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Momiji, Sushi in Chinatown


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I have eaten at Momiji twice now in the last two weeks. I have been more impressed with the quality both times. I can happily say they have two chefs brought in from NY area that have an extremely high attention to detail. They also have some of the fresher fish and more creative rolls that I have had in the city. The portions were beyond generous. They may also have some of the best spicy tuna around. I know this all sounds too good to be true, but people I believe the city has a new sushi gem. I live in the area so it is definitely a bonus and in 25 years of eating sushi including over 30 restaurants in the DC/MD/VA area, I can highly recommend Momiji to any and all sushi lovers.

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Here is a link, hopefully they will post something more than just the hours, phone number, and address soon, but then again some places have a hard time even making these easy to find on their websites.

The consistency of the spicy tuna, with the right amount of spice, the right amount of scallions and the right freshness in comparison to other places that have a processed tub of spicy tuna that rarely seems fresh. I personally thought Kaz was vastly overrated, and sushi-ko while having quality chefs and interesting fish, I really dont run to. These places are supposed to be the DC equivalent of Nobu and Masa. They are not even remotely close. We do have high quality sushi places in the region, including Sushi Sono and Murasaki. Im sure everyone has their favorite, and my lost horrible meal at Tachibana may have been the same night somebody had their best. Im not great at descriptions on the menu, I can tell you that it is not often that I see attention to detail with sushi in this region, and I find it at a nice neighborhood place in my area. Freshness was first rate, they use high quality California Uni instead of that Maine garbage, none of their fish tasted frozen, and the piece of Salom Sushi I got was the about 5 inches. I would be happy to answer any other questions that I can, and I did take some pictures that I can try to get up at some point in the future.

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I personally thought Kaz was vastly overrated, and sushi-ko while having quality chefs and interesting fish, I really dont run to. These places are supposed to be the DC equivalent of Nobu and Masa. They are not even remotely close.

I would be interested to see where anyone has ever compared either of these restaurants to those. They are not even close to the same price point.

none of their fish tasted frozen
Are you sure it was not frozen? Almost all Tuna, even those used at Nobu and Masa were put into deep freeze at some point, and eating raw salmon that has not been frozen has some health risks involved. You can read all about what Shin Tsujimura (sushi chef at Nobu), and Masa Takayama have to say about the subject of frozen fish and sushi here.
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I would be interested to see where anyone has ever compared either of these restaurants to those. They are not even close to the same price point.

Are you sure it was not frozen? Almost all Tuna, even those used at Nobu and Masa were put into deep freeze at some point, and eating raw salmon that has not been frozen has some health risks involved. You can read all about what Shin Tsujimura (sushi chef at Nobu), and Masa Takayama have to say about the subject of frozen fish and sushi here.

Okay then they are not even close to Blue Ribbon or Bond St. As for frozen, more so what I meant is the flavor actually is consistent with some of the better fish that I have had. There have been to many instances where fish has been kept at the wrong temperature in this city and that causes major problems with quality consistency, not speaking of wrong health wise, just wrong taste wise. It is not easy to get a high quality sushi chef, as I am sure some of the sushi proprietors in the city an attest to.

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Okay then they are not even close to Blue Ribbon or Bond St.

First no one other than you are making those comparisons and just by stating that they don't compare doesn't make it so, and second, why the need to compare the sushi restaurants here with the ones in New York? So you don't like them, and prefer other places in the area to either Kaz or Sushi-Ko, I simply brought them up as a point of reference for the spicy tuna.

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First no one other than you are making those comparisons and just by stating that they don't compare doesn't make it so, and second, why the need to compare the sushi restaurants here with the ones in New York? So you don't like them, and prefer other places in the area to either Kaz or Sushi-Ko, I simply brought them up as a point of reference for the spicy tuna.

Trying to emphazie simple point, I feel sushi in this city is overrated for the most part. It is nice to find neighborhod places that are pretty good

1. Aji Nippon-Bethesda

2. Sushi Momo-Old Town Alexandria

3. Momoyama-2nd St NW

4. Murasaki-Tenleytown

5. Momiji-Chinatown

Im not that familiar with all the Virginia ones in the strip malls but have been to Yama and thought it was okay, have been to Joss's and Tsunami in Annapolis and thought they werent bad, but again not hurrying back.

All in all the answer as with any place recommend here is if it interest you, try it for yourself and tell us what you think right here.

Thanks,

J

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Hey Sthitch, jstevens75 made a perfectly fine, interesting post about Momiji. If you can make comparisons with Kaz and Sushi-Ko, jstevens75 can compare with New York - he's correct that sushi in the Washington, DC area is middling at best. Please stop being so needlessly aggressive with first-time posters, because it tends to prevent them from becoming second-time posters. I understand that you're just being inquisitive, but others might not.

I was not being aggressive whether needlessly or otherwise, I first asked what the rolls were, because if they are indeed interesting I would like to try them. But where this seemed to come off the rails was from asking how the one dish he specifically stated was exemplary compared to something that I and many other people on this board might be familiar with (that being either Kaz or Sushi-Ko), not trying to back him into a corner, or put him on the spot just seeing how they compared. And his description of why the spicy tuna at Momiji was good makes me want to try it so in that case he did answer my question. So still I don't think that comparing DC sushi places that are an obscure reference to most people on the board is an apt comparison.

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Trying to emphazie simple point, I feel sushi in this city is overrated for the most part.

Have to agree. Most sushi places in the DC metro are sub-par for a city of it's size and international nature.

Personally, my favorites are Makoto and Tachibana. Sushi-ko and Kaz Sushi Bistro used to be included in this list, however the fusion element once unique and special in 1990s Japanese sushi restaurants, have gone over the top.

Most frequently, these days fusion elements in sushi are used to cover up lack of quality fish.

As for more local smaller venues, I would recommend checking out Sushi Yoshi in Vienna VA. A small restaurant with about 6 spaces at the bar and 30 spaces at tables in the dining room. It's a charming little sushi restaurant.

Actually, Bazin's, Church Street Pizza and Sushi Yoshi inhibit Church Street quite nicely. Additionally, if you're interested in visiting an incredibly charming toy store, Once upon a Time, is there as well.

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After reading through the menu that is now posted on Momiji's site I decided to give it a try. I was really in the mood for several different Japanese dishes, but had to narrow to a realistic level. I went with the Shrimp Tempura lunch special, the spicy tuna roll, and some nigiri (two orders of smoked eel, and one of tuna - they come one piece per order).

The tempura came with a bowl of miso soup, a very bland rather characterless miso soup. This was not an auspicious start, but the look of the sushi that arrived at the same time as my soup did give me hope. The chefs do present the sushi quite nicely, and like jsteven75 mentioned the fish is very fresh, unfortunately for the nigiri he is spot on when he stated:

...the piece of Salom Sushi I got was the about 5 inches.

I could go on about why this is a problem? Well as I walked back to my office I contemplated how to say it, and then I read what Marty L. wrote on the subject and think that it sums it up nicely.

We hear this a lot on these threads and elsewhere. I think when most people write this, they are referring to a *high* fish/rice ratio. IMHO, however, that phenomenon -- huge pieces of fish on nigiri -- is one of the very worst characteristics of most U.S. sushi. The classic idea (or so I've been told -- and my experience at good sushi bars bears it out as the Platonic ideal), is that the fish should barely cover the rice, that the entire nigiri should be consumed in one bite, and that one should be able to savor the freshness of the fish and the rice in tandem, without one dominating the other. Better to have more pieces, and a better variety, than a handful of monster slabs of fish.

The taste of the fish was first rate, and the smoked eel did not taste like the prepackaged variety that so many sushi shops offer as Unaggi, if they were cut smaller and offered as two pieces I would agree that this would be some of the better Nigiri in the city.

Where I must completely agree with jstevens75 concerns the spicy tuna roll. The tuna is flattened, not chopped and instead of being mixed with the spicy sauce, it is dressed with it right before rolling. It is definitely the best version of this dish that I have had.

The real disappointment came with the shrimp. What they lacked in flavor they certainly made up for in size. These were monsters, greasy-flavorless, overly-breaded monsters. The coating reminded me more of one that you would find on a poorly made Tonkatsu than tempura. Also I don't believe that the oil was hot enough and the shrimp became saturated in oil.

Something told me that I should just stick with the sushi, but I really wanted to try the other offerings. I will certainly be back to work my way through a number of the appealing looking rolls such as the Valentine, Christmas in July, and White House rolls.

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We tried Momiji last night. The other comments were right- the fish to rice ratio on the nigiri is way off. They should cut the pieces of fish in half and sell the two pieces at the same price. We had a sea urchin (FYI, MP is $4.50), white tuna, eel, two spicey tuna rolls (tasty, but not spicey), and an eel and avocado roll. Everything tasted really fresh, with a very pretty presentation. Miso soups were clearly from a mix and mediocre at best. They needed a little more tofu and sea weed. Also had the shumai and beef negimaki appetizers. Both come is big portions and piping hot.

There was a pretty steady flow of people while we were there. The hibachi and entrees coming out of the kitchen were huge and looked pretty good. Overally, this is a great addition to our neighborhood and we are thrilled to finally have edible sushi within walking distance. We'll be back.

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this is a great addition to our neighborhood ...We'll be back.
Totally agree. Very nice folks here making a real effort to treat their customers well. Very welcoming from bringing a cup of tea the second you arrive, to checking in frequently etc. Pieces of fish were extremely large for the pads of rice, but I thought that was probably a sign of their desire to please their guests and wasn't too bothered by the resulting imbalance. They wont compete with Ko or Kaz, but they aren't trying to and given their location they wont have to. This is now my go-to sushi spot East of Kaz.
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I echo the sentiments of everyone in the thread. For the price I paid ($12 lunch special for 3 rolls), this is one of the best values in the city. Very fresh yellowtail, spicy tuna, and spicy scallop were enough to fill me up, each liberally stuffed with the nicely sliced (not minced like a lot of places in the area) fish.

A very welcome addition to this hit-or-miss area at lunch time.

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Anyone eat here recently? Is it still as good and fresh?

I had lunch there today with my sister. We shared the spicey tuna roll, which was as good as previous visits. Usually we'd order the sushi lunch special but were in the mood for something hot. She had nebayaki soba with chicken and vegetables and I had udon tempura (soup). Both came with miso soup and tea and were $8 for very generous portions. Unclear why they serve the udon with a side of miso soup- its redundant. Both entrees came out really hot. My udon soup was literally at a fast boil when it was served. Lots of udon noodles, two pieces of fish cake, mushrooms and vegetables. It came with a ladle and not a spoon which was fine since the broth was scalding hot and really salty. As others have written, the tempura shrimp is over battered and tastes oily. But the shrimp are large, clearly fresh and not overcooked. The soba dish was just ok- it had a slightly off almost sweet taste that I wasn't a fan of. But the food is very acceptable and given the alternatives in the neighborhood has become our go to place when in the mood for a quick bite of sushi but not the schlep across town to Kotobuki.

FYI- last time I was there, I asked them to split the nigiri in half, which the very kindly did. It was much better when the fish to rice ratio was more correct.

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I have eaten here a couple of times. Note I am allergic to soy- which completely affects my Asian restaurant experience. I ordered a special spicy appetizer that turned out with mayonnaise (which, in the usa, generally contains soybean oil). When I noticed this, it was immediately sent back, sub'd with my 2nd choice (b/c the special wasn't good wihout the sauce) without a blinking of the eye. Extremely nice and considerate service, considering I've been told (at Wasabi, no less) that I'm "not allergic to low sodium soy sauce." I will definitely be back... What I ended up eating, IIRC, was yellowtail with jalopeno, simple and fresh and absolutely delicious.

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As others have written, the tempura shrimp is over battered and tastes oily.

While I am not a fan of the shrimp on its own, as a component in the shrimp tempura roll they work quite well. I think that the rice and the unagi sauce help to hide the greasiness.

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I stopped in with a friend last week, and I think the quality of the fish here is good. Same size issues with the sashimi that we ordered. The rice doesn't seem all that great from the rolls we ordered - Alaska (salmon, cuke, avocado) and Eel and Avocado, which were both rolled in tobiko. Could the tobiko be at fault? Sure. But I would be hesitant to order any nigiri given the state of that rice. Still coming in at $40 (just sushi and an extra miso soup) for two of us was a pretty good deal, it's one of the better slightly less pricey options in Chinatown.

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I stopped in with a friend last week, and I think the quality of the fish here is good. Same size issues with the sashimi that we ordered. The rice doesn't seem all that great from the rolls we ordered - Alaska (salmon, cuke, avocado) and Eel and Avocado, which were both rolled in tobiko. Could the tobiko be at fault? Sure. But I would be hesitant to order any nigiri given the state of that rice. Still coming in at $40 (just sushi and an extra miso soup) for two of us was a pretty good deal, it's one of the better slightly less pricey options in Chinatown.

Had another great meal here. Unagi is currently my favorite in the city. The toro literally melted in my mouth. The rock and roll was great. They even have fresh wasabi now if you ask the chef. If you want delicious salmon make sure to ask for Salmon belly. On top of it all I was going to have Uni and the chef told me not to have it cause he knew it wouldnt be to my standards that day. Also good for them, they had every seat taken last Friday night at 8pm.

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I had dinner at Momiji last night, and am in polar disagreement with the relatively glowing reviews written above.

However, I'm excited to report that they're serving a fish I've never seen offered anywhere else in DC - it's number 8 on the top-right section of the menu here.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I would like to know what made Don in polar disagreement with the relative glowing reviews above. He got a bad day, maybe? :rolleyes: I went there today and had a lunch special 'Choice of 3 rolls' (Eel & Avocado, Salmon skin and Spicy Tuna). My colleague ordered Shrimp Tempura with Udon. She asked salad instead of rice and miso soup. The waitress kindly accepted.

All of rolls were delicious. My favorite among them was the salmon skin. I wish to have more tobiko roe on the sushi rice. The chef looks young but he definitely knows what he is doing. I would rather save my words than compare this place with a certain place until I taste nigiri sushi. I will definitely go there again soon.

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I'm excited to report that they're serving a fish I've never seen offered anywhere else in DC - it's number 8 on the top-right section of the menu here.

I wanted to go in for a nice fluck. But they must be hard of herring. Instead I got scrod. What a fluke!

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Stopped in for a quick lunch today with my sister. It was my first time upstairs and it is way nicer up there than on the first floor. Place was packed at 12:15. We shared the two roll and three roll lunch special- spicey tuna, spicey scallop, eel and avocado, christmas and mickey rolls. For whatever reason, two of the five rolls were cold (like when you get premade sushi from the grocery store). We were in a rush or I would have sent them back to have fresh ones made. Otherwise it was very acceptable, quick and reasonably priced.

I am curious to see what the food will be like at the Thai place opening up next door.

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My friend and I got carryout from Momiji on our way back from H St. The 18 piece sashimi platter we got only had one fish that tasted decent. The rest were... weird. I do have a soft spot for their spicy tuna roll. The Alaskan (salmon, cucumber, avocado) was disappointing in its lack of balance between the three ingredients - you could mostly taste avocado and the rest not so much. I'll save my money for Kotobuki next time.

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I just had lunch at Momiji. It wasn't bad, but I won't be rushing back. Or I might to see what their happy hour specials are. The little deck out back was cute and could be a good place to drink beer.

1. Spicy tuna roll was excellent, so much so that my lunch partner bartered a leg end of a spider roll for one more spicy tuna.

2. Shrimp udon soup was good, though it got saltier as I got closer to the bottom. The shrimp were large, panko crusted things but lacked flavor.

3. My lunch partner had the yakisoba. I was suspicious when it got to the table and it was made with buckwheat soba noodles, because I've always seen yakisoba with wheat noodles. She said it was incredibly bland, and only the buckwheat noodles kept it from being completely flavorless.

The sushi deserves more examination, and I'll be back for drinks. The first impression wasn't a wower, though.

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