It’s incredibly hard to write about food now that so many people do it for sport. It’s like, what’s the point? So I wasn’t sure if I should write about my Nomura omakase lunch.
But then again, I’m no slouch when it comes to sushi. Cue raised eyebrow.
My resume includes relevant experience such as: 1) Watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi in an independent theater, first row, 2) Waking up super early to window-shop at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, 3) One year showing up to Tsukiji not knowing the entire place was still closed over the New Year break, 4) Dinner at Sushi Nakazawa in New York except it was on Sunday, when Nakazawa takes the night off, 5) Dining solo at the sushi bar in Narita Airport while waiting for connecting flights to/from Chicago between 2005-2007.
So as you can see, I am fully qualified for the position of writing about Nomura. And I’m excited for this opportunity to share my meal.
First, I have to mention that every single person sitting at the sushi bar, including me, was taking photos on their phone. And no kidding, one woman actually had a GoPro camera on a steady stick so she could video the sushi chefs. She also pulled out a Fujifilm Instax camera for Polaroid-style shots of her group. I simply have to assume she is a YouTube millionaire.
When I see people like this, or those with DSLR cameras, I feel unworthy taking photos with my HTC phone. In fact, I feel bad for my nigiri pieces because they’re not getting the fancy paparazzi treatment they would have gotten if they were served to the others. But then I just shrug it off and eat them up.
Anyway, the space is quiet and calming. The knife-work is swift and impressive. Everything is Japanese-y and exactly what you’d expect at a place with this reputation.
Now a few things to note:
You want to book seats at the sushi bar. Obviously. Because this will give you the best view to take your 200 photos.
The lunch sets are 1,200NT for 10 pieces, 1,500NT for 8 fancier pieces, or 2,000NT for the omakase (chef’s choice) which includes cooked stuff too. The tall Asahi is 180NT a bottle. They also have another type of Japanese beer, but I don’t know what. You get extras with your meal too (dessert, soup, endless pickles…)
Do not try to understand what type of fish you are eating, or where it is from. The chef is Japanese and speaks limited Mandarin. You are probably not Japanese and will hear limited Mandarin.
It’s pretty great value. My friend Fay and I both ordered the 1,500NT set. This means it was around US$60 each for a high-quality sushi lunch (including 10% service charge and the shared beer). In New York, a similar meal would cost around US$200. So no complaints from me.
If you enjoy sushi and it fits in your budget, it’s lovely once in a while to experience a place like Nomura. There are both cheaper and more expensive options in Taipei. Use Yelp Taiwan to find similar restaurants. Reviews are bilingual. Just stay away from Sushi Express.
In closing, if it’s your first time in Asia, definitely go to Nomura. Or if it’s your first time in Taipei and you love Japan, go to Nomura. Or if it’s your first time in Taipei but you’re sick of Taipei, go to Nomura. Or if you already live in Taipei and find this strangely persuasive, go to Nomura. Just make a reservation first and know that they’re closed on Mondays.