by Melinda Gallo

Niente mimosa

For the festa della donna (Woman's Day), I didn't get any mimosa, but I did get sushi! Dave and I went to Momoyama tonight in Borgo San Frediano. I called yesterday to prenotare un tavolo (reserve a table) for us. All day, I thought about going for sushi. We would've gone to Il Canapone since tonight is sushi night, but we figured we should try all the other sushi places in Florence as well.

For lunch, I made spaghetti alle noci (spaghetti with walnuts). We ate it in Sorrento with the grano duro (hard wheat) pasta, so I had to buy that at the market yesterday. The grano duro pasta is much thicker than the regular pasta I buy. I think I even like it better than fresh pasta for some dishes.

I bought un etto di noci (100 grams of walnuts) that I finely chopped, sauteed them in burro (butter), added panna fresca (fresh cream), and parmigiano. After cooking the spaghetti al dente, I tossed them in with the sauce, dished them up, and topped them off with more parmigiano.

We left for Momoyama a little after 8PM. I wasn't prepared for how cold it was outside. I brought my gloves, but wished I had a hat. We considered taking a taxi, but decided the walk would do us good, especially after our hearty lunch.

We rang the buzzer at the door. Momoyama is a ristorante club (club restaurant) where you used to need purchase an annual tessera (membership card) to eat there, which is generally only a couple of Euros a year.

We were seated upstairs in a back room all alone. We felt that maybe we were being punished, but it ended up being quieter than in a few of the other rooms.

At a table near us, a mother and son were going to do an assaggio (tasting) of the sushi. The cameriere (waiter) explained a few things, like what maki, nigiri, and sashimi were. And how the wasabe is piccante (spicy), but should be mixed with the salsa di soia (soy sauce). He also explained that you can eat the ginger to clean out your palette between the various pieces of raw fish.

We ordered a platter of mixed sushi and a shrimp tempura roll. It was all quite good, but not as good as Eito and Il Canapone. Considering they do sushi every day, I expected the rice to be fresher. We were also surprised that the sushi chef, who was standing at a small kitchen area at the entrance of the restaurant, wasn't Japanese. At the other two restaurants, the sushi chefs are Japanese and I wonder if that makes a difference.

My friend Simone used to work at Momoyama, so I had been there before a long time ago, but I doubt we'll be returning. We are however considering trying out a few other sushi restaurants before month's end.

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