻蜓食事處 (roughly translated as Red Dragonfly Restaurant) is because it’s tiny and usually full. Ashley and I met at Yongkang after work around 7:30pm on a Wednesday night and managed to grab the last table, which happened to be one of the two tables they have outside by the entrance. In total, 紅蜻蜓食事處 has only 4 or 5 tables inside and the bar at the grill that in total probably seats around 25 people. Outside, where we sat, they have two tables that seat 2 to 3 people.

The menu at 紅蜻蜓食事處 is in Chinese and Japanese only. Luckily, there is a photograph for every item on the menu (note: what is written on the actual menu may slightly vary from what is written on the order sheet). Ashley and I decided to order:

– Chicken leg skewers – 3 skewers (雞腿肉 – 3串) 90NT
– Pork skewers – 3 skewers (梅花豬肉 – 3串) 90NT
– Bacon wrapped asparagus – 2 skewers (培根蘆筍 – 2串) 100NT
– Japanese style mushrooms – 2 skewers (和風香菇 – 2串) 120NT
– Cold tofu with mountain yam (山藥冷豆腐) 120NT
– Mixed stir fried vegetables (綜合炒野菜) 150NT
– Curry korokke – 2 pcs. (咖哩可樂餅 – 2個) 90NT

I ordered the curry korokke, aka curry croquette, (咖哩可樂餅) for 90NT because I love curry and I love potatoes. These were pretty tasty. For 90NT you get two lightly fried croquettes. The curry flavor was just enough and the sauce on top, which tasted like katsu sauce,  added a nice sweet/tartness.

Ashley recommended the cold tofu with mountain yam (山藥冷豆腐) for 120NT. This was probably my favorite thing we had. The cold tofu with mountain yam comes with a chunk of cold tofu with ground mountain yam, raw egg yolk, and nori (dried seaweed) shavings with some kind of light broth. We’re pretty sure you’re meant to mix it all up and eat it. Warning, this is not going to be for everyone. Mountain yam has a very slimy texture when raw, much like the sliminess of okra. On top of the raw egg, this is pretty slimy, but I really like that. To me, all the flavors work really well together, but again, this dish is not for everyone.

One order of the chicken leg skewers (雞腿肉 – 3串) comes with three skewers for 90NT. The chicken was deliciously tender and marinated in what tasted like teriyaki. Very good.

Ashley picked the meihua pork skewers (梅花豬肉) 3 skewers/90NT (left). I thought the pork was okay. I think of the skewers we ordered it was my least favorite, but it was still good. It was lightly seasoned with salt, but I kind of felt like it was tougher than I generally prefer. We also got bacon wrapped asparagus (培根蘆筍), which came with two skewers (3 pcs. each) for 100NT. I loved these. I liked the saltiness from the bacon and the crunchiness from the asparagus. So good.

For vegetables we got the mixed stir fried vegetables (綜合炒野菜) for 150NT. This was a tasty plate of vegetables (cabbage, bell peppers, onions, king oyster mushrooms, carrots, etc.). It was a little on the salty side, but for me that was okay because I like salty foods. The vegetables were cooked perfectly so that they still had a little crunch, which is great because nothing is worse than a plate of soggy veggies.

The last thing we added to our order was the Japanese style mushrooms (和風香菇), which comes with 2 skewers (6 pcs.) for 120NT. I thought these mushrooms were pretty tasty. The were grilled then topped with ground radish, green onions, and a sweet and tangy sauce. If you got one without much sauce they were kind of plain, but I still liked it; Ashley did too.

Ashley said that inside the restaurant they have on their most popular dishes up on the wall. I’m not sure if anything we ordered was part of that “most popular” list, but overall I thought it was all pretty damn tasty. The thing about going to an izakaya, though, is that it can add up quickly price wise. By the end of our meal we had decided that we had ordered the perfect amount of food for two people; our bill came out to 760NT, but we didn’t order and alcohol, so keep that in mind. There were a lot of other things I wanted to try on the menu so I will definitely have to go back and try them.

japanese: tai-po teppanyaki (大埔平價鐵板燒)

date august 24, 2011

contact No. 58, Shi Da Rd., Taipei/台北市師大路58號/02.2369.8085

hours not listed, but I think they close at 23:00.

price 100NT-150NT (per person)

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Guting MRT (捷運古亭站)

I’ve actually been to Tai-Po Teppanyaki many times, but just never reviewed it. Since I haven’t really been eating out much, I figured, why not review it.

Tai-Po Teppanyaki is at Shida Night Market. It’s on the corner of the alley with all the food on the opposite side of Shida Rd. from where the night market is. The sign is bright yellow and red, so it’s pretty hard to miss.

The inside of Tai-Po is just a giant grill that sits about 20-30 people. This place gets pretty busy at dinner time and often has a wait; although the turnover is pretty fast so if your party is small, you probably don’t have to wait over 30 minutes.

The menu at Tai-Po is in both English and Chinese. There are menus all over the restaurant: there are two outside of the restaurant, and several posted on the wall behind the grill. All of the options (except the eggs and rice) come with cabbage, bean sprouts, soup, and drink (the soup and drink are self serve). Over the last two years I’ve probably tried almost everything they have on the menu. This last time I got the clams and my friend the tofu teppanyaki, John Dory fish, and enoki mushrooms (gold mushrooms).

When you sit down the first thing they do is put down aluminum foil in front of you and start to make the cabbage and bean sprouts. They make both in large batches for several people, but if you want more garlic or it to be spicy or whatever, you can tell them and they’ll put aside a little and add or subtract whatever it is you want or don’t want. I generally find that both the cabbage and bean sprouts are fine the way they are. Neither are too salty or too garlicy. Note, if you leave them on the grill too long, they will get softer. The portion of the grill that is right in front of you is not hot enough to cook on, but it’s still warm to keep the food warm, so they’ll continue to cook.

I really love clams so I got them the last time I was here. The clams (蛤蜊) are 100NT and I think pretty good. Pretty much everything you get here has the same sauce. Most everything, including the clams, are cooked with onions, green onions, pepper, salt, soy sauce, garlic, and a little flour to thicken the sauce up. One great thing is that I’ve never gotten a clam here that I can’t eat because it hasn’t opened, so that’s a plus.

One of my favorite things is enoki mushrooms (金針菇), they call them gold mushrooms on the menu here and its 80NT. I like them a lot here. You get a lot and it goes good with the onions and green onions.

This was my first time getting the tofu teppanyaki (鐵板豆腐) for 90NT. Well actually I didn’t get it, Ashley did, but I tried it. It was pretty good. Tofu-like?

One of the few things on the menu that isn’t cooked in onions and sauce is the fish; the filet also isn’t. The John Dory fish (香煎多利魚) for 110NT is cut up and lightly powdered with flour then pan fried on the grill. It’s pretty tasty. They only season it with a little salt and pepper, so it’s pretty simple and tasty.

I’ve had all the meats they offer on the menu before, except the lamb because I don’t really like lamb. Both the beef and pork (牛肉與豬肉) for 110NT and 100NT, respectively, are decent enough. Neither are high quality meat or anything. It’s all just precut thinly sliced frozen meat. Either way, it’s not bad.

Overall this place is good for cheap fast food (fast as long as you don’t have to wait). It’s no Benihana, there’s no crazy show where the chef flips shrimp into his hat, but it’s cheap and it’s tasty enough. You get a decent amount of food for relatively cheap. Rice is 10NT a bowl so feasibly you can get a meal for like 90NT. Nothing here is particularly outstanding, but it’s good for the price and quantity; plus you get to watch them cook in front of you.

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.

japanese: 漁泊食堂 (yúbóshítáng)

date april 26, 2011

contact No. 5-5, Lishui St., Taipei/台北市麗水街5號之5/09.1108.5480

hours Tuesday-Sunday [lunch] 12:00-14:30/[dinner] 17:30-22:00 (closed Monday)

price anywhere from 150NT-500NT per person

rating ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Guting MRT (捷運古亭站)

Knowing that I love salty foods, last week my friend Tina tried taking me to this place that has really good braised tuna rice (鮪魚魯肉飯). Unfortunately we went on a Monday and they were closed. So this week, we tried again, on not a Monday.

漁泊食堂 is located on Lishui Street (麗水街) near Yongkang Street (永康街). The inside is quite  small. There is only a bar and it seats about 10 people max. We got lucky and grabbed the last three seats so we didn’t have to wait. I heard them say that they do not take reservations. If you want a seat you have to wait there.

The menu at 漁泊食堂 is located behind the bar. Be warned, the staff there does not like to have their pictures taken. You can take pictures, but if it looks like you’re going to be aiming in their direction, let them know first so they can duck out of the way. If not, they’ll say something about it. The menu is in all Chinese, but it sounded like one of the chefs speaks a little English (a foreign couple came in and he was trying to help them order), but it would be best with a Chinese speaker.

My friend and her boyfriend had been before, so I let them order.

So first thing they did was put this giant basket of fresh fish in front of us. They put the daily fish selection in this basket and let you chose what you want. The staff is very helpful. They asked if we were going to order fish individually or one to share, then they asked what texture/flavor we preferred. Based on our criteria (shared and “qq”) we ended up with the rock bass (石鱸魚) for 360NT.

I love bass for it’s flaky but “chewy” (“qq”) texture. This rock fish was grilled with just a touch of salt. I generally prefer my fish with minimal additives, so this was perfect for me. Fish is already so flavorful itself that I feel like it’s best enjoyed naturally.

I had never had braised tuna rice (鮪魚魯肉飯) before, only braised pork rice or lu wei fan (魯肉飯 or 滷肉飯). For 40NT a bowl, this was pretty great. It wasn’t as salty as you would expect lu rou fan to be, but none the less, it was tasty. It almost tasted like there was curry in it, but I’m not sure.

The yu bo mixed rice (named after the restaurant) is like tuna salad on rice. I happen to really like tuna salad and this was obviously better than regular old tuna salad. Like the braised tuna rice, this too was 40NT a bowl. I think next time I’ll get this.

I love apples and I love pumpkin, so when I saw the apple pumpkin side dish (蘋果南瓜) for 50NT, I was really excited. It’s pretty much mashed cooked pumpkin with bits of raw apple and topped with dried cranberries served cold. It tasted like they didn’t add anything to the pumpkin mash, which is good. The bits of apple provided a nice crunch and sweet/tartness.

Nick ordered the squid with fish eggs (魚卵花枝) for 60NT. In the last few years I’ve found a love for raw squid and I’ve always loved fish eggs. This cold dish is just slices of squid smothered in fish eggs. There was some kind of sauce in it that helped the fish eggs adhere to the squid, but I couldn’t make it out. Anyways, this was good.

Nick also ordered this, the horseradish octopus (山葵章魚) for 60NT. I’m generally not a huge fan of horseradish unless it’s in a bloody marry, but for some reason I found myself wanting to eat this. The horseradish is really pungent, so this dish has a kick to it. I liked it okay, wasn’t my favorite, nor would I have ordered this on my own, but none the less, it wasn’t bad. This dish was also cold.

Basically Nick was in charge of ordering, because he ordered the white shrimp (白蝦) 5pc. for 150NT as well. These shrimp were grilled with a touch of salt and then served. They were pretty meaty and tasty. Don’t forget to suck the head!

We decided to add a cup of soup to our meal, so we went with the gobo tempura turnip soup (牛旁天婦蘿湯) for 30NT a bowl. The tempura is not the crispy fried tempura you usually associate with the word tempura, but chinese style fish cake. I happen to love gobo, so I really liked the gobo tempura. I also love turnip soup. There was great flavor in this soup, good balance of salt with the turnip broth. Good for summer weather.

All in all, for a little over 1000NT total for three people, I left very satisfied. There are a lot of other items on the menu that sound good too that I’d like to try. While this place isn’t exactly cheap, it’s definitely a quality over quantity place. Pretty sure I’ll be back here in the near future to try some of the other dishes.