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Sep 18, 2005 11:02 PM

Momoya - 7th & 21st - Horrible Experience

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I had one of worst restaurant experiences ever tonight at Momoya, a new Japanese restaurant on 7th Avenue at 21st Street.

Went there at 8:00 p.m. Sushi bar was completely empty. Sat down. Three young sushi chefs stood there looking completely vacant, oblivous to the fly that was sitting on counter on one of the mats used to roll sushi rolls. I pointed out the fly to one of the servers. He shrugged and walked away. The fly continued to sit there for a few minutes until it finally flew off somewhere (perhaps to feast on the fish?)

After ordering a seaweed salad to start, I waited for one of three sushi chefs to look in my direction to see what kind of sushi I might want. Remember there were three of them and I was the only person at the sushi bar (they were also making sushi for the patrons at tables, but the restaurant was not very full). Nothing. Finally, I managed to get the attention of one of three Muskateers and got a piece of sushi (each order here is one piece, not two). It was average mediocre sushi - not as bad as supermarket sushi, not great. After eating my one piece of sushi, I sat and sat and waited for one of the chefs to take another order. Again, nothing. Finally, I snagged the attention of the chef closest to me (and it's a really small sushi bar) and managed to successfully order a second piece of sushi. I'm still the only person at the sushi bar. After eating my second small piece of sushi, I waited and waited and finally got to order a third piece of sushi. But after that, it was all over. I was completely ignored. For about 10 minutes. Finally, I decided "this is just too much trouble." I was still hungry, so I snagged a waiter and ordered tea and dessert (a perfectly mediocre green tea panna cota).

I then paid my bill and left, without a tip, the first time I have done that in at least 15 years.

If you want a loungey hip looking place to have a drink, you might enjoy Momoya. But if you are looking for an enjoyable meal and decent sushi, stay away. Don't say you haven't been warned.

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  1. Interesting experience. My husband and I ate there the other night and really enjoyed our experience and the food. It was packed and they certainly accommodated us in a timely fashion. It was not exceptional sushi, but fine for a close neighborhood joint.

    1 Reply
    1. re: snp

      I enjoyed it as well. Funny, cuz when I went they did NOT serve dessert.

    2. i walk past momoya all the time and always wondered why it is so empty inside?

      1. Just wondering... after no luck the first time, why continue to order one piece at a time? The question is not to excuse their poor service (which it certainly sounds like it was).

        1. I work around the corner and my husband and I visit this establishment at least once a month. I have been there at least 20 times and the service and quality has always been top-notch. We are thrilled that they have just opened another outpost on Amst. in the 80's near our house. I would definitely put this on your list for excellent sushi at very reasonable prices.

          1. I've had similar experiences at the Amsterdam location. The fish is not very good at all (your description is apt, I think) and the service can be a bit flakey. I don't actually think any of the folks behind the sushi bar are trained as sushi chefs. They probably just thought you were strange for ordering one piece at a time.