Both RVA Foodie and In Vino Veritas recently recommended that I try Sumo San. Since I follow instructions so well we ended up at Sumo San’s offspring in Carytown, Moshi-Moshi.
I was a little concerned upon arrival as the place was completely empty. Typically one does not want to eat sushi in a slow sushi restaurant where the fish turnover is not, shall we say, optimum. The evening, however, was cold and damp with ice in the forecast so we just ran on the assumption that everyone else was busy buying milk and bread at Ukrop’s. We were seated quickly at the fishbowl table in the window and surveyed the menu.
Concern arose again as I read and noted the whimsy of the descriptions and the less than traditional items. I enjoy Sticky Rice for what it is, but do we need two of them? We decided to stick with our ‘traditional’ order of dining for Japanese restaurants. Hot apps for all, rolls for M and Finn, sashimi for me, finished with miso soup.
Three appetizers caught our eye.
Crispy Calamari with Mango Salsa. The calamari was not crispy but the batter was good and the calamari was tender. I am actually glad it wasn’t crispy and fried to within an inch of the texture of tire rubber. We were unable to identify the white sauce that came for dipping but it was excellent, creamy with a hint of heat.
Tartar Filet Mignon. Chunks of filet that had received only a passing acquaintance with an extremely hot heat source. Tender and simply seasoned with a bit of pepper and oil with a ginger soy sauce for dipping. I was tempted to order a second plate. The chunks of meat were served on a bed of shoestring taro fries that were a disappointment. Couldn’t tell if they were made in house or not. Basically resembled what you find at the very bottom of a bag of chips, all tiny pieces and crumbs.
Shrimp Tempura (10 pieces!). Excellent! The batter didn’t seem to be a traditional tempura, almost like it had been augmented with panko. Finn devoured theses, tails and all.
M went conservative and ordered a couple of California Rolls for dinner. She raved about them. Finn kept stealing them off her plate. We seemed to be on a ‘roll’…
Typically I order 5 to 8 different kinds of sashimi for my dinner. Moshi-Moshi has a slightly different take on sushi and sashimi. Most of the items for a $5 for sushi and then $11 for sashimi. I questioned the waiter and while you get 2 pieces for sushi, you get 6 for sashimi. No half orders and no platters. I like sashimi to enjoy the range of flavours and prefer not to get filled up on balls of rice (white rice not compliant with the South Beach diet I am on anyway…).
I narrowed my selections down to 3 and placed my order. The waiter returned saying the chef had decided the fatty tuna wasn’t up to snuff for sashimi so I replaced it with tuna to go with the salmon and freshwater eel. I know, pretty boring, but when you have to narrow it down the more exotic items fall to the wayside – do you really want 6 pieces of Uni?
All the sashimi was top notch. The tuna was a deep rich colour. The salmon, while well marbled, had none of the fatty taste that can sometimes overpower the creaminess of the raw salmon (I even convinced M to taste!). The eel was as you would expect it in a thousand other sushi places but just, somehow, better.
Finn is funny about sushi. Sometimes he won’t touch it, other times he can’t get enough. Pieces of California Roll kept migrating to his plate but he wouldn’t try the salmon or the tuna this time. The eel, once I explained it was ’snake’ (3 year old logic), got a nibble and then requests for more. Our little foodie to be!
To finish we all had a bowl of miso although Finn requires a straw for his. Pretty basic although they had included bonita shavings in it. I’m not sure, based on the texture, if they had been allowed to steep long enough of if they intended them to be a little crunchy. I kind of liked it, M remained neutral…
Service was efficient and pleasant. No problems there.
While not truly traditional, Moshi-Moshi is a place worth dining at. We’ll be back.
I am noticing a trend among restaurant spin offs, or at least the one’s I’ve been eating at. LuLu’s, Moshi-Moshi. What will happen if Can-Can reproduces?….