October 9, 2012

MOTOism: Izakaya MOTO

by Moto Yamamoto

Izakaya MOTO is an invite-only, very exclusive izakaya, located in the heart of Financial District in Manhattan (aka my apartment).

I had my friends over one night, and decided to host an izakaya-style evening. I have a large counter in my kitchen where guests can sit (well not so comfortabely yet, since I don’t have counter stools and my guests had to sit on regular stools, which made them very short, but hey, one step at a time, ok?), and get served whatever I cook. How fun is this? Since one of the guests was a vegetarian, I tried to accommodate her needs in some courses.

First course: pickled lotus roots slices with boiled enoki mushroom and grated daikon radish in ponzu sauce.

Very refreshing and perfect as an amuse bouche.

Second course, simple daikon salad.

Thinly julienned daikon with Pietro dressing. This is a Japanese-style Italian dressing — it is very versatile and I sometimes use to make salmon tartar as well. You can get it at any Japanese grocery store, and I always have this in my fridge for easy marinade, dressing, etc.

Third course: goma-ae. Spinach in sesame soy sugar sauce.

Fourth course: silky tofu topped with shiso seeds shoyu koji. Remember I made this last week?

I added some scallions and ginger for some kick, and simply poured  it over the sliced tofu.

From here, we moved onto the meat courses.

Fifth course: thinly sliced pork loin wrapped in enoki, and pan fried. Very izakaya.

For dipping, I mixed pickled plum (umeboshi) with a bit of mirin to cut the sourness off.

Sixth course: oyster and shiitake mushrooms sauteed with butter, shoyu and ponzu.

Simple yet I think this is the best way to enjoy mushrooms.

Seventh course: Ebi-chili: shrimp with kewpie mayo, ketchup, sugar and sesame oil sauce.

Final course: chicken teriyaki over rice, with thinly sliced lettuce. For our vegetarian guest, I made yaki-onigiri (grilled rice ball) with umeboshi.

The dinner was very good food with booze, hence we emptied five bottles of wine and bubbly among four of us.

I am sure you are wondering how you get access to this very exclusive izakaya. There’s no regular hours, unfortunately. It all depends on how bored I get, and if people can show up on very short notice. Truly an off-chance experience.

Of course, I can be hired for a scheduled event. Find details on my website.


  • Kayoko
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I can’t believe you use Pietro dressing, that is hilarious. There is something in that which makes it SO distinctly Pietro. What is it?

    I can’t wait to visit this exclusive dining experience.

  • Moto
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Pietro is totally my go-to dressing. I usually kick it up with a bit of citrus since it is so Pietro. I don’t know what’s in it, but I think it’s basically Italian dressing, added soy sauce and sesame oil, so very international.

  • Bryan Sanders
    Posted October 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Good lord I want this- ALL of this! Even the pietro.

  • Posted October 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Looks so mouthwatering. I haven’t tried the Pietro dressing yet so will make a dash to the Japanese shop!

  • Posted November 4, 2012 at 2:10 am

    beautiful! just started following this blog and love all your posts, really inspires me to put more effort into my daily cooking & presentation :)

  • nomad1984
    Posted September 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    OMG! These look so good and perfect for my house-warming dinner party! I will have 6 friends over. Any suggestion for a bigger plate? or two extra small plates?

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