It is said that the small entrances of Japanese teahouses forced travelers and samurai to remove their heavy bags and swords in order to enter, thus allowing them to symbolically jettison there outer selves and better relax into the building’s serene atmosphere. Momiji in Seattle, Washington also provides such an oasis from the city courtesy of its interior Japanese garden, warm design, and delicious Japanese food.
When we arrived, we were immediately greeted and ushered to the back of the restaurant, which houses a seating area with a wonderful garden in the middle (pictured on the left). As night falls, and as you feast on the healthy selection of food, night falls and the garden glows peacefully in the background.
While perusing the menu, we enjoyed cocktails. My wife had the delicious Dhampir (Ikkomon, orange, lemon, brown sugar-vanilla syrup) and I had a shochu (I love me my imo shochu). After a while we thought we should just go hog wild and order a little bit of everything.
First to arrive was the oyster shooter. It was great start to the meal, and cleansed our palates. Next, we ordered some some sashimi and sushi. The fish was top quality and the sushi on offer was beautifully crafted and intelligently conceived. There were no heavy sauces or surplus ingredients. The rice, I note, was also beautifully seasoned, leaving us with the feeling that the chef knew exactly what he was doing.
As we ate, the other side dishes arrived, including some lovely gyoza, and a very nice and fragrant chawan mushi. The pace of the service was just right, and we felt well taken care of by our waiter and waitress, who zipped around the dining room attending to the many, full tables. When the bill arrived, I found the total to be very reasonable.
Momiji is a very special place. We’ve all been to countless restaurants, most forgotten and others forgettable, but this is one that will live with me for quite some time. In fact, we hadn’t even left for the night when we started to talk about coming to Seattle again to come back to Momiji.