Saturday, March 15, 2008

Midori's Floating World Cafe

Visited on Friday, March 14th with Jake, Allison, Jeff, and Lori

Outside Midori's

Ben's Review

We had 7pm reservations at the Floating World Cafe with our friends Jake, Allison, Jeff & Lori. We got there a little late because we went a completely stupid way from downtown (we went down LaSalle to Lake and then east on Lake, we should have taken Hiawatha); I also realized it's right across the street from my Dad's offices.

Jake and Allison were already there when we came in and we joined them at the table and ordered Sapporo's. We had heard that the service wasn't the best here but I thought the service was great, we didn't wait long to get our food or drinks, and I was never looking for our server.


We ordered some soup, edamame, and I got a side of white rice before the sushi came out. I don't really know why, but I love plain white rice with some soy sauce, and the best part is that no matter where you go, the white rice is always good - there's just no way to screw it up!

Ben's rice

Erin, Jeff, and Lori all got soup - egg drop for Jeff and Lori and miso soup for Erin, they all smelled great (the soup I mean).

Our rolls came out and we quickly dug into them, after letting Erin get a couple pictures, I got in trouble because I stabbed some wasabi off the plate before she could take a photo :)


The rolls were excellent, I really love that unagi sauce that they put on the caterpillar rolls, it's fantastic! We tried to order the 'Roll from Hell' which was supposed to be a really spicy roll, but they didn't have it?? This has happened to us a couple times now when we've gone out, when a place is out of a specialty item, grrr!!

In any case, the food was really good, the beer was as expected, as were the prices - no complaints here.

The ratings:

  • Service: The service was good, our server wasn't overbearing, she left us alone unless we needed something.
  • Food: The rolls were great, as was the soup, rice, and edamame.
  • Drinks: They had a couple Japanese beers in bottles, pretty standard for a sushi place. They also had several options for wine. Nothing special here, but it was what I expected.
  • Ambiance: This is a small place, and it seems friendly. At one point I went to the restroom and I saw a little girl with a blanket laying on the floor reading a book, so it might be a family business :)
  • Price: It was $142 for all six of us, we split the bill evenly so it was ~$47 plus tip, which is reasonable for sushi I think.
  • Convenience: There isn't a parking lot, but the restaurant borders a neighborhood, so there's plenty of street parking. It's also not too far off of the light rail I believe, its just east of Hiawatha on Lake St.
(Go get 'em, Jake!)

Erin's Review

The first I had heard about Midori's was when it was picked for Best Japanese last year by the City Pages, and I've been wanting to visit ever since. I usually read a few reviews and search the Chowhound midwest board before going to a new place, so I know what to expect. Our previous sushi experiences have been at Fuji Ya (both locations), Sakura, Origami, Martini Blu, and Wasabi and I knew this would be pretty different from those because of the decor and size. Midori's is kind of a hole in the wall neighborhood place, and I think it would be great to go to often if you live nearby.

Midori's Floating World Cafe

I read reports of poor service here - also, my coworker Kelley had just been there last weekend and didn't have the greatest service. I think being prepared for that lowered my expectations, but the service seemed okay. I did have to catch the server's eye a few times to get something, but since the place is tiny, that wasn't difficult. The reason Ben was never looking for the waitress was because I am always one step ahead of him and I had already called her over. It's kind of like magic. One woman (I read that it is Midori herself?) makes all of the sushi, so it can take awhile depending on if everyone is ordering it at the same time. It didn't take long for us at all - and we got 6 rolls first, then 2 more, then the final 2 as they were prepared which was a great way to do it I thought.

Possibly Midori herself?

My miso soup was great - nice and hot. I liked that I had the choice of ordering small or large - I got the small and felt the portion size was perfect. The edamame was also fine.

Miso soupedamame

None of us are really huge fans of nigiri pieces (yes, we are "that kind" of sushi eaters, I guess - mock us if you will) so we chose a bunch of rolls to split. It is always hard to decide how many rolls to order when in a group, so I use a formula (it is complex, so brace yourselves...) that Becca told me about - take the number of people in the group, multiply by 2, and then subtract 1. So for us, that was 6 x 2 = 12 - 1 = 11. Whew, I'm sorry about all that math. Eleven seemed kind of excessive to me, so we ordered 10. In hindsight (which is 20/20), we probably should have just ordered 11 because none of us were really full when we left.

our sushi order
(The way you order the sushi - this seems like a good sign to me - easy for them to change the menu according to what's fresh and what is available, except this had the "Roll from Hell" which was unavailable that night...)

We ordered the caterpillar, dynamite, Number 9, 2 spicy tunas, spicy salmon, 2 Philadelphia, shrimp tempura and California rolls. All of them were very good, the fish tasted fresh and it was beautifully presented. I did notice that the caterpillar and dynamite had 6 pieces - normally I think I have gotten 8 pieces each with those rolls at other places, but the pieces of those rolls did seem a little bigger - they might have just done this because there were 6 of us, I'm not sure. I would say more about the sushi, but I don't know what I'm talking about. So I will just leave it at that.


I didn't really think the food at this place was any better or worse than other places we've been. Well, better than Wasabi, definitely, but about the same quality I've gotten at the other places. I still think Origami is best, but that is also a little bit more expensive. Not much though - and the ambiance of Origami is much nicer. I certainly wouldn't refuse to go back here, but I probably won't return just because it isn't convenient to where we live.

As an aside, after we left Midori's we went to The Loop in the warehouse district because I had heard that it was a pretty cool place. I really enjoyed it - I thought the crowd was friendly and fun. Ben enjoyed it too, until they turned the music up and people started dancing. I believe his exact words when we left were "That was the WORST BAR IN AMERICA" - a title that I personally reserve for the Mario Keller Bar in Gasthofs (as mentioned in a previous post), especially after midnight on weekends. At any rate, if you are looking for a fun place to go downtown, I liked the Loop - just prepare yourself that it MIGHT be a little loud. A few friends got food there too and I heard no complaints - it is also open for lunch.

(Update from Ben: Upon further reflection, The Loop is not the worst bar in America. I said that in the heat of the moment, and I was wrong. The drinks are reasonably priced, our server was cool, they have those U-shaped booths that I really like, and the bar was lit up with a cool neon red glow. I just hate music that makes it impossible to talk to the people around you.)


Midori's Floating World Cafe
3011 27th Ave S.



bietz said...

NO NIGIRI!? it's like going to a strip club and hating boobs.

Erin & Ben said...

I think a more accurate comparison would be to say it is like going to a strip club and being indifferent to boobs.

bietz said...

haha. fair enough.:)

Kate said...

they don't even HAVE sashimi, but i requested it and they obliged.

nice collage. how would one do something like that? ;)

Noodleman said...

they don't even HAVE sashimi, but i requested it and they obliged.

Of course they have sashimi. Every sushi-ya has sashimi, whether or not it's listed on their menu. Sashimi is just the raw, sliced fish served without the sushi meishi (e.g. nigiri, maki or roll form).

Ryan said...

Wait, the girl was laying on the floor in the bathroom?

ben said...

ha! no the girl was lying on the floor outside the bathroom, at the back of the restaurant, that would have been a little creepy.

Kate said...

Well obviously since I had it they HAVE it... they simply don't have it on their menu, and it's my preferred serving of raw fish... raw fish!

Ferocious J said...

That little girl is the daughter of the owners, Midori (who you have pictured) and her husband, a tall, older gentleman who probably was in the kitchen all night. When we take our daughters to Midori's, they love to sit in the tatami room and play with her (if it's not occupied).

We love Midori's (it's the closest sushi to us) and we highly recommend it to all. I hope you sampled some of the many teas on offer -- some are spectacular and hard to find locally.

I highly recommend sitting at the sushi bar (yes, I know, a group of 6 is less functional at the sushi bar because you can only reasonably talk to the people right next to you, but you avoid any issues with service).

I was surprised at the comment about Wasabi, as we've only had great experiences there. It may be, item for item, the best value sushi/sashimi in town (we're the opposite of Ben and Erin's group -- we rarely order rolls). The head sushi chef at Wasabi came from Origami and we generally sit right in front of him when we go -- he's terrific (and funny!). I've heard bad things about the teppanyaki at Wasabi, but it's been my experience that teppanyaki is more about the show than the food, so we avoid it.

Anyway, just found your blog and I think it's great -- keep up the good writing and check out Renee and Steve's blog also (at for something similar. Cheers!

Erin & Ben said...

Ferocious J - Thanks for the comment! We have actually been to Wasabi quite a few times and like it because it is very affordable - the rolls just don't seem to be as good as other places. I think it is because they are very simple (which is probably why they are so affordable). Thanks for sending Renee and Steve's blog - it is great!

Anonymous said...

Unfortuneatly I have experienced lunch-time teppanyaki from Wasabi. It was a horrible experience - everything was wrong. The sauce too sweet, they gave us some wierd ranch sauce, veggies undercooked. Horrible. The decor was cheap looking and the booth we were at broken. Do not go there...

Anonymous said...
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