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Oct 29, 2008 10:48 AM

Moto-I (MSP) Locally Brewed Sake

Just checked out Moto-I at Lake and Lyndale last night. We had a wonderful meal with locally brewed Sake. We ordered a bunch of small plates and shared. First off, I tried the Nigori Sake (cloudy) which was nice, a tad bit expensive but where else can you find locally brewed Sake? Their beer list is local and the wine list is very nice. The prices are very moderate and it is nice to have a nice place that does not break the bank. We ordered the mushroom dumplings (tasty, the filling came out as you picked them up, but very good.) The tofu bun (Excellent, sweet and sour tofu in a bun, can't wait to order another one!) Mixed Greens with Miso dressing (very nice dressing), Sesame Noodles (not overly sweet like other places, but these were the stand out. They had a great flavor and well made) and the Vegetarian Red Curry (Very tasty, but a little too spicy for us, tons of veggies and tofu. We also got to taste the sweet potato candies/ice cream and the donuts. Our bill came to $43.00. The rooftop patio is going to be very nice in the spring/summer. I would fully suggest this to other hounds for a fun, cheap and new night out. Has anyone else been?

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  1. they were still papered over when i walked by last friday. does anyone know when the official open was?

    also, chadrachad, can you describe what else was on offer sake-wise, beyond the nigori? to my understanding nigori describes any unfiltered sake and not neccesarily the style or type, which would be a ginjo, daiginjo, or junmai, most likely. even if the details of what was on offer arent handy, can you give us an idea of how many options there were?

    1. This place sounds fabu! Thanks for the review. I gotta get there for a tofu bun.

      Tex, check out their web site for more on the sake they brew (it looks like they do just junmai now, but plan to expand). So cool!


      2 Replies
      1. re: AnneInMpls

        I hope they put the menu online soon! I love mushroom dumplings and the Sesame Noodles sounds great- I am not a fan of the super sweet noodles I have been finding in MSP. Sounds like a great date night for this week.

        1. re: phimoez

          I don't know too much about sake, but they had three different types of sake on the menu. They are 8 for a glass, or 12 for a sampler of all three. I believe that they are going to add more. We weren't sure if they were open or not because of the dark window blinds. Also, the service was great!

      2. Went to Moto-i Sunday night for a nosh and sake. Had the Genshu and Nama and both were very tasty, the Genshu standing out with a clean flavor, with a light grain finish that seemed to suit the weather...autumnal. I have very little frame of reference outside of what I order when we go to Origami or Obento-Ya (and then it is a crap-shoot, often relaying on the server or Itamae...perhaps Surdyk's offers a class). Anyway, both sakes were very good.

        For food we had the grilled octopus salad with seaweed which had terrific flavors but the octopus had been cooked too long and was like eating a rubber ball. It was too bad, you could really taste the smoke from whatever they cooked it over and the composition was nice...just in need of an ironing. The bulgogi was sweet and grilled well with a hint of sesame. I am accustomed to eating bulgogi with lettuce cups, this was served more as a salad with chopped romaine hearts. Still quite nice, though we needed more kimchee...but I love kimchee so it may be enough for others.

        Service was eager to help explain the sakes and food items which was welcomed. Very attentive, there when we needed her. Other staff welcomed us as we arrived which I also like to see. We shall return for drunken-noodles.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Foureyes137

          Actually, Surdyk's does have two sake classes coming up! The intro class, "Sake and Sushi" is sold out, but the advanced class still has room, according to the web site.


          1. re: AnneInMpls

            in a flyer i just received from Cooks of Crocus hill they are offering a sake and cheese class which i want to say is in february some time.

        2. Stil have not made it here but SO and I are planning on going next week. I did come across this review tho. I have to try these drunken noodles!!

          1. I went with some girlfriends Friday night and we were happily surprised by moto-i. We were 6 starving young moms who basically go hungry all day while appeasing our toddlers so we tried a lot on both the drink and the food menu.

            We all were impressed by the 3 sake choices- loved that you could do a flight of them. We aren't sake experts by any means but we enjoyed them all- smooth, and each had it's different appeal. I've had some tasting flights where you could barely tell the difference between each so this was a nice variety. Also enjoyed the MN beers- especially the Kayak Koish.

            As for the food, my favorite was the Thai Beef Jerky-- peppered just right and loved it with the sriracha sauce. Lotus chips were light and crunchy- great way to warm up our appetites. I liked the octopus as well - ours was not chewy at all. Overly sesame-ed maybe but still tasty. We all enjoyed the dumplings- chicken curry and the pork. We tried all three buns and I was the least impressed with the tofu. I think it's b/c I was expecting the tofu to be crisp and warm (think tofu appetizer at Rice Paper) but rather, it was cold and a little chunky. Did not like the bulgogi- meat needed to be thinner and in smaller pieces. We were knife-less and trying to pull apart huge chunks of beef. Predominant taste was soy sauce rather than a balance of sweet/salty/smoky. Kimchi lacked kick- more vinegar than spice. I'm picky though about Korean food since that's my ethnic background.

            As with most restaurants, we liked the small plates more than the large. Ramen broth was a little bland. Thai Fried Rice had a nice smoky taste which I liked but very different from other versions of TFR I've had- not quite sure what made this version "Thai." Yakiudon was probably my favorite though we didn' get the Drunken Noodles. And was not impressed with the Singapore noodles...ordered a lot more but it got to be a blur after a while!

            Had the donuts for dessert-- I was afraid I wouldn't like them b/c I am not a fan of five spice/star anise but they were pretty good. Dense though...they might have been helped with some kind of sauce??

            Overall- despite some misses, we liked the atmosphere and I'd definitely go back. It is a nice addition to Mpls. They were reasonably priced and the portions for the large plates were pretty generous.