Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Itadakimasu*: Momoya

TL;DR: ★★★☆

Beautiful, delicious sushi. Slow-but-polite service, pricey menu.

Food: ★★★★★
Ambiance: ★★★☆☆
Staff: ★★★★☆

Price: $$-$$$
Number of visits: 1

21st St. & 7th Ave.

*Apologies for the corny title, but "itadakimasu" is a phrase the Japanese say before consuming a meal, like "bon appetit" in French :P

Before I get into the review, why is it so hard to find good, reliable sushi in NYC? Or am I just looking in the wrong places?? Someone please enlighten me!!!!! (Can you sense the desperation here? 5 exclamation points — 5!)

Anyway, on to Momoya.

On a Tuesday afternoon, my friend and went to Momoya's Chelsea spot for lunch to pay a visit to another friend who recently started working there. We came in around 1 p.m. and were surprised to see how packed the restaurant was! The hostess told us that for a table, we'd have to wait about 15-20 minutes, but a couple seats at the sushi bar had just opened up, so we opted for that.


Both of us had been craving some fresh, delicious sushi, so we were very excited to try out this place. Going off the lunch menu, I ordered the chirashi (assorted fish on a bed of rice), and my friend got the sushi lunch special, which came with 6 pieces of sushi and a California roll.

The service was a tad slow, which was torture to the two starving girls sitting right across from the sushi chefs making their beautiful creations. Eventually, we got our food, and after sniping a few pics (because the plates were so gorgeous!), we dug in.

Chirashi ($16)

Ah, it was definitely worth the wait. The fish was, just as I'd hoped, very fresh and just melted in my mouth. There was a huge assortment of sashimi, including tuna, salmon, squid, salmon roe, egg, shrimp, etc., and I enjoyed every bite of the dish. The rice on the bottom was also impeccably cooked and seasoned, making it a great chaser for the fish.

Sushi lunch special ($15)

I can't speak for how the sushi special was, but my friend definitely enjoyed it. The dish looked beautiful, and judging by her faces and reactions, I think it's safe to say that it was delicious. The chefs were also quite generous with the portions, unlike some places that tend to skimp out on lunch deals.

Another thing to note here: My sushi enthusiast friend isn't a fan of eel and shrimp, so she had planned on asking the waiter if it'd be possible to swap those out with other pieces. When the server came to take our orders, all she asked was, "Do the pieces include eel and shrimp?" to which he replied, "No eel and shrimp? OK," and kindly, without charge, gave her more fish. How nice!

Regarding ambiance and decor, Momoya had a modern and minimalistic theme going on, and the place was very clean and well kept. I think it'd be a good place for just about any occasion: dates, girls' (or bros') nights, family dinners, etc., but do keep in mind that it gets quite loud. Another plus, they had great lounge-y, triphop music playing.

Annnd one last thing to note: The dishes are quite pricey here. Lunch specials are an OK bargain but not so much for dinner, especially if you're looking for sushi (as opposed to chicken teriyaki or udon), which will set you back at least $20. BUT, you will be getting some high-quality and beautifully plated fish, so it'll be worth it. And in the words of Donna Meagle, you should:

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