Oct 13, 2011

Round Sushi 丸壽司


Round Sushi is a chain Kaiten Sushi restaurant at the Breeze Center that rivals Hi Sushi in quality and expedient Japanese cuisine. Their prices vary just like Hi Sushi, and the quality of the items reflect the reasonable hike in price. The decor is simple and bright.  Expect to spend at least 500 NT per person to have a full experience at this place. They more types of miso soups here, which is one reason to visit here over Hi Sushi. In terms of sashimi quality, they are quite similar. Both restaurants are more satisfying than Sushi Express.

Address:  台北市大安區忠孝東路四段219號
                 No. 219, Section 4, Zhōngxiào East Road, Daan District
Phone #: 02-6639-6999 (Breeze Center #)
Business Hours: 11:30-22:30
Website: N/A
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range:   $$$
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  3.5 out of 5
Service: 2.5 out of 5
Overall: 3.3 out of 5
Recommendation: Come for Uni and Miso Soups, but beware of service.

The interior of Round Sushi is very simple It has these faux paper latern light fixtures hanging all around the rotating sushi tracks. They use a wood theme that gives the place an old school japanese feel. All the sushi chefs are busy behind the counters taking up all the orders, while the servers buzz around the area busting tables, seating customers, and taking orders. The place seems quite small and the size of the staff seem to fit the amount of customers, but somehow they don't have a good flow going. They don't have a set host to greet and seat incoming patrons readily, and they dont have servers ready to take your order. It seems like they are always busy with something and you have to flag them down to get what you want. It was so mindblowing that they even forgot my order once. I don't think their staff to customer ratio is any worse than Sushi Express or Hi sushi, yet somehow they manage to drop the ball on service 2 out of the 2 times I've dined here. If it weren't for their clam miso soup and shrimp head miso soup paired with their slightly better Uni...I don't think i'd like to dine here again. This trip I got items similar to my experience at Hi Sushi: Shrimp Head Miso Soup, Tuna Nigiri, Salmon Nigiri, Ama Ebi, Ika topped with Cheese and caviar, Salmon Roe, and Uni.
This is a major item that sets this kaiten sushi restaurant with others. Most places may have miso soup, but this place offer miso soup paired with shrimp heads, fish fillets, or clams. The addition of these items compliment the miso by adding their unique essence to the slightly sweet yet savory miso soup. I recommend getting a bowl of soup to help lubricate your throat as you down many potentially dry and sticky lumps of nigiri.
The Tuna they have here is very deep colored and taste kind of like the ones at Hi Sushi. I still can't really tell the difference in quality for this type of nigiri. The taste is very subtle that I can't pick it up that well. I usually just rely of the texture to judge if it is a good piece and this one is not chewy like the ones they serve at Sushi Express. Round Sushi gives fresher slices that have a bite to it, but still yield quite easily to your teeth.
The salmon here looks pretty, but in comparison...I think the ones I had at Hi Sushi were more marbled with fat and thus even more oily and flavorful than this one. The ratio of marbling to lean meat of their salmon nigiri here are generally lower than what I remembered from Hi Sushi. However, Salmon is still my favorite nigiri so I still lapped it up quite easily after dousing it in my Wasabi-Soy Sauce.
 Next up, The Ama Ebi. I got their bottom tier ama ebi, which is only 80 NT. They serve a chunkier version for 180 NT, but I thought i'd just settle for this level. It was not as good as the chunkier one should have been, so I can't complain. It had the taste of Amaebi, it was just that there wasn't a big chunk to have a satisfying bite. It lacked that texture you get from an abundance of an item in your mouth.
 This was quite a surprising item, which I can only describe as cheesy Ika (squid). It is your common Ika Nigiri that is first topped with a slice of cheese then seared nicely. Then, it is topped with their fish egg mayonnaise paste. The Hokkaido type cheese pairs well with the ika nigiri and the sauce adds an additional element of fishiness to it. I have not had this before and I was quite surprised to enjoy it. I usually like straight up nigiris and not combo dishes, but I would actually come here and order this again. This is another item that is unique to Round Sushi that could sway me to visit here instead depending on my cravings.
Lasty, the Uni and the Salmon Roe. The salmon roe here costs 100 NT just like at Hi Sushi, but there is noticably more salmon roe stuffed in here. They don't place a cucumber to fill space. However their roe is not as round and pretty as the ones at Hi Sushi, which makes me believe that the quality of their salmon roe might be a little lower. On the other hand, the Uni here is better than the one at Hi Sushi with a moderate price of 180 NT. These Uni are from Canada, but for those who want better quality...try the Uni hand rolls which are 1 for 180 NT. However, I've seen people eat the hand roll and the Uni does look fresher and butterier, but you need to throw some more change down for that. I was quite satisfied with both these items, but on a mental note If I want salmon roe, I probably should go to Hi Sushi.
Here's a picture of the price settings for a quick referece of all the items that you can get here. You can also notice that the place setting is not as cool as Hi Sushi. You do not have 3 teas to choose from, and their Wasabi here seems to be more chemical (at least to my amatuer eyes it is). I also think the service here pales in comparison to Hi Sushi. If I were you I would rather go to Hi Sushi than dine here. Unless you want one of their miso soups or Uni, or specialty nigiri (like their cheese ika), you should really just go to Hi Sushi. Hi Sushi has most of the items available here, and also sport an extensive menu of barbecue items as well (like grilled yellowtail collar or seared beef). Yet, Round Sushi is still not a bad place to have a quick sushi fix.

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