Momiji (A Second Look)

It looks like Momiji has taken care of their service issues and I think they now qualify for a "Good" rating.  So now, they've got a great location, good sushi, and good service.  But really, of the places where I've had sushi over the years, I can't remember any of them "wowing" me with outstanding service anyway.  Generally, when I remember a good sushi spot, I first think about the freshness of the food.  If it's fresh, the place is clean, and the service isn't bad, I'm probably going to be satisfied.  I basically go by the rule that if it smells strong of fish, then it's not fresh, and it's definitely not good sushi.
When you walk into Momiji, you smell just a hint of cool, fresh seafood -- enough that you know it's a sushi place, but not so much that it overpowers the other aromas.  The fam went on "$1 sushi night," which is Sundays from 4pm to 9pm.  The paper menus on the tables have a list of the $1 items along with various rolls and yakisoba dishes.  All we had to do was check off the items we wanted with a count of how many, and when the server arrived, hand her the list.  The California roll ($4.50) and sushi pieces ($1/ea) that I had arrived on an attractive plate, tasted great, and were very fresh.  The pork yakisoba ($7.95) was pretty nondescript with a few strips of carrots, cabbage, and a strong Chinese five-spice flavor -- it tasted OK, but was nothing to write home about.  If you've had yakisoba before, then you've had this.  
As other readers have commented, the Salem Roll ($7.95) is nothing short of awesome (picture, right).  I'd venture to guess it's not something die-hard sushi lovers would generally order (since the whole roll is lightly fried), but it really is fantastic, and a great way to satisfy the companion you drag along that doesn't appreciate sushi.
Overall, our bill came to about $10 per person, but I could easily have spent $20 feasting on $1 sushi pieces had I gone with a bigger appetite.


Salem Man said...

I'm glad you had a nice meal, I'll have to give Momiji another try for sushi. One thing I've always wanted to know about sushi is how to eat it. A few years back, I ate sushi with a Japanese friend and he picked the sushi up with his fingers and ate it. Doing that is much more convenient then the chopsticks. I watch carefully to see that most Americans use the chopstick method, maybe for fear of having bad manners. What's your sushi technique? Anyone use a fork?

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I use chopsticks for the very reason you describe: fear of having bad manners. And I supposed it's fun too. But it also forces me to slow down -- I have a tendency to wolf down my food.

The in-laws used forks.

KandN said...

Oldest daughter told me you're supposed to eat them with your fingers- in one or two bites and savor all those flavors in your mouth. As a first timer, it was a bit overwhelming. My nephew, a Hood River sushi chef and restaurant owner (Sushi Okalani), didn't correct her.

Anonymous said...

Sashimi is meant to be eaten with the fingers in one bite.

Anonymous said...

Love Momiji, we go there about once a month and it's always great!

mama2dylan said...

We love Momiji. The Salem roll is one of my favorites.

Sushi (or Nigiri)
Most people tend not to order sushi, but rather maki. Sushi is actually a piece of fish or seafood that lays on top of a rice ball and may or may not be held together by a slim piece of seaweed or nori.
With your chopsticks, pick up a piece of nigiri sushi and drag it through the soy sauce fish-side down, so the rice doesn’t soak up too much. Place the entire piece in your mouth, unless it is very large, in which case two bites are acceptable.

Sashimi is a piece of fish or seafood that stands alone. If you ask for something that is more difficult to slice, such as lobster or crab, or if you’d like it spicy, chances are it may be bunched up on the side of your platter or placed in a small bowl.

With your chopsticks, pick up one piece of sashimi, dip it in soy sauce, then place the whole piece in your mouth.

Maki (or Norimaki)
Maki is usually the most popular option for sushi eaters. The pieces vary from small --containing just fish and rice -- to mouth fillers -- wherein they contain fish, rice, and other fillers like cucumber, crispy tempura, avocado, sushi mayonnaise and more.

Maki may have the seaweed on the outside or on the inside, leaving the rice as the outer layer, making for a different look, but with the same great taste.

Use fingers or chopsticks
The beauty of sushi is that it’s a finger food, so if you’re not exactly familiar with the use of chopsticks (you should get on that pronto), not to worry; eating with your hands is fine (except for the sashimi, which requires being eaten with chopsticks).

It’s actually preferable to eat with your hands than it would be for you to cut up a piece of sushi with a fork and knife it is considered incredibly uncouth to use a fork.

Eat the whole piece of sushi
When you indulge in sushi, it is proper etiquette to place the entire piece into your mouth rather than bite off a piece (except the roll, of course). It is considered a work of art by the chef who creates it and it is insulting when you tear it apart, leaving it to fall apart in your hand, on the sticks, or on the plate.

Hand rolls (or Temaki)
Hand rolls resemble ice cream cones; they come to a point on one side and open up, showing off the filling on the other.

They essentially contain the same ingredients that any maki would contain, except that they’re rolled a different way and aren’t cut into pieces.

To eat them, you would pick up the pointed end with your fingers and start at the open end, eating away until the entire roll is gone.

tracylee said...

If you went last Sunday, we were probably there at the same time! We've never sat in the back, we always sit at the sushi bar to see the knifework in action.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mama2Dylan, did you copy your above comment from a website? If so, you should cite the source, I'd hate to see you guys get in trouble for plagerism.

Lise Anne said...

Hmm...yes, linking back to a copied source is very important. Did you find your article at

So glad so many know how to eat sushi correctly. Its really the fast food of Japan, their version of the sandwich meant to be popped in the mouth with your fingers as the chef prepared it (no add-ons unless provided by the chef). Its so hard sometimes to eat sushi in one bite, but it tastes the best if you get it in one bite.

Vegan's Nightmare said...

@tracylee Did you have a new baby with you?

tracylee said...

Yikes, not that I know of! LOL, nope, I was with an old Mainer, just the two of us. We got there a little after 6:30 and may have been there a half-hour or so. It wasn't as long as we sometimes spend there, but it was still yummy.

tracylee said...

OK, after a long walk at Minto, we stopped by Momiji. N ordered yellowtail tuna, and had some of my tempura shrimp roll. Then he ordered Kane (snow crab) plain on rice. He loved it so much that he ordered another. Bad news, they were out! So, Simon offered to make him something special - N will eat about anything so he went for it. What a show!

Simon thinly sliced yellowtail on to a sheet of seaweed, then pounded it out even thinner. He made that into a roll and sliced it into 4, standing each piece on end. He topped that with creamy hotate (raw scallops in mayo), then surimi (krab) in mayo, then masago (smelt roe) and scallions. Oh, somewhere in there, he took a blow torch to the bottom layer of yellowtail.

We've been watching Iron Chef re-runs, and felt like we were watching it in person...what next?!?! oh, the blow torch?!?!?! It was amazing, and I actually applauded Simon! He was so happy creating something that he new N would love.

And all of this was after the free serving of octopus/cucumber salad concoction N was handed previously!

Ummm, can you tell how much we love this place?

mama2dylan said...

I get all of my info by going to Google. I typed in "how to eat sushi" and came up w/ various links to info. Some info was from the links some I added myself. I have been eating sushi for 20 years.

It is OK to eat nigiri-sushi with your hands in one bite (the sushi rice is hand formed into a small clump, and the fish is sliced and pressed on top of it). Sashimi is only to be eaten with your chopsticks (thinly sliced, raw seafood no rice).
Maki-sushi, rolled sushi (including hand rolls, temaki) is to be eaten w/ chopsticks.

People who know how to eat sushi don't order California rolls. In the sushi community they're considered wimps who can't handle raw fish. Rule of thumb: if it has mayonnaise or tomatoes, or if it's cooked and lacks an exotic name it's probably not real sushi. Using a fork to eat sushi is a big faux pau.

Does anyone tip the sushi chef? I always do. There is usually a tip jar on top of the sushi counter. Tipping the chef is a sign of great respect, a
way to honor the chef's skill and knowledge and a way to get the best
sushi. The size of the tip is up to the patron. I usually give the chef 10% and the server 10%.