Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - Page 15 News List

RESTAURANTS :DSR (大車輪火車壽司)

By David Chen

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Remember the first time you tried Sushi Express? Grabbing your food from the revolving conveyor belt was half the amusement, if not most, given the forgettable food.

But at Dai Sya Rinn (大車輪) in Ximending, revolving sushi is fun all over again. Instead of a conveyor belt, the dishes make the rounds on a toy freight train that chugs along at a relaxing pace. There’s plenty of time to both choose a dish and admire the train.

The decor and atmosphere is full of Japanese rustic charm (lots of wood) with Taiwanese warmth (friendly waiters). Diners eat at a bar that takes up most of the room and seats around 40 people total. Japanese paper lanterns are strewn all over the place, almost haphazardly, and knick-knacks seem to hang everywhere.

Even when crowded, it feels cozy. The wait staff, who wear robes and hats, move like clockwork: they’re constantly keeping busy — washing, chopping, clearing plates — but always seem to be right there when you need them. The nakashi music playing on the stereo is dated but soulful. It feels like a good place to share sake (NT$120) or a beer (NT$85 for Taiwan Beer, NT$110 for Kirin) with a friend.

The food isn’t mind-blowing or imaginative, but fairly priced and certainly a few steps above Sushi Express. The only thing that gives Dai Sya Rinn away as a chain restaurant is a poster menu with stock photos; choices include fried tempura (星鰻天婦羅, NT$200), Tokyo-style sirloin (沙朗東京燒, NT$280) and Matsusaka pork (松板豬肉和風燒, NT$280).

There are also paper banners on the walls listing other items, but it’s easiest to pick off the cart. The prices are color-coded: dishes with green flags are NT$30, NT$45 for yellow, NT$70 for red and NT$80 for white. Be aware that the dishes wrapped in cellophane are just display samples — order those through the waiter.

DSR (大車輪火車壽司)

Address: 53 Emei St, Taipei City (台北市峨嵋街53號)

Telephone: (02) 2371-2701 Open: 11am to 9:30pm

Average meal: NT$250 to NT$350 per person

Details: Credit cards not accepted On the Net: www.dsr.tw


We started with a plate of inarizushi, rice tucked inside fried tofu skin. Dai Sya Rinn’s version had the typical Taiwanese touch, with corn, sliced ham and cashew nuts, but was surprisingly not bad. The soul-satisfying steamed egg (蒸蛋, NT$70) has chunks of chicken and mushroom, and I made a note to remember this one for the winter. The cold spinach noodles (日式菠菜冷麵, NT$88), on the other hand, make a good choice for the summer.

The tuna nigiri (NT$90 for two pieces) was a little bland; one of the tuna slices hadn’t thawed properly. But the salmon nigiri (NT$160 for four pieces) was tender and tasty. There’s no need for wasabe, as the waiter will remind you there’s plenty packed under each slice of fish.

The place was packed with high school students at dinnertime on a visit last week. They were probably taking advantage of the reasonably priced individual meals, which include the barbeque pork lunchbox (燒肉便當, NT$138) and udon noodles (烏龍湯麵, NT$88). From a glance at the person sitting next to me, the fried pork lunchbox (豬排便當, NT$128) looked appealing.

We wound up ordering more than we could finish, but this was more a testament to the atmosphere than the food. But another visit is definitely on the list.

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