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Friday, January 08, 2010
japanese/fusion: i strongly recommend DOZO
DOZO IZAKAYA DINING BAR
No. 102, Guang Fu S. Road
MRT: Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
hours: 6pm to 3am (last food order at 2pm)
Kid friendliness: loud atmosphere more lounge bar than restaurant
Visit reviewed: 12/4/2009
Dozo- I had heard the name quite a few times, but didn't know much about the menu. Even noticed its grand entrance and glowing red sign when driving by on Guang Fu South Road- it's a few blocks away from SYS Memorial Hall or United Hotel. But I never got a chance to eat there until my friends chose it for late birthday dinner after a screening of New Moon. One of my good friends is a true Twi-hard fan and watching it with her definitely made it more fun.
More Hollywood hotspot than homestyle, Dozo is the perfect sort of trendy place for those birthday dinner and drinks celebrations. On, the first floor, the elevated walkway is more of a runway, but they had reserved a room upstairs in the VIP tatami rooms where you can see if you are louder than the room next to you or the taiko drummers that come out to perform (I think after 10pm).
And like any good izakaya, the Chinese and English picture filled menu offers up many drinks and dishes to choose from, from grilled skewers to deep fried and stir fried dishes, from modern sushi rolls and appetizers to traditional sashimi, from beer bongs to hot sake.
Yup, I said beer bong.
In addition to the Japanese fare, there's a bit of creative fusion going on- Italian-style fried udon or korean style rice in stone bowl- or a new spin on the familiar, like spicy tuna.
Two of my favorite dishes at Dozo were tuna appetizers, especially since I love spicy tuna and it's hard to find it done well here, though I've been slowly finding it at more places. The Seven Spice Flavored Tuna Pate (NT$180) is served in a chilled ceramic dish and you mix the seven spices with the tuna, and scoop it onto the fresh romaine lettuce.
The other was the Tuna and Avocado Salad topped with Shrimp Roe which was also a mix and scoop thing, but this time on toasted bread slices. The texture of the cruncy toast and popping shrimp eggs is a good contrast to the soft tuna and avocado - a spicy tuna bruschetta if you will.
If I came back, I wouldn't order the Grilled Beef Sushi, (NT$220) which was a bit dry.
Instead get the Boneless Beef Spare Ribs which was a plate of bite sized slices of juicy beef.
Or for something different, you can try the Charcoal grilled beef with garlic sauce which was like beef sashimi, as it is pretty much raw. I think the first time I had raw beef, I can't remember where, I just went for it- I didn't even want to think about what I was eating. And it does taste sort of like sashimi, but with the texture of... raw beef. Haha. Something for someone who like their prime rib and steaks rare.
I also found myself going back for more of the Gigantic Grilled Rice Ball- it was basically as the name sounds. If you are like me and like the browned bits of crisped rice at the bottom of a stone bimbimbap bowl, then you'll love this since the entire ball is all crispy rice underneath the bonito.
And the soft Deep fried homemade tofu with peanut which had a distinctive, nutty flavor that was almost dessert like.
I wasn't crazy about some of other seafood dishes- the sashimi "Japanese Jack Mackarel with salsa" (a tad fishy),
the sliced octopus with korean kimchi and mayonaise, and
the Grilled squid with seven spice powder. I don't think I would have remembered these dishes if it wasn't for the pictures.
Instead, you can try the Deep Fried Mini Dumplings which were perfectly crisp,
the rolls like the Avocado and Salmon
and the Assorted skewers with chicken, intestines and beef.
By the time the Spicy Korean rice cakes came, I was too full to really taste more than a bite, but it was very spicy!
As you can see, we had a lot of food and this was only the tip of the extensive menu. If you want to try more things, then it's a great excuse to round up your friends for dinner, try a bite of each dish and reorder what you like. The food came at a good speed for our hungry group, and we added new rounds of orders a few times. Open until 3AM, Dozo is the perfect place to grab a late night bite.
Anyone else been to Dozo? What's your favorite dish there?