68, An He Rd., sec. 2, Taipei City
停業 Closed

Experience Artful Zen Cuisine at Shintori

By Ken Lin Translated by Cheryl Robbins

       In ancient Japan, Zen masters fasted during meditation. Afterwards, they ate a simple meal consisting of three courses and a bowl of soup. The emphasis was on nature and serene settings that augmented spiritual contemplation. In modern Japan, the essence of the Zen-style repast gave birth to a unique cuisine and dining atmosphere, which quickly caught on in that country and the rest of the world.

       Bamboo, synonymous with tranquility, fills the interiors of Shintori Restaurant. Meandering streams and arched bridges create the sensation of "old Toky." Dining rooms are pristine and private with frosted glass windows, and the use of gold and black in the decor combined with delicate utensils add refinement.

       The menu includes much more than simple dishes and soup though. Actually, it is very extensive with so many offerings that it might be hard to decide what to order. Set meals, including an appetizer, soup, sashimi, boiled dish, fried dish, grilled dish, main course and dessert, are definitely recommended.

       Business set lunches are available from NT$690 to NT$1,380. The sashimi set (NT$690) and the Zen Japanese set (NT$780) are popular choices. Other sets are named after three of Japan's most famous kilns (Kyomizu, Karatsu and Kasama), and range in price from NT$1,880 to NT$2,880.

       Signature dishes include Organic Vegetable and Fruit Sushi, Aloe Sushi and Wild Yam Sushi, are all artfully served on rectangular plates. The cold Noodles with Wild Yam presents potato strips atop a bed of lotus petals and bamboo leaves. The Wrapped Fish melts in your mouth, and is accompanied by wild yam and lotus seeds. The crispy fried Filet of Sole is fresh from the sea, and the grilled beef dishes are made with top quality U.S. sirloin.

       I was impressed with everything I tried, and I was captivated by the Zen appeal. Shintori is an excellent alternative to Taipei's traditional Japanese restaurants.