Reviews


rating star

Great for drinks, not for food. Almost everything has fish flakes if it has noodles or rice it seems. Stick with appetizers and drinks. A friend worked there and told me which stuff had fish flakes and basically nothing was left to eat outside of that.

And the responses from the kitchen indicates the chef wants to cut off veg items mostly off the menu instead of adding options.

Image for Sharyn Morrow

rating star

From the outside I'd expected moto-i to be much quieter than it was. We arrived near the end of happy hour on a Saturday and it was LOUD. The acoustics were so terrible it was difficult to carry on a conversation. We were seated in a booth next to a packed table of ten or so. One of the occupants of said table decided to belt out Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" to his buddies. These things happen and aren't necessarily in the restaurant's control (and it was mildly amusing). In the restaurant's control? Their web site does have a vegetarian menu yet when I asked the hostess about it she insisted she'd never heard of it. After repeatedly protesting that I'd just seen it and this was what had compelled me to give the restaurant a try she conferred with co-workers. After a half hour or so she returned with a menu she'd printed off and compared to their actual available menu. A lot of what I'd seen was no longer listed but she'd marked up an existing menu with little red Vs so we could order something to eat. The mock duck steamed buns were decent but not overly flavorful. We also ordered taro root chips (but ate them plain, as the chili aioli it is paired with isn't vegan). The mock duck drunken noodles were just ok. The sake they brew on site, however, was quite good. But we initially ordered it at the happy hour price of $5. When we ordered a second round no one mentioned happy hour was over and so those were $9/each. Overall I was not impressed and would only consider returning during happy hour, if I had something else planned in the neighborhood as well.

Image for conde.kedar

rating star

UPDATE: I've been to moto-i more than a few times since it opened back in October 2008. Their rooftop deck is nice, though I was bothered that they allow people to smoke up there, which killed a lot of the enjoyment of being outdoors on a summer day with fresh sake.

The sake menu has expanded, though I find myself less and less impressed with the sake as time goes on. I'm not sure why. Maybe their quality control has gone down? In any case, this is still one of the edgier places in the Twin Cities, and the US at large, as it brews its own sake on-site; good luck finding something like that anywhere else in the country. I must give moto-i credit for its sense of courage to try something new and keep Minneapolis firmly in innovative territory.

The food here is passable, at best, however. Make sure to ask lots of questions if you're vegan or vegetarian, as many dishes seem to contain fish or fish flakes. Based on what I've had, the ponzu broccoli tofu bun was bland and had a weird sweet sauce. The coconut lemongrass stir-fry was one of the most flavor-less dishes I've ever had; I had to douse it in soy sauce to get any sort of flavor.

The shirito pepper appetizer was pretty good though, if a bit too salty.

The free peanuts that came with the dish, which are cooked in lemongrass and chili, also pack a tasty kick, much more so than anything else on the menu.

The service is friendly. The bartender walked us through the various sakes they offer and how they're made. There are three levels of space to occupy, from the bustling ground floor, to the quiet, laid-back lounge area on the second floor, to the spacious rooftop deck.

All in all, this is a cool place, but the food is extremely bland and needs better labeling for vegan options. That said, any place that serves its own sake deserves recognition.

Image for vaxjo

rating star

I found Moto-I to be pretty much as I expected it to be. It's quite good (but where is the agedashi tofu?) with a little room for improvement. I'll be more excited about it when they can offer more than 3 varieties of sake.


rating star

I tried the micro-brewed sake, and it was good.
We sat at the bar and the bartender was nice enough to bring a menu back to the cooks and mark everything that could be vegan on it. I ordered the veggie steamed dumplings, which were alright. They were not mind blowingly amazing, but they were good. I only tried a taste of one of the steamed buns and thought it lacked much flavor.

I would return to this restaurant during happy hour when the sake is only $5/glass.

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