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Mitsui is a reknown high-class Japanese Restaurant chain with many locations around Taipei. Each location has a bit of its own flair. The Ming Shui Mitsui seems like a Japanese Supermarket-Restaurant hybrid. They sport a sushi bar on the first floor and have a normal grouped seating restaurant on the second. The freshness of their ingredients are on display on the first floor sushi bar area. The upstairs area serves course meals that are a very good value considering the amount and quality of the food with resect to its price. If you come during lunch, you can enjoy a nine course meal for only 1200 NT. Of course, if you rather eat better items you can order up. Their most expensive course meal is priced at 3200 NT. However, you can even grab their bento boxes for around 450 NT, there is something for everybody here at Ming Shui Mitsui.
Business Hours: 11:30-14:30, 17:30-22:30
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range: $$$$
Take out: yes
Good for kids: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor: 4.5 out of 5
Service: 3.5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Side Note: Go for straight nigiri or sashimi at bartop at this location.
At the outset I need to mention that I rated this restaurant a 4 in food quality, but it doesn't mean that they really are a 4 and comparable to other 4 level Japanese restaurants I rated. Mitsui is on another level. However, since I did not get the 3200 NT set meal and rather low balled with the 1200 NT set, that course meal I felt was only a 4 and fell short of my expectations and acclaim that may have originated with the high ticket price set. With that said, everything else about the restaurant was satisfactory. Their decor was very classy and austere. The lighting was dim and the coveted rays were focused on the table top to display the food in a good light. However, their service was not that great, but only mediocre. They did not dote on us as I would expect an expensive restaurant should, and if we lacked or needed anything we really needed to put in effort into flagging an available waiter down. Maybe they were understaffed or maybe it was just one of those days. My hunch is that it was because we ate until 4pm and they were supposed to go on break around 3 pm. In any case, the service on this trip was not worthy of a 4 or above. I think the ill service was directed toward me however because there was this instance where they refilled everyone's cup of tea at the table except for mine. Also, my order of sake took an inordinate amount of time to arrive even after I reminded the staff twice. But enough of my whining...on to the meal:
The next dish was some sort of fried fish. This tender morsel is accentuated by a drizzle of lime. The skin is slightly crispy and only coated with a bit of salt. It tastes like how you would imagine most fried fish to taste except that the texture is borderline mushy. At this point of the meal you begin to start feeling a little full.
All in all, this is a great place to enjoy creative Japanese set meals. There are different prices to cater to a broad range of consumers. Even those of humble means can muster enough change to splurge on their low ball 1200 NT set meal. However, you get what you pay for. The 1200 NT is impressive in that you get so much for what you pay for, but there is a lack of wow factor in each dish that probably may only be evoked by rare and costly michelin star restaurants like L'atelier. Once I get enough hunnids, i'll try out the 3200 NT set. Hopefully, that will have enough whiz bang to pump the food quality rating up to 5. Unfortunately, my impression of each category from this visit is what it is.