Tag Archives: japanese

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.

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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.

japanese/sushi: tsukiji market (築地市場)

date february 09, 2011
contact No. 34-4, Yong Kang St., Taipei/02.2396.8088/台北市永康街34-4號
hours 7 days a week [lunch] 12:00-14:30 [dinner] 17:00-22:00 (last call at 21:00)
price depends. anywhere between 300-1500+
rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 hearts out of 5)
nearest mrt MRT Dongmen (捷運東門站) Exit 5

For my induction into the quarter century landmark, my friend and I decided to celebrate with our favorite: sushi. I never realized how many restaurants there are on Yong Kang Street (永康街), but Stephanie said there were a lot of sushi places that looked pretty good, so we decided to try one. After some random walking, we saw Tsukiji Market (築地市場), named after the famous fish market in Tokyo.

Tsukiji Market is a small two story restaurant. The first floor is the sushi bar which seats about 10. We were asked if we wanted to sit at the bar or upstairs. We took a look at the upstairs; it’s pretty small, maybe seats 15 people total with only a few tables. We opted to sit at the bar because we like to watch the chefs in action.

The menu is hand written and only in Chinese, so be warned non-Chinese readers. The menu is split into sections: sashimi, cold appetizers, hot appetizers, fried foods, chirashi bowls (180-880NT), hot bowls (160-380NT), and soups. The waitress pointed out that they do not typically offer nigiri sushi or rolls, only sashimi. However, she said if you wanted nigiri or rolls, you could tell the sushi chef and he would do his best to accommodate you. The waitress was very nice and helped us pick some things out.

We both love sashimi, so we had to get some. We opted for the Tsukiji daily sashimi plate (築地本日刺身) for 580NT. The plate comes with types of fish, two pieces each. I’m not exactly sure what types of fish some of this was, but it was all fresh and delicious. I don’t like wasabi, but I do appreciate fresh wasabi and that is what they served.

While sitting at the bar, we saw the chefs making a salad that looked delicious. We asked the server what it was and it just so happened to be the combination seafood salad (綜合海鮮沙拉) for 280NT. We decided to get it and it was a very good decision. In terms of seafood there was shrimp, octopus, crab meat, and fish eggs. There were a lot of vegetables, too: okra, broccoli, baby corn, cherry tomatoes, seaweed, cucumbers, and red onions. All of this was served on a bed of iceberg lettuce and topped off with a japanese vinaigrette. This salad was delicious! Everything tasted fresh, the vegetables were cooked perfectly, and the dressing was nice and tasty. Definitely recommend this.

Stephanie and I really love cod roe and potatoes, so when the waitress recommended the cod roe baked potatoes (明太子烤洋芋) for 180NT, we had to get it. At first we thought they forgot our order since it took forever to get to us, but I think they might have just been waiting for us to finish other things so that we’d have space on our portion of the bar. It was well worth the wait. It was amazing. The potato slices were pretty thin and baked just so that the edges were crisp, but the center soft. The baked cod roe on top was delicious. We savored every last bite.

The couple next to us ordered the chicken karage (和風炸雞) for 160NT and it looked pretty tasty, so we decided to get an order. The outside was deliciously crispy and the chicken inside was juicy and tender. The chicken was marinated and had a slight sweetness to it that was perfect.

At the last minute, right before last call, Stephanie decided to order the beef carpaccio (生牛肉佐碰醋) for 260NT. Like everything else, this was pretty tasty. Unlike traditional carpaccio, the vinegar was separate from the beef. Everything was good. Get a little bit of everything for the perfect bite.

Stephanie asked if they did anything for birthdays and one of the chef’s asked if I needed him to sing happy birthday to me. He was relieved when I said no, something about he had to sing it yesterday. Either way, at that point it did not sound like they did anything. Then suddenly, sushi appeared in front of me. I’m not sure exactly what kind of fish the white was, but the other was maguro. Either way, both was delicious, lightly torched to bring out the fats. Usually birthday freebies are desserts, and while I am a dessert whore, free sushi is way better.

Basically, I love this place. We started talking with the workers as they were cleaning up, and they were all very nice. I noticed that they do take reservations, so I recommend them if you want to sit at the bar. We went on a Wednesday night and the bar was full most of the night. Really, for the price, you definitely get the quality. The portions and quality of what you get for the price is well worth it. They also have a lot of sake and a few bottled beers. I will definitely be back.

japanese/curry: magic curry (魔法咖哩)

date January 17, 2011

contact B1, No. 38, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao West Road, Taipei City/台北市忠孝西路一段38號B1/02.2388.6298

hours 7 days a week 11:00-22:00

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

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

nearest mrt Taipei Main Station MRT (台北車站捷運站)

I love all curry: Japanese curry, Thai Curry, Indian Curry, ect. If it’s curry I like it. I’ve been to two of Magic Curry’s locations (one at Taipei Main Station and one at Ximen MRT) and food wise, it’s the same. The one at Taipei Main Station is out of the M6 exit, located right beneath the Caesar Park Hotel.

The location at main station has quite a bit of seating. At peak dinner hours, though, expect a wait. The longest I’ve had to wait was maybe 20 minutes for a table for four around 19:00.

The menu is mostly curry, so if you don’t like curry, don’t go. They have maybe a few items that are curryless, but really why would you go to a place called Magic Curry if you didn’t like curry. Every time I go I end up with the garlic pork curry (蒜味豬肉咖哩) for 190NT (240NT for a set meal).

This last time I decided to add cheese for an added 10NT. My friend Stephanie got the same thing but added a hot springs egg (溫泉蛋) for 25NT (note that the egg is raw and put into the curry to cook). They give you the option for how spicy you want it. I got “big spicy” (大辣) this last time because the medium spicy (中辣) was not spicy at all to me the times before. “Big spicy” was perfect for me, spicy enough for me to feel the heat, but not so spicy that my lips or tongue was numb. Note that I LOVE spicy foods. For people who are sensitive to spice, go small spicy (小辣). I like the flavor of the garlic curry. It has a very rich curry flavor; it is also thick which I like. They put an ample amount of cheese on my curry which was awesome because I love cheese. The pork was really tender too.

Rice comes with all of the curry dishes. You can request more rice and more of the pink pickled radish on top of the rice free of charge. The most I’ve seen someone eat was three plates of rice. So for those with a big appetite, or if you just really like rice, you can eat as much as you want here.

Just for reference, this is the garlic pork curry with hot springs egg.

Our friend Josh is a vegetarian so he got the vegetable curry set meal (健康素菜咖哩) for 230NT (a la carte 180NT). I didn’t try any, but he said it was good, and it looked good. Set meals come with a soup, salad, drink, and dessert. I have gotten set meals before. Everything is pretty standard. Although, this time Josh got an apple cinnamon ice cream that was delicious! It tasted like apple pie goodness.

Price-wise it’s okay. Not really expensive, but not cheap either. Stephanie was disappointed that her curry was not as hot as it should have been (probably from the raw egg). Overall, I like this place. It’s consistent and tasty. Plus, with multiple locations, it’s pretty convenient.

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.