427 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024
(212) 580-0007

Walking with Bro on the Upper West Side brought us to Momoya. Well, actually, it brought us to Haru, but since I'd already eaten there, I forced us to try Momoya, which is pretty much its clone, instead.

I really like the Upper West Side, and if ever I decide to move back into Manhattan (read: inherit money) I can see it being on my shortlist of neighborhoods to look seriously into. There's a relaxed feeling that it has with its outdoor cafes and greenmarkets. Zabars and Fairway are there. There are far fewer cold, stale new high-rises than on the Upper East Side, and far more warmth. I feel like the Upper East Side has people with a lot of money who let you know it. The Upper West Side is more family-ish, and the people with a lot of money don't flaunt. As a result, the restaurants that are there are less ostentatious. Momoya is like that. It looks trendy, but it's not that expensive. I mean... it's not cheap either... like I said, a Haru clone.

If only Momoya tasted better (or at least tasted unique in some way), it could become my go-to place, if for no other reason than because I felt so relaxed there. I could have easily sat there for hours BSing if my train ride home wasn't so long.

Bro and I, trying desperately to keep the night cheap (thank you MasterCard), ordered no drinks. We stuck to water. We started with an order of Shumai, vegetable chicken and seafood dumplings, and Gyoza, pork dumplings. Please note that no two Japanese restaurants fill their Shumai or Gyoza with the same things. See my last review to note that Ramen Sekagaya filled its gyoza with chicken and seafood.) The shumai was somewhat bland, but still quite tasty, while the gyoza was entirely tasteless and completely not worth the money. Their respective dipping sauces were of little help. This would sadly be a recurring theme of the evening.

Next up was the Wild Mushroom Soup. This was the best dish, but the broth was a tad thin and could have used a little more wight... whatever that means. It's very mushroomy, as one would expect, and I like mushrooms. In fact, the soup was almost entirely mushrooms, shitake, enoki, and button. Bro would have hated it. He's not the biggest fan of fungifood. Pity. Bro instead chose a single order of Sweet Potato Tempura. Two slices of sweet potato, deep fried to perfection. We both enjoyed these and I still think that Bro should have ordered another round. I mean, they were only two bucks.

Bro ordered a nice standard Toro Roll. I didn't try it, but he didn't complain. I guess that's a good thing. I mean, he didn't lay claim to it being the roll to end all rolls or anything. But a good roll's a good roll. I ordered two of the "special" rolls. Neither were bad, but neither were something I found myself drooling over either. First up, the Salmon Crunchy Roll, a roll of salmon, avocado and mango, wrapped in crunchy rice. Crunchy rice. Interesting, but really you feel like you eating uncooked rice. The creamy texture of the filling was a pleasant contrast, and I liked the way that the mango complimented the salmon, but ultimately it just felt like a variation on a theme, rather than anything worthy of the designation as "special". And so I move on. Next up, the Fresh Spring Roll, a large, lettuce-wrapped roll filled with shrimp, snow crab, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and red onion with a sweet and sour chili dipping sauce. This should have, on a hot summer day, been the perfect roll and should have left me feeling guiltless. But it did neither. If food can be devoid of emotion, it was. It was also quite heavy. I mean, yeah, it wasn't "bad" for what it was. But I didn't really care whether I finished it or not. I ultimately did, since I was paying for it. Plus Mr. Dogz showed up for a short spell and I felt like he shouldn't have to eat alone. Despite having had dinner already, he ordered a Spicy Tuna Roll, which he felt was generic. "Bland", I believe was his deeply eloquent description. I didn't eat any of it.

The truth is that with so so many many truly excellent Japanese restaurants to chose from, how can I really recommend going to one that's just flat-out mediocre? Go to Haku on Broadway and 89th instead. I'll try reviewing them soon.

A soup, a single a la carte tempura dish, two dumpling orders, and four sushi rolls, plus tax and tip was $78.

There's also a location in Chelsea at 21st street and Seventh Avenue.

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