Just as when you thought there are so many Japanese restaurants in Metro Manila, another one opens, and I’m not complaining! One of the most recent additions is MAiSEN (まい泉), and it’s one that I recently got to try. Here are my thoughts:
I was thinking of trying something new in SM Megamall when my luck brought me to the recently opened branch of Maisen. It was late in the afternoon then so there were hardly any customers and I got to see the restaurant in a much more relaxed manner.
Maisen is pretty much similar to a number of Japanese restaurants that already flock Metro Manila that serves tonkatsu varieties with unlimited miso soup, cabbage, rice, fruits, and sides. But they do have specialties unique to their menu aside from tonkatsu that could be of interest. And since I only have a single stomach, I can only try a single dish for this first visit. And for my first Maisen dish, I opted for the cream dory katsu set.
I’ve tasted quite a number of katsu sets from similar Japanese restaurants in the Metro and Maisen is not far from what others offer. In terms of similarity, Maisen offers unlimited servings of miso soup, rice, cabbage, fruits, and a pickled dish. But Maisen offers dishes distinctly their own. For one, they have a cream dory tonkatsu—something that is not common as the typical choices are limited to pork and chicken. The serving size of which seems generous as well so it’s a plus. Here are other things unique to Maisen’s katsu set:
- Miso soup: the most obvious difference is the lack of seaweed or nori in the soup. It doesn’t change the taste very much though.
- Cabbage dressing: Maisen offers two distinct dressing for their cabbage: one is a salty and more fluid and the other is a thicker, creamier one with sesame seeds. I honestly don’t know what each of them are called, but for some reason I really loved the creamier one.
- Pickled dish: every similar Japanese restaurant in the Metro offers a different version of this and Maisen is no different. There’s nothing really remarkable about their version for me though as I find it bland.
- Tonkatsu sauce: competition normally offers just one sauce for their tonkatsu, to be blended with sesame seeds. Maisen offers at least two, the first one being similar with all others and the second one being a spicier one, with no sesame seeds to be grinded though. I didn’t find the spicier sauce spicy at all, but it does taste really good! And in the case of my cream dory, I even have an extra cream of tartar sauce. I preferred the spicier sauce though, despite really not being spicy.
Overall, I do find good value in Maisen despite the number of restaurants offering similar dishes. What stood out for me are their delicious sauces and the good serving size of their katsu. I also liked that they offer a fish for their katsu and they don’t charge a premium for it. They even offered me a hot tea upon seating. I certainly like that we have another great dining option here in Metro Manila and I hope to be back soon to try their other dishes!
- Credit Card: Yes
- Service Charge: 10% of VATable sales (about 9% of your total bill)
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For more information about MAiSEN and its offerings, visit facebook.com/MaisenPH.