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Midori's Floating World Cafe - MSP

Ever since the first glowing review by Dara, we have been loyal and very regular customer's of Midori's Floating World Cafe; however, the last few times we went the service just kept getting worse and worse. I think it all started to fall apart when they lost their regular sushi chef and Midori started making the sushi herself. She does okay, but it can now take more than an hour to get served there. Last time we were there, we waited for 30 minutes just for someone to take our order. Also, it seems that no one is supervising the dining room now that Midori is doing sushi. It is so sad and so different from what it used to be like there.

So, we have not gone back to Midori's since August. Have things gotten better there, I hope? Has anyone been there recently? I miss Midori's and want to go back, but am reluctant to do so unless someone can verify that things have turned around.

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  1. We go quite frequently (usually once a week or every other week), and the service is still quite slow. We've decided to not be bothered by it, and to just make a leisurely evening of it, since we do love the food so much. We order beers and some tempura, since we know the sushi is going to take a while to be ready. I haven't personally experienced the same problem as you did regarding waiting for 30 minutes for a waitress to take your order; that may have been a fluke, but I can't say for sure.

    The biggest problem seems to be that they don't have a second sushi chef assisting like they used to (even after the original chef left, for a while Midori was doing sushi and had an assistant). Midori doing it all by herself is incredibly slow. I have heard this complaint a lot.

    It's really too bad, as it is a wonderful place and I'd hate to see it lose business and eventually close because of this. I've been thinking of sending a well-composed complaint letter or email to them; anyone else who loves the food but can't deal with the glacial pace of the service should as well.

    Word around the campfire is that Tu, the original sushi chef, is opening up his own place in the next couple of weeks somewhere in Dinkytown.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mill City Modern

      Thanks for your reply. I sent quite a lengthy letter to Midori's over 6 weeks ago and never heard back from them, which is disappointing. I don't know what else to do at this point.

      One of the reasons that we loved Midori's so much originally is that we were always treated so graciously there. The worst part of the last evening we spent at Midori's was feeling totally ignored - no one was checking on us, no one noticed we hadn't placed our order, or been served. It is unfortunate.

    2. We too live in the 'hood and have been frequent visitors. It has really been a journey for them...and a real life course in what it takes to maintain a restaurant over the long haul.

      It was the first restaurant we took the chow-puppy to, and I hope it will remain there for a long while for her to enjoy.

      All that is a preface to saying that Midori's has become the type of restaurant that I just pull for...almost no matter what. I can put up with long waits, sub-standard service, etc...as long as the food quality remains high. I think Midori makes great, neighborhood sushi (as opposed to, well, destination sushi) in a friendly, non-pretentious atmosphere, which is really something in the sushi world where the prentention is often thick enough to cut with a yanagi ba.

      1. I love Midori's, and haven't personally seen any decline. But I don't get the sushi, so I'm not a good judge there. (Back when they had a dedicated sushi chef, I had observed that he was idle much of the time when I visited, so I can understand why he's no longer there - sad, but true.)

        Me, I almost always get the wonderful grilled fish dinner, because I'm addicted to the lovely variety of food included with this meal. In addition to the fish (salmon or sanma or makerel), you get salad, miso soup, pickles, two vegetable dishes (usually cucumber-seaweed salad, plus a starchy salad like lotus root-ginger salad, or roasted carrots, or potato-apple salad). Plus three slices of fruit. How can you not love a meal where you get all your food groups - and all your food colors - at once?

        For me, Midori's strength is those home-style dishes that other places don't have - like the fish dinner, or those rice balls with a pickled plum inside (yum!), or the egg custard.

        In addition - and perhaps this is the critical difference - our meal is almost always take-out, not dine-in. The hubby goes to pick it up, and he occasonally comments on some slowness or disorganization, but nothing major. He doesn't think that take-out is their forte - there's always confusion over how to package everything. But it always arrives in great shape.

        I'm like Dragon - I love Midori's food and atmosphere so much that I really want them to last. I hope they can pull through any service issues that they're currently having, because they really deserve to succeed.


        P.S. To answer Cassandra's question, our last meal (take out) was this week. It was yummy. And it was that grilled fish dinner. ... ... ... ... Oh dear, now I'm craving this meal again!

        1. Thanks to everyone who replied. I love the grilled fish dinner too, also the vegetarian dinner. Also, the soups. And, the pickles...

          Perhaps take out would be the solution for us. If we try Midori's again, I think we will do take out instead of dining in.

          I too very much want to see Midori's succeed, which is why I wrote them a letter and why I posted this on Chowhound. I'm hoping this feedback will inspire them to do what is necessary to get back on track.

          1. My wife and I were regulars of this neighborhood haunt and were at first so impressed by the personal service. You couldn't help but pull for it (not only because we want that corner of Mpls to succeed) because you felt like you were intimate with the staff. As of late, we've noticed the same thing... The service has been slower and since we have two kids, we have pretty much opted for food we know we can get quickly before any meltdown approaches by the little ones.

            A similar Mexican restaurant is right up Lake Street (El Norteno). Certainly not the best Mexican food in town, but a great place for a beer and some home style food on the patio served by the owners themselves.

            You've all encourated me to give Midori's another try...we'll hope for the best.

            1. We ate dinner at Midori's on Saturday night, and the place was practically empty. Needless to say, we got our food much faster than we have in recent months.

              Personally, we have never experienced any really sub-standard, unfriendly service--it's just that we've typically had to wait a very long time for food.

              FYI, another great restaurant in the neighborhood is just around the corner. It's an East African restaurant called Dashen. The food is simply wonderful and they also have a full bar.

              1. Although I go to Midori's occasionally for dinner, I mostly go there for lunch with my co-workers. They've always been slower for lunch, but it has gotten really bad lately. I'm loyal enough that it took me a while to truly accept that there's been a decline, but there it is. We were there a few weeks ago, and the place was nearly empty, and our lunch still took over 90 minutes.

                I want them to remain open (they're one of my favorite restaurants!) - do you think writing them a letter and including a link to this thread might help?

                1. Well, they ignored my letter, but, who knows, perhaps if they keeping getting letters they will eventually have to pay attention. I suppose the other option is for one of us to try to talk to them in person, in a more substantial way, next time the food takes forever.

                  To Mill City Modern: I'm looking forward to trying Dashen. Thanks for the tip!

                  1. Forgot to come back and report, but we went to Midori's the weekend before last and it seems they are finally aware of the problem. Unfortunately, not to the degree that they have hired an additional sushi chef, but they seem to be hyper-aware of how long you are waiting. Our drinks came out right away, our appetizer came out much more quickly than has been usual in the last several months, and during the lull between the appetizer and the sushi, our waitress brought us some edamame, gratis. Not a big deal, but a nice small thing that at least acknowledged that they are trying to improve the service.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mill City Modern

                      PS, forgot to say, the quality of the fish was absolutely SUPERB.

                    2. Just curious about people's recent experiences at Midori's: how is the service these days? Please tell me it is prompt, attentive and friendly like the old days.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Cassandra

                        We've been to Midori's a few times over the spring/summer. The service hasn't been necessarily slow, just inconsistent. For example sometimes you'll sit a long time before someone takes your order, then you'll get appetizers really quickly (usually edamame and miso soup for us - easy), and then wait a while for sushi. Last time we were there the table next to us was missing a sushi dinner order and I felt really bad for them, there was no way that dinner would be made in time that everyone at the table could eat together. I've often felt like it's dumb luck if you can get the waitresses attention or not. I do know the last time we were there there was a new waitress working because she was asking Midori a lot of questions about how to process the orders.

                        We still go there because of the much more relaxed nature compared to Origami or Nami, and it's closer than the St. Paul places, but it's definitely not a perfect restaurant experience.

                        1. re: Cassandra

                          I haven't eaten at Midori's lately, but I order takeout at least once or twice a month. It's always wonderful. I get the grilled fish dinner, and I cycle between the three varieties of fish: salmon, mackerel, and ??? (sanma - don't know the English name of this bony but delicious fish).

                          Not only is the fish great, but there's a changing variety of side dishes that never fail to enchant me. Most recently, my dinner had a seaweed-cucumber salad and some sort of pasta salad (with broken spaghetti noodles?) that I loved. My favorite is a sliced lotus root salad, but I've only had that once or twice.


                          1. re: Cassandra

                            We *finally* went back to Midori's tonight and - good news! - everything was excellent. The service was speedy and attentive, the fish was yummy, Midori personally thanked us for coming back. Yay! Order has been restored to the universe.

                            *there was great rejoicing in the land*

                          2. Adding the Places link.

                            Midori's Floating World Cafe
                            2629 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MplsM ary

                              I've been a heavy takeout fan & its been excellent. The one time that we've sat down in the past few months it was late & empty and the service was fine. We avoid primetime on purpose.

                            2. Bumping this up because we went to Midori's tonight and it was a disaster. We arrived to find at least two tables and all the sushi bar spots covered in empty/dirty dishes. Looking around at least half the tables had no food and seemed pretty annoyed. At that point we debated just heading to Town Talk instead but decided to stick it out. Like others described, it was 20 minutes until someone brought us water or took our menus, another 20 minutes until we got our drinks, and overall dinner lasted 2 hours - most of which we were waiting.

                              The waitress apologized profusely and said they just got slammed with sushi orders. I was somewhat sympathetic but they had 2 waitresses and 2 people in the kitchen in addition to Midori making sushi. I'm not sure why there were so many dirty dishes around and why it took so long to get drinks if the backup was with the sushi.

                              The sushi was delicious, and watching Midori she was handling the stress well and was very organized in her sushi making. However, I just can't see paying $100 for a dinner for two in a dirty restaurant. Unfortunately I don't think we'll be back.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: katebauer

                                Oh no! I am sad to hear this. We recently returned to Midori's and everything went well, so I was hopeful. Have other people been recently?

                                1. re: Cassandra

                                  I ate at midori's for the first time last week, and it was something of a disappointment, pretty in line with katebauer's experience. we were seated at the bar because, apparently, several parties had reserved the available four tops. service was quite slow, apparently our sushi order did not get fired (midori was suspiciously absent for 15 minutes of our first half hour) and the pace of the meal overal really lagged (we didnt really mind, just more time to enjoy company, but it was on the verge of being unacceptable).

                                  in a less heartening note another couple came in while we were eating, were "seated" at the bar where they say for about 20 minutes without further acknowledgment from anyone and then got up and left. also, despite the fact that we ordered a numbe rof appetizers and several rounds of sushi, none of our empty plates and serving dishes were removed until after we left. while it was not ideal, it certainly was a lot better than having other peoples dishes around. Midori may have been "handling the stress well" and kept up with the sushi making, but somebody needs to be running her restaurant. One of the two servers who was on the night we were there seemed to be keeping her head above water, but there is a serious need for professionalism/management.

                                  Overall, the food was very good, the menu is very impressive, but i don't think ill return until i hear from someone else that she has either hired a manager/figured out how to run her restaurant smoothly. I would normally say it is our collective responsibility as patrons to inform her of issues, but when those issues involve the improper clearing of dishes and impossibly long wait times, its should be apparent to anyone in the restaurant, and it just seems like shes still taking reservations so theres no real problem.

                                  1. re: tex.s.toast

                                    tex - I'm almost glad someone else experienced what we did. The staff was so apologetic I almost didn't post my review, thinking our evening was just a fluke. Sounds like it wasn't though.

                                    I did notice though that they stopped accepting called in take-out orders about 1/2 way through our meal. Thank goodness. I almost feel they should have stopped taking reservations too, since people calling in were getting priority over the many people standing in the doorway. I feel like if you want to maintain a good image you should seat the people standing there and tell those calling in that you're not holding tables this evening.

                                    It's interesting to hear that the problem may be solved with better management. I personally couldn't figure out what the problem was besides the lack of a busboy. I can't imagine having many more waitresses in that small space. Come to think of it though, when they used to have another sushi chef you would order your sushi straight from them if you sat at the bar, they seem to have dropped that process and you order everything through the waitress even if you're at the bar.

                                    1. re: katebauer

                                      I guess what i meant by better management was ensuring that small things (ok, some pretty big things) get taken care of and that everything proceeds int he right order. negotiating the called in take out orders and dealing with what is clearly a problematic reservation issue are two things i would classify as "management issues."

                                      I was never there when there was another sushi chef, but I will assume from what i saw that midori is either too busy preparing sushi or too timid by nature to adequately control the minutia of the operations of the place - an example I would cite from my past visit: she greeted each patron as they entered the restaurant, but in perhaps the most faint, nearly inaudible way. Everything I know about running the front of the house tells me she either needs to take control or find someone who would - restaurant management is all about designing functional systems (one where servers have time/help to clear tables, answer phones and greet customers) and these seemed to be pretty lacking in my experience. Just so i dont come off as a total curmudgeon, these things are, generally speaking, far far less important than the quality of the food in my estimation, but it seems they may have gotten so far out of control that they have significantly detracted from people experiences at Midori's.

                                2. re: katebauer

                                  We must have been there the same time as you, or just while you were coming in. We wanted a quick dinner, but spent 2 hours there, 30 minutes just waiting for the check. It was interesting because people were warning others as they came in. It was horrible.

                                  But of course, the food was great.

                                  1. re: churchka

                                    I went on Tuesday - in and out in 35 minutes - looked like they had a MILLION people working. (lots of new faces as well)

                                    Midori even did special sushi orders for my kids. (they like to create their own)

                                    We do take out quite often and have been told many many many times recently that they couldn't take our order - which I have to respect.

                                    I just don't plan on Midori for a Sat night at all.

                                    & last time we ate at the sushi bar the service was seriously slow - but I just went up and gave the slip to our waitperson - couldn't wait any longer for her to check on us.

                                    1. re: St Paul Susie

                                      Got take out again last night - had to wait a little longer than expected - which was fine - seated diners looked like they could have been there for awhile.

                                      They were training in another waitress - hoping that the problems others have had can be resolved.

                                      and of course, the food was great.

                                      1. re: St Paul Susie

                                        We were there as a group of 6 people with a complex sushi order. Got served promptly, water and tea refilled, and the appetizers and sushi came at a reasonable pace. Everything was excellent. I have been there numerous times and had experiences like those described above (slow, tables not cleared, etc.), and was pleasantly surprised. Our waitress was new and did great. The food was, as always, consistently good.

                                3. We went to Midori's for dinner one early evening last weekend and had a lovely time. Just thought I should report on this since I have been critical in the past. Looked like they had a couple of new waiters, who were doing just fine. As I said, it was early evening, so they weren't very busy, but, it was still nice to see everyone calm and under control. We enjoyed delicious soup and sushi and very much enjoyed ourselves. I'm crossing my fingers that this will continue.