New Year’s Eve brought a great omakase experience in both the food and the atmosphere. With so much competition in the realm of high end Japanese restaurants in Taipei, what I find rare are those places that add in a bit of character to their restaurant. That’s exactly what we were given at Yoinn Japanese Cuisine.

There are three price points for their omakase $1880 NTD, $2380 NTD and $2880 NTD. We went with the middle $2380 option thinking this would be a good sampling of the foods offered here. What I didn’t expect was the amount of food we got. It was pretty much a feast. And that was even before the chef decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. With what he added to our meal, the price would have been well over what the top price had to offer. I mean, aged otoro, how’s that for an extra!

As for the service and décor, it was versatile and very attentive. Even with our ever changing courses, the servers kept our drinks filled and our area clear of used dishes. This while tending to other tables in this intimately lit restaurant. There are curtains for separators hanging from the ceiling. What’s really cool were the mobility of the curtains. They were made to be moved around according to the size of the party and table configuration. Pretty neat. Then there was the chef who was busy preparing dishes for everyone. However, he took the time to explain to me what fish we were being served. Though we had a language barrier, he was very patient.

After everyone left and only the people at the bar was left, Chef Isao opened up even more. We learned that he was the chef at several Japanese restaurants before opening up this one on his own. Those included a restaurant in Japan and one renowned one in Taipei – one of them acquiring a Michelin star. I forgot the names of them but after having his food, it was obvious we were dealing with an artist. One who doesn’t hold back sharing in his creation and gifts. We sat there through closing sampling his whiskies and scotches while having cured mullet roe “because it goes well with whiskey.” Yeah, this guy is a cool cat in my book. We will be coming back here.

Yoinn Japanese Cuisine (余韻日本料理)

Lane 366, Section 2, Bade Rd, 49號
Songshan District
Taipei City,, Taiwan
+886 2 2740 1088
www.facebook.com/yoinn168/

Verdict: Yes! For quality sushi and a full stomach I recommend coming here.

The Counter @Yoinn

The sushi counter can hold six people, enough to keep things personal with the chef. So of course, we sat at the bar tonight. And fortunately for us, this made it a night to remember.


Kagua Beer @Yoinn

Here they carry some interesting beers. They are Belgian beers brewed with Japanese ingredients. The one on the left has more of a Yuzu aroma while the one on the right has a more roasted malt flavor.

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Starting Soup @Yoinn

Starting off our meal was a slightly savory soup with thin cuts of fish cake. Not too much to fill us up, but enough to wet our appetites.

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Ankimo and Abalone @Yoinn

When I heard ankimo I shuddered with flashbacks of mediocre sushi places serving up monkfish liver. Here, the liver was only a part of the dish. We get a taste of the actual monkfish along with a cut of abalone (hidden in the back) topped with a crispy slice of lotus root.

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Crab Tofu @Yoinn

Here we have tofu made with mud crab and topped with its crab eggs. Very unique tastes within the creamy tofu and the eggs aren't as salty as you'd expect. It'll make you wonder if you could get another small piece.

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Hirame @Yoinn

Our first cut of fish was flounder topped with sea salt. A light and simple start to the seafood this restaurant has to offer.

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Suzuki @Yoinn

Two cuts of sea bass in a tangy citrus sauce brings us into the colorful flavors of our omakase.

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Local Fish @Yoinn

I wish I could get the actual name of this local Taiwanese fish. It was firm and had plenty of oils to taste. Topped with a little yuzu kosho, you can bet I was a fan.

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Sawara @Yoinn

I may not have this fish correctly named given we do have mackerel later and this wasn't as strong in flavor as I'd expect from a mackerel. But I believe this was the name when I asked what it was. Still good though.

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Amaebi @Yoinn

I haven't seen shrimp prepared this way and I really loved the effort done here. As part of the cleaning, a bit of the innards are used to season the shrimp along with the wasabi. Excellent taste and no need for a dip into the soy sauce. Man, I don't know if I can eat sweet shrimp if it's not prepared this way.

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Katsuo @Yoinn

The first time I've had bonito sashimi. This one was topped with a garlic puree and very plump. Tasty.

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Fried Bonito @Yoinn

Next up was the cooked version of bonito. Here it's served with a side of mullet fish roe and it's a great intermission from the courses of sushi.

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Hotate @Yoinn

The Hokkaido scallop was super fresh and its zesty sauce made this a delight to eat.

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Saba @Yoinn

The first nigiri was the Spanish mackerel. And if you look closely you'll see that the rice is brown. It's really white rice colored by the brown vinegar. We'll get to this later.

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Truffle Chawanmushi @Yoinn

This was surprisingly good. Unlike the ones I liked in the past, there's no chunks of seafood in this custard. The only additions were the chopped truffles and the diced crispy peas. That's all you really need to appreciate this dish.

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Otoro with Uni @Yoinn

Yes, you're allowed to give a jaw dropping #omg. You've gove fatty tuna belly wrapped around Hokkaido sea urchin on top of rice. What a marriage of a couple of my favorite things.

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Hokkaido Uni @Yoinn

Our chef takes us up a level by letting us know that this was a second kind of sea urchin from Hokkaido. He had two varieties in stock and this one was the larger of the two. Along with this brown vinegar rice, it was delicious!

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Quail @Yoinn

Twenty five day old quail cooked without draining its blood. I believe this gives it the color you see here. However, the main reason according to the chef was that the process prevents it from drying out and tasting like chicken. Job well done.

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Japanese Mitten Crab @Yoinn

De-shelled and topped with a bit of its crab miso, the Japanese mitten crab meat was fantastic.

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Seared Akagai @Yoinn

Seared giant clam brings us through the courses for shellfish.

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Hirame Engawa @Yoinn

Haven't had this for a while, the cut of meat around the fins of a flounder. Very unique texture and one it hits the torch, that sear really brings out that flavor. Now add in that unique rice and you have a winner.

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Chirashi @Yoinn

So many good things tonight. Then this comes along and sweeps us off our feets. A simple looking bowl of Hokkaido uni, ikura and negitoro on top of rice and seasoned tempura flakes. The tastes and textures here were phenomenal. Tempura flakes were a great touch to this bowl.

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Miso Soup @Yoinn

Completing our main courses was the miso soup, a hearty one. And by this time I was really full.

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Dessert @Yoinn

The sesame tofu with grapes and whiskey marinated raisin topped off my belly. Little did I know there was more to come.

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Sake @Yoinn

The chef gave us a treat, sake with the waters of Kyoto. The taste was clean and as he pointed out, the water was softer and gave it a smoother finish.

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Chef Isao @Yoinn

Here's the teacher and generous chef of the night, Chef Isao. The warm and friendly person that made this awesome meal possible, both because of the cuisine and the environment he creates.


Sushi Rice @Yoinn

As our chef explained it, they serve two types of sushi rice, both prepared in traditional ways. The brown one was just made with an aged vinegar which gives it its color. It's taste only compliments a certain variety of fish based on its oil. Tasted by itself, it's such a subtle difference, I understand why it's prepared by such an expert.


Aged Otoro @Yoinn

The chef treated us to something monumental, aged otoro. Look at the marbling!


Aged Otoro @Yoinn

Look at those threads of fat! And the aging process makes it taste a bit sweeter. It's not profoundly different. You'll barely catch the difference as this melts in your mouth. Oh so good and I had almost denied myself a helping because I was so full.

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NYE Dinner Party @Yoinn

We were lucky to be part of the New Year's Eve dinner party. The chef let us break into his whiskey collection along with some extra eats to go along with the spirits. Happy 2017 Team Yoinn and our neighboring eaters!


The OxPosted December 31, 2016 By the hungry ox


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