Last night CG and I went to moto-i. The concept is a sake brewpub, or Japanese izakaya. It is located in the old Macchu Picchu place, and I never ate there so I cannot say how much of the old decor, if any, was retained.
CG tried the sake sampler, while I tried the lightest, sweetest of the three homebrewed offerings. I enjoyed the honeydew flavor of mine, and GC enjoyed all three-- the cloudy one was the best in his opinion.
We started with some appetizers.
1) The green curry chicken dumplings were formed with one of those plastic pastry pinchers-- you know, the ones that make the otherwise impossibly even pleats. I wish they had more filling in them, because the taste of what was in there was quite good. The dipping sauce was also lovely and tart, just the way I like it .
2) The steamed buns of the pulled chicken and hoisin pork were really delicious- the buns were folded over the filling rather than having a complete filled bun steamed whole. Not authentic, but a nice twist.
3) We also had the special orange marlin sashimi-- nicely garnished with puffed rice and cilantro oil. So good that we ordered another, but the second wasn't as silky as the first. I don't know if it was a different cut or if our mouths were numbed to the grainy texture of the first by the burning we received from an errantly spicy fried shishito pepper (appetizer 4), usually quite flavorful and fruity without being spicy, as anyone who has eaten them at Porter + Frye can attest. We were suffering for some time.
Entrees came next. Drunken noodles (which are usually quite spicy) were not spicy in the least-- not even by Minnesota standards. I thought they were tasty, with a nice kaffir lime kick, but CG was disappointed. My disappointment stemmed from the complete lack of salt in my yellow curry noodles (as if they'd completely overlooked the soy and fish sauces), and the beef was surprisingly tough. I mentioned it to the manager, who seemed surprised yet apologetic. She was quite interested in our feedback, which I appreciated.
I'd return for more appetizers, but probably stay away from the noodles next time.