Category Archives: jiannan (劍南)

japanese: shintori (新都里-直一)

date November 16, 2010

contact No. 123-3, Le Qun 3rd Road, Dazhi, Taipei/台北市大直樂群三路123-3號/02.2628.2638

hours Monday-Thursday 11:45-24:00/ Friday-Sunday 11:45-02:00

price 1000NT-3000NT (excluding drinks)

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

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

nearest MRT Jiannan MRT (劍南捷運站)

So, I had originally meant to go to Shintori 3 (Shadow), but ended up at Shintori 1. Apparently these two locations are right next to each other and we miscalculated.

Upon entering Shintori 1 we were greeted by the hostess and sat. I had made reservations a few hours before hand, and although it looked rather empty when we got there, it was good thing I had. The lighting is pretty dark, and each table is almost like spotlighted.

The menu offers set menus and al la carte options. Shintori has 3 set menus, 1500NT, 2000NT, and 2500NT. We decided to get the Chef Special Set-Course for 2000NT and the Kyomizu Set-Course for2500NT.

The Kyomizu set came with 7 starters. From left to right, salmon roe with lily root, Japanese sweet potato with fig plum jam, angler’s liver, bean curd sheet with sea urchin, mushrooms with sesame sauce, smoked salmon wrapped in sliced cucumber and salt-grilled ginkgo nuts. Overall, the smoked salmon wrapped in cucumber was my favorite. I love the crunch of the cucumber against the smoked salmon. There was something really refreshing and just delicious about it. The mushrooms in sesame sauce was pretty good. I liked the sesame sauce. The weirdest was the salt-grilled ginkgo nuts. I’ve never had grilled ginkgo nuts before. They’re pretty meaty, but they had a bitter taste that I wasn’t fond of.

The starters for the Chef’s Special set were similar to those in the previous set. It too had the smoked salmon cucumber thing, gingko nuts, and mushrooms in sesame sauce. Different was eel sushi, prawn with pomelo sauce, and crab. The crab was like a block of imitation crab or something. It was kind of weird. The eel sushi was pretty good, but I always love unagi. The prawn wasn’t anything particularly special. It was good, but it was just some meaty shrimp.

Second course was the raw dish. The Kyomizu set came with two raw dishes. This was the first. I’m not sure what kind of fish this was and I’m not quite sure how I was supposed to eat it. The waiter was a mumbler, so I think he said we were supposed to wrap a little of all that crap into a piece of fish and dip it in the sauce. However we were supposed to eat it, it was pretty good. Nothing too amazing, but good nonetheless.

The biggest difference in the raw dishes between the two sets was that the Kyomizu came with toro. I love toro (fatty tuna) and this was delicious. All of the fish was fresh and delicious. Other than the toro, I especially loved the squid.

I have never been served sashimi in a wooden box, but that is how the raw dish for the Chef’s Special set came. Unlike the Kyomizu set there was no toro, or weird fish wrap thing. There was however salmon, which is my favorite fish. Like the other raw dish, the fish was all fresh and delicious.

Third was the grilled dish. The Kyomizu grilled dish was grilled swordfish, scallop, and king oyster mushroom. I don’t usually like swordfish; it’s too tough generally. This swordfish was great. Tender, juicy, and had great flavor. Whatever that sauce was it was tasty: a little sweet, a little tangy. The scallop, however, was overcooked.

The Chef’s Special grilled dish was a salt-grilled king crab leg. This was good, but nothing special. We were having issues getting the meat out, but when we did it was tasty.

After were the steamed dishes. The Kyomizu steamed dish was steamed japanese turnip with prawns, japanese taro, and bean curd sheet. This was good. My favorite part about it was the turnip. It had sucked up all the juices and had great flavor. It tasted kind of like a benito fish stock, which I love. The prawns were alright, nothing special.

The Chef’s Special steamed dish was our least favorite thing of the night. The steamed tilefish with yam paste had zero texture. It just tasted like a giant bowl of bland mush. The yam had no flavor, and the fish was buried under the yam making the entire dish bland.

Of the night, the best dishes were probably the chef’s special dish. The Kyomizu chef’s special was grilled steak with miso sauce in pu-leaf on hot stone. This was pretty good. We were told to wait about 5 minutes before eating the beef as it was still cooking on the hot stone. The beef was really tender, and the marinade was great. The miso flavor was subtle, just enough.

The Chef’s Special chef’s special was one of the best things of the night: steak on stove, mushroom, and green bell pepper. It was fun to grill the meat on the cute little grill. About 3-5 minutes for each piece made a delicious block of beef. The seasoning was simple, salt and pepper, but the meat was really juicy and tender. I guess it depends on how you cook it, but our waiter said to wait until we saw the sides start to bubble and we did, and it turned out great.

Finally it was time for the main course. I think the main course was just some form of carbs. The Kyomizu main course was steamed rice with king crab and matsutake tobin soup. The rice was okay. The crab and rice was lacking salt; it tasted a little bland. I had never been served soup in a tea pot before, but this soup was pretty good. It was more of a broth, but either way it had a great matsutake flavor that wasn’t too overpowering, and a good balance of salt.

The Chef’s Special main course  was inaniwa udon with japanese pomelo soup. This dish was good, but not special. The noodles did have a great texture and tasted fresh. The broth was not memorable.

The main course was the last savory dish of both meals. Our waiter came over and mumbled something about coffee blah blah extra blah blah. Since we both love coffee we said sure, we’re already paying for the dinner, let’s add coffee. What I did not expect was what came out.

I had never been served coffee that was on fire before, but this coffee was delicious. It had a subtle hint of orange, which kind of made it taste like chocolate covered oranges even though it wasn’t sweet.

Dessert was listed as seasonal fruit and matcha jelly with red bean. When I saw matcha jelly I was unimpressed, but when it came out, I was happily surprised. What was advertised as jelly was more of a creme brulee. It was delicious. It had a strong matcha taste, with just the right balance of sugar, while still having a little bitterness from the tea. It was nice and creamy as well, way better than jelly. The fruit was good, it was fruit.

Overall, I think we were satisfied enough with our meal, however I had higher expectations. While there were some highs, there were also lows, and a lot that just fell in the middle. For the price I expected more.

I would come back, but maybe order a la carte.