Would we go back:
2940 Lyndale Ave South
• Fried Shishito peppers $4 (shared)
• Sweet Potato Fries $4 (shared)
• Pulled Chicken Bun $3 (shared)
• Chicken Green Curry Dumplings $8 (shared)
• Mussels $12 (shared)
• Drunken Noodles $11
Sometimes things work out well, even though going into it you would not think they would. We went to Moto-i for our childless Valentine's Dinner. I was suffering with a nasty sinus infection and could not smell or taste anything. I, of course, was a bit bummed about this, but when you are parents have a night lined up sans child, you go anyway.
Moto-i is more of a bar than a restaurant so I am glad we were childless, although he could have screamed the entire evening and I don't think anyone would have heard, so not a great date place either. We did have to wait for our table which is a bit annoying, I do know it was Valentine's day weekend, but when you make reservation, they should have the table ready and if not, offer some sort of libation perhaps while you stand in bar area. But no, that was not the case here. I really can not speak for the food, which Steve assures me was for the best, since I could not taste. So I will not even venture to comment on that part of the meal. I will say things were a bit on the expensive side for the portion size and the apparent taste.
Overall it is not a place I will go back to, because even putting food aside, it was really much more a bar and maybe I am just getting too old to scream to be heard.
• Sashimi $12
Go to moto i for the sake, not the food. I recommend the sake sampler flights and take off from there. I admit I am not a sake drinker so this was a foray into unchartered waters, but the sake at moto i was smooth and I’m glad I tried it. I was not impressed with the atmosphere either. From the alternative rock satellite radio to the wooden booth seating, it’s more Uptown bar than sake bar. Not that I expect geishas in kimonos, but the place seemed like it could change its business overnight without missing a beat if this whole sake thing doesn’t work out.
For food, moto i is hit or miss. The Fried Shishito peppers were nicely covered with sea salt and delicious. The Sweet Potato Fries were caramelized in brown sugar and much better than I expected. The pulled chicken bun, though small and simple, was a delightful few bites.
When moto i missed, they really missed. The chicken green curry dumplings were awful. I couldn’t place the curry taste much at all, the chicken was chicken-salad-like, and the dumplings themselves looked like they were tortured into submission on the plate. The mussels were cooked fine, but mostly they were tasteless in a tasteless sauce. There was no wasabi with the sashimi either because they inexplicably ran out or didn’t bother. The five pieces of sashimi, to my horror, came soaking in soy sauce. I never thought of myself as a sushi or sashimi purist, but they crossed the line in my book. I have to finish where I began: go to moto i for the sake, not the food.
February 13, 2010