Looking back at our Youtube video, the last time I visited Ishikawa, a Japanese joint providing excellent value for money was already seven months ago. A couple of days ago, a foreign friend, R, came to Taiwan to visit Taipei Jingmei, and asked me, the local (supposedly) foodie, for recommendations for food in the Wenshan District.
I panicked: Italian cuisine, French cuisine, Spanish cuisine, Indian cuisine, and even African food. I thought real hard and the words scrolled like a marquee in my mind., maybe it was a flashback of a second stroke from thinking too hard or a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptom. I still couldn’t think of a “decent restaurant” that was really worth recommending and risk sabotaging my credibility.
The only “okay” restaurant I can think of within the Wen Shan area is Ishikawa Japanese eatery for its value for money. Since I’m stingy with my stomach’s room for food, I always value quality over quantity, so I haven’t revisited the place yet.
Luckily, R isn’t reluctant to eating exotic food besides wasabi. Sashimi, beef tripe or pork intestines are all within an acceptable range. Under time pressure, we decided to settle for Ishikawa Restaurant.
Ishikawa starts at 5:00 pm for dinner service. Last time, there was already a huge line-up 20 minutes before opening. We arrived at 4:40 and were lucky to get the last table; so I asked R to arrive early to get a table while I’m still doing physiotherapy at the hospital. We visit on a Wednesday this time, and there is no lineup.
Although none of the orders disappointed last time, there are still many items on the menu that I haven’t tried yet, so I opt for those.
食物 (The Food)：
豪華生魚片拼盤 （$440) / Deluxe Sushi Platter ($440)
Deluxe sashimi set includes salmon, amberjack, tuna, scallop, and shrimp
sashimi, all fish are thick cut, each piece is about 1-1.5 cm thick, with another 2 cucumber squid rolls on the right. A scoop of salmon roe lies beside its mother along with cucumber. The sashimi is served with 2 pieces of shiso leaves on a bed of radish. The dish seems a bit ordinary compared to the “Deluxe Chirashi” I ordered last time. If Ishikawa could garnish the dish the same way they did the Deluxe Chirashi by adding a sprinkle of gold leaf, it would give this item an instant upgrade.
山葵章魚 （$150) & 鱈魚肝沙拉 （$180） / Tako Wasabi ($150) & Cod Liver Salad ($180)
Tako Wasabi is served on a long plate. The wasabi taste is not as strong as the regular tako wasabi, even R find it acceptable.
櫻花蝦高麗菜 （$130）/Stir-fry Cabbage with Sakura Shrimp ($130)
Cabbage is stir-fried with sakura shrimp and retains its natural sweetness the addition of the sakura shrimps accentuates the flavors.
海苔青蔬 （$100）/ Green Veggies with Seaweed Paste ($100)
I’ve ordered this dish last time, so I know it’s made with my favorite broccoli. The broccoli is as fresh and crisp as last time, sprinkled with sesame and served with a sweet seaweed paste for dipping.
酥炸雞軟骨 （$110）/ FRIED CHICKEN CARTILAGE ($110)
The fried chicken cartilage is served in a generous portion. Each cartilage is also about 2-3 times larger than the ones served at a regular izakaya. The skin is deep-fried to golden perfection with the chicken cartilage inside remaining crisp and snaps when you bite into it! I’m a big fan of chicken skin & chicken bones, so I demolish the dish without sharing *guilty*
厚切豬排丼 （$160） / Thick-cut Katsudon（$160）
The “thick cut” katsu don is really “thick cut.” The pork cutlet is about 2 cm thick. Sandwiched between the white rice and the pork chops is a layer of eggs scrambled with a lot of onions to make it sweet. The eggs are still a bit raw and runny when served. The slimy texture allows it to be completely soaked into the rice and sweetens the whole bowl until the last bite. Pork chops are topped with a pinch of seaweed, adding a nice finishing touch.
Sadly, there is no “grilled shrimp” recommended by our server last time. The shrimp could be eaten whole with its shell. It was seasonal. Although it’s no longer shrimp season, the “fried chicken cartilage” makes up for it and provides me with a similar cannibal pleasure, I still get my fix.
Ishikawa Japanese Restaurant in Wenshan District, Taipei offers quick service and large serving portions.
It’s always a safe bet ” and a fast choice for backpackers who are on a budget or travelers on a tight schedule.