Olio’s First Restaurant Review!
One of the great certainties of visiting the in-laws in Minneapolis is that we will eat like there’s no tomorrow. The sub-certainty of that fact is that we will always eat at either 1) some type of restaurant I’ve never had an opportunity to try (i.e. dim sum) or [more likely] 2) some super-new or super-trendy or super-fancy restaurant. This time: new/trendy.
Friday night we dined at Moto-I in Uptown. The first sake brewery outside of Japan, the place pretty much just promises the unique experience of consuming home-brewed sake in the comfort of a trendy Minneapolis bar. Which is fine, because that’s what you get (plus maybe some sake in your lap and chopstick stains on your back – some of the muscly tight-shirt-wearing waiters need more practice). The dimly-lit, wood/metal casual atmosphere is at least not intimidating.
The menu consists mostly of tiny “Snacks to Go with Alcohol” and noodle or ride dishes. The spicy Thai beef jerky was at least spicy; the peanuts were un-interesting, the dumplings were uninspired, dried around the edges and pasty. My red curry dish looked amazing on the menu and disappointed me as something I could have made better myself. The most dizzying part of the whole experience is the chaotic delivery of food – whenever it’s ready, it’s coming out. And with a party of 8, there was a steady stream of dumplings and soups and noodles and sauces everywhere, in no particular order.
But, like I said, the place is about the sake. I have to disclose that I am the furthest thing from a sake expert, but I do have a somewhat developed palate for fine spirits. And I was sitting next to a sister-in-law who has spent some time in Asia and knows better. So… most of us ordered a sake flight, 3 small glasses to sample 3 varieties, on a very detailed place mat about the styles of sake (you can learn about Moto-I’s sake brewing process here). They were decent, a little too sweet for my taste. My favorite was the unpressed Nigori, which was cloudy with rice starch and the least fruity-tasting. The SIL who knows better guessed that that was the most authentic-tasting. But what do I know.
What I was most excited about I didn’t even get to try – table top shuffleboard! I do, however, know how awesomely fun shuffleboard is (and how much I kick ass at it), and so can incorporate it into my final verdict:
If you’re looking to say “I went to the only sake brewery outside of Japan last night,” go there for a drink, some shuffle board, and some beef jerky.