Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Getting Intimate and Fresh at Momotaro Sushi

A friend of mine is a big sushi fan and always interested in trying new places, so he frequently calls me up when he wants a dining partner. Last night, our destination was Momotaro Sushi at the end of Carytown after a couple of his friends had recommended it highly to him. I hadn't even realized the place was there, tucked into a tiny space just before the Boulevard. It was Monday night, so there was only one other couple in there, but the atmospheric music set the tone the minute we walked in.

Cliched as it is, we started with the steamed dumplings, which were small, but well done. I went on to the Garden of the Sea, an array of thin- sliced shrimp, crab and salmon over seaweed salad and lettuce with a Japanese vinaigrette. It was a a lot like having sushi made with seaweed instead of rice, delicate and fresh. My friend went with the Nigiri Starter: a chef's choice of tuna, tilapia, salmon, crab, tamago with a half dozen spicy tuna rolls. I'd have to say it was the freshest tasting Japanese food I've had in Richmond; the fish was of such a high quality.

And speaking of fish, why are there so often fish tanks in places like this? Do I want to watch brightly colored fish swimming around as I devour their brethren? Not really. Other than that, though, the place had a nice ambiance and the bamboo shade between us and the sushi chef provided a nice sense of privacy as we ate and talked.

We lingered for a while over green tea and sake, discussing some mutual friends and their recent lapses in judgment. He's also got another friend in the process of destroying his own life, a depressing saga to hear updated. As bad as things have been for me, I am frequently reminded that many people have dug themselves a far deeper hole than I can even imagine.

Momotaro may be at the end of Carytown, but it's at the top of my list of sushi places I'd recommend to friends. It could be that good things coming in small packages business.

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