Dinner at Momiji, Capitol Hill

This is a good if expensive Japanese place on Capitol Hill that has some seriously amazing decor – if you come during daylight hours you’d get to enjoy the lovely kyoto garden in the middle of the restaurant – it blew our minds the first time we went since the exterior didn’t look like much; they barely had a signboard indicating its name, only the five petaled flower.

Z’s favourite dish here – somen with sockeye salmon and ikura in a light broth. It’s part of their “Kyoto menu” and has very subtle flavours.

Their tamago nigiri is pretty good.

I was slightly less impressed with the kinoko mushroom bake which I felt was lacking something. The flavour was quite one-dimensional and it was a little bland.

Asari clam miso soup – this was good, lots of clams and a very alcoholicky soup.

My favourite dish here was the broiled black cod in miso sauce – it’s $14 for this tiny piece and I just eat it over rice. When the fish is fresh, it is quite perfect. The piece I ordered the other day was a little mealy though.

Top-down view of cod. The edamame on the side is served to every table as a starter. They don’t always remove bones from the black cod, so be careful when you eat their fish!

Their Five spice baked king crab was even less amazing, the crab itself was a little fishy and the spices were on the shell and barely got to the crab meat. Skip this.

Their chawanmushi had way too much spinach such that you couldn’t taste the delicate texture of the egg custard. At this point you begin to appreciate the Zagat warning on the front door saying it is “easy to over order” here.

Close up of the edamame given to each table.

Restaurant interior

We recently noticed that the restaurant safety rating (posted on a slightly tucked away location at the front door) is only “OK”. That is, the third lowest of four possible ratings (i.e. a C) and when we looked it up (this rating was only implemented April 2017) meant that it was the bottom 10th percentile and had multiple violations of some sort of health code. This is quite worrying for a Japanese restaurant, considering how much raw food it serves.  And the only reason I noticed this was because when we tried to walk in on a Monday evening (I called and the FOH said it was generally a 30 minute wait – hogwash), we ended up waiting for a good 1 hour and 15 minutes for a table, with nothing to do but read all the reviews and scraps of paper stuck to their front window. That said, the food is good enough for me to go back despite this rating. Just make sure you make a reservation! I believe they are on OpenTable.

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