Nomura Sushi 野村壽司
Add: No. 34, Alley 78, Anhe Rd. Section 1, Taipei 台北市安和路一段78巷34號
Tel: (02) 2755 6587
Hours: 12-2pm, 6-9:pm (closed on Monday)
Price: [lunch] 1200 NTD/set [dinner] 2500~3300+ NTD/set
Visited: Oct 2011
2013 update: Nomura Yuji has left and reopened elsewhere.
Behind the Ren Ai circle and very close to the stylish a poet, Nomura Sushi quietly sits. Opened just a month ago, this 12-seat sushi bar is headed up by Nomura Yuji 野村裕二, a young but experienced sushi chef who has been in the trade for over 15 years. I’m not too familiar with the dining scene in Taipei, but apparently Nomura-san has quite a loyal following from his days at the wildly popular “No Sushi 野壽司”. Well then, let’s take a look at he’s got.
A half-opened wooden gate beckons passerby, but as Nomura Sushi is almost always fully booked, you won’t have much luck as a walk-in guest. Reservations highly recommended.
Upon entering, we were seated at a plain, spotlessly clean sushi bar built from pristine wood. Warm lighting, Ono Lisa in the air, hot tea, warm towels…instant good feeling.
While dinner at Nomura costs at least 2500 NTD (and up to 3300+ NTD depending on what you order), lunch is an excellent deal at only 1200 NTD. The set started with an appetizer of grated daikon with dried baby fish.
Loved the marinated daikon. Such clean flavor.
Nomura-san serves Edomae sushi (江戶前壽司), which, if simply put, is characterized by the use of pre-seasoned fish. Back in the days, sushi were sold on streets by stands when there were no refrigerators, and in order to achieve a longer shelf life, the fish were simmered in broth, immersed in soy sauce, or cured with salt and vinegar. For more details, click here.
The royal procession of Edomae sushi commenced with kinmedai 金目鯛 (golden eye seabream). I’ve only had it 炙り(aburi, or partially grilled), and was delighted to find its clean, sweet taste when left unadorned with the exception of a brushstroke of soy sauce.
Kohada 小肌 (a type of herring) made quite an impression. The fish itself was fairly strong with a piquant smack of vinegar, but was nicely balanced by a sprinkle of yuzu peel.
Next up, a piece of hirame 比目魚 (fluke/summer flounder).
Otoro 大トロ (fatty tuna), the all-time crowd-pleaser, needs no further introduction. I did find it interesting that Nomura-san made careful incisions on the fish, presumably to let the soy sauce really sink in – something I had not seen before.
Then, a sweet and sticky shiroebi 白蝦 (white shrimp) topped with shiso leaf.
Tekkamaki 鉄火巻き (tuna roll), not my usual favorite.
Following that, a big and crunchy piece of aoyagi 青柳 (round clam) made a satisfying mouthful.
I don’t remember much about the akamutsu 赤むつ (deep sea grouper) other than its very soft flesh.
What blew me away, surprisingly, was a tiny bowl of warm sushi rice topped with fresh ikura いくら. I’m used to eating the marinated, overly salty kind, and was quite enamored with this glistening heap of fresh salmon roe, each a little pop of flavor burst.
Uni 海胆 (sea urchin), generously piled up in a 軍艦巻き (gunkanmaki). No need to say more.
Kappamaki カッパ巻き (cucumber roll) with thin slices of cucumber, a bit of shiso and unknown white fish.
An extra mixed fish gunkanmaki topped with fresh scallions and sliced ginger, courtesy of Nomura-san.
Lastly, a meticulously prepared anago 穴子 (conger eel). Tender, fluffy.
A bowl of miso soup, naturally sweet from thoroughly cooked shrimps.
The meal ended with a simple housemade bean curd with brown sugar.
A few more words on Nomura-san. He may seem quiet at first, but if you engage him, he will tell you everything he can about what you are eating. The catch – he can’t communicate much in Chinese and English, so this will only work for those who can speak Japanese.
Nomura-san showed us bottles of artisanal soy sauce his team procured from 小豆島 (Shodoshima), just one of the many examples of how he attempts to carefully select everything used in the restaurant. If you have seen episodes of どっちの料理ショー (one of my all time favorite TV shows), it won’t be difficult for you to conjure up images of obsessed men roaming the globe in order to find the single most premium ingredient for a particular dish.
Nomura-san also showed us some ingredients he will use for dinner. Given that dinner sets are way pricier than lunch sets, I’m guessing he saves the best stuff till after dark. I will have to find out on another trip to Taipei.
Though I did not leave Nomura Sushi in the same blissful state as I left Sushi Oyama, I reminded myself that a meal there would’ve costed at least 800 RMB (3600 NTD), whereas our lunch at Nomura was only 1200 NTD. Value for money? Absolutely.