三本味 Japanese Restaurant

Last night I had dinner at 三本味, a Japanese restaurant that is located between MRT Sun Yet-Sen Memorial Hall station and Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station (I’m very thankful to be living so close to Dunhua station.. there are so many good eats in the area!). 三本味 is in a small alleyway, off of the main streets, and if it wasn’t for Meimei, I would never even think about venturing in here. She loves to read up on food blogs and searching for new places to go on food adventures, so going out to eat with her is always fun!

On our way to 三本味 we also came across quite a few hidden gems. The area nearby is full of Japanese restaurants. I haven’t had sushi or been to an izakaya in a while, but I know where to look now!

Now for some brief introduction of 三本味 before I talk about the food: this place is found through word of mouth or through online searches because of its location. However, also because of its location, rent is probably cheaper and therefore it’s not as pricey as most places in 東區 (this area of Taipei, known for its expensive things because rent is so high). This is also a family-run business and what really brings customers back time and time again is the exceptionally friendly service. They really love what they do, and that makes a big difference between good and GREAT. Oh right, I should also mention that if you’re thinking of paying this place a visit to make a reservation! It can get quite packed. I wasn’t able to make a reservation because I called in 3 days ahead, but they put me down on a special list because I called ahead, so we didn’t wait too long for a seat (~10 minutes). The place isn’t big and can fit about 30 people at one time. The spacing between tables is perfect in that it does not feel overly crowded, and there is a lot of room to move around comfortably. When we were seated, the owner introduced himself to the customers and listed off the secret menu items for the day. He is a really warm and welcoming person, and very approachable. He came by our table a couple of times to ask how we were doing, and personally seared the sushi for us.

This one was on the secret menu – seared sea bream nigiri sushi (4/5):

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I love seared sushi, and I’ve never had seared sea bream before so it was interesting. The texture was a bit on the chewy side, but it was very flavourful and doesn’t need soy sauce for extra flavouring.

Next is another secret menu item – beef fried rice (4/5):

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This dish was big, and I don’t recommend it if you don’t have four people or if you’re planning to try out more dishes (because it’s filling!) The rice was delicious though, and the rice that they use here is a high quality rice.

Next up, the best dish at this restaurant – Seared salmon and cheese nigiri (5/5):

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The owner personally seared this in front of us. First, he seared the salmon, then he placed a slice of cheese on top and seared the cheese until it bubbled. It was absolute umami. To top it off, it was sprinkled with rose salt. Yum! I must have this again! This was Meimei’s favourite dish of the night. The fish that they use in this restaurant are all very fresh as well.

Next up, the assorted sashimi (4/5):

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This sashimi platter originally came with hamachi, but as none of us liked hamachi, we asked them to switch it. I’m not exactly sure what fish it was switched for, but it was good. Fresh fish (including  on a huge bowl of ice to make sure it stays fresh. Delicious and also very pleasing to look it. I like this restaurant’s attention to details.

The steak dish (3.5/5):

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The steak was stir-fried with onions, mushrooms, and yellow and red bell peppers. The meat was not too tough, and had just the right amount of chewiness to it.

Chicken wings topped with a fish roe dressing (3/5):

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I usually don’t enjoy eating wings because I don’t like to get my hands dirty, but I’ve never had fish roe dressing with wings before so we decided to give them a try. Yep, they made my hands dirty, but they were pretty tasty! The fish roe/mayo dressing wasn’t my favourite though (I think the wing itself was marinated well) as I found it to be a bit too heavy.

And our last dish of the day was grilled mackerel (5/5):

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This fish was absolutely amazing!! It was one of the best fish I have ever had. The meat was soft, and the fat under the skin melted into the oil and flavoured the meat deliciously.

I plan to take grandma to this restaurant next time. She loves Japanese food as well, and I think she’ll enjoy this place just as much as I did. I have a feeling that the fish will be her favourite dish. :)

Suika

Suika means “watermelon” in Japanese. Suika is also the name of a Japanese restaurant located on West Broadway. It is an izakaya, like Guu. For lunch, Suika serve lunch sets; for dinner, they serve small plates. I heard that it’s not exactly a place you’ll get full from if you go for dinner.

Anyway, Mochi, Milktea, JL, and I, along with a few friends, decided to go to Suika for lunch one day.

Suika – Japanese Snack Bar

We arrived at 1pm for lunch and the place was packed. Good thing we made a reservation so we were seated almost right away. It was quite spacious inside, and everything was made out of wood: tables, floor, chairs; it gave the place a nice and rustic look. I especially liked their ceiling lights!

Ceiling lights at Suika made from beer bottles

Mochi was not too interested in their lunch menu, and so he asked the friendly waitress whether he can order from the dinner menu. She replied that it was perfectly fine.

I ordered the Double Tonkatsu Set from the lunch menu:

Double Tonkatsu Set – $12.80
5/5

I loved the presentation of this set. The pork loin cutlet was coated in panko (bread crumbs) and deep fried to perfection. It came with two different dipping sauces, a bowl of rice, miso soup, a bowl with sesame seeds, some kimchi, and some grated radish. MilkTea told me that the proper way to eat tonkatsu was to first mash up the sesame seeds, then pour one of the sauces into the bowl (soy sauce). The tonkatsu was then ready to be eaten by dipping them into the two sauces, and the grated radish was to help get rid of the oily taste.

The tonkatsu was crispy on the outside, and extremely flavourful. The miso soup was very good as well, and it had a few pieces of carrot and radish inside.

Deluxe “Suika” Box – $10
3/5

This box came with nine different kinds of appetizers. Some tasted better than others. I really enjoyed the tofu cup and the chicken cup. Others were a bit plain, such as the bread cup and the tomato cup. It was visually appealing though!

Complimentary Salad

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that Suika gave us a huge bowl of salad while we were waiting for our meal to arrive. It was a very simple salad, with lettuce and vinaigrette, but it was very nice of them to do that! :) It made the entire experience that much better.

Sashimi “Shake” Salad – $7.80
5/5

JL’s sashimi “shake” salad. We were wondering why it was called a shake salad until our server brought it over. The salad came in a jar. Basically, the sashimi, vegetables, and sauces are all put into a glass jar and then shaken up, hence the name “shake” salad. The greens and sashimi tasted fresh, and I especially enjoyed the tobico.

Sable fish?
3/5

This was on their special menu for lunch. I think it was sable fish. It was quite a small piece, and in terms of taste it was not bad. I just didn’t like having to pick the tiny bones out, which is why I tend to stick to cod and salmon sashimi.

Tuna Tataki – $6
5/5

Mmm.. Tuna tataki! It was drizzled with homemade chili oil, complete with scallions and sliced onions.

Negitoro Battera – $9.80
4/5

This pressed sushi was topped with tuna belly and avocado, and drizzled with a seaweed sauce. MilkTea really enjoyed this sushi. I thought it tasted good as well, and everything melted in my mouth. However, for almost the same price, I still preferred Miku’s aburi sushi.

The Good:
– Friendly staff
– Great service
– Creative food

The Bad:
– Parking was hard to find
– Have to order a lot to get full for dinner
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