Dinner at moto, September 4, 2007

moto is in a neighborhood where I wouldn't expect to find a restaurant:

There were almost as many delivery trucks as cars. It seemed perfectly safe, just a bit odd.

moto is in a row of three or four restaurants. We originally poked our heads into otom, thinking that moto was just the sort of place that might have a sign with the name of their restaurant spelled backwards. No, we were just being stupid; moto was a couple doors down. (otom is a related restaurant, though — "the comforting counter point to the exciting gastronomic adventure of moto.")

Here's a look from our table at the interior of moto:

Classy but subdued decor. There was background music playing all night, a bit of an odd soundtrack ranging from bossa nova to rap. We listened and chatted while our "menus were being prepared." I've had special-meal menus before, but not like this:

The menu was brought to each of us on a foot-long plate, with a tiny salad of potato cubes, corn, pine nuts, chèvre, and microgreens on the side. The waiter pointed out that the menus definitely had been printed especially for us:

and, of course, the menu was edible. The waiter said he'd give us some time to look over the menu, and he'd know we'd decided on our order once we started eating it. We already knew that we were going for the GTM ("grand tour moto") — I wasn't flying out from San Francisco to have an abridged five-course meal — but we tried nibbling the menus anyway. They certainly were edible ... after a fashion. The bottom layer was like a thin cracker, and the top layer (where the menu had been printed) was very, very salty. Of course the point of an edible menu is to show that it can be done, not to reach a perfect flavor balance, so I didn't really care that it was so salty. I ended up nibbling mine down to the GTM section:

and left it like this on the side of the table, so I could see what was coming.

As you might be able to read, the menu gently reminded us of a good rule of restaurant photography (no flash!), even though the lighting in the restaurant was pretty low. I did the best I could, given the circumstances and my crappy camera, but you'll probably notice that all my pictures are a bit fuzzy and yellow-tinted. Adjusting the color balance didn't do the pictures any favors, so I decided to keep them natural.

On to the first course...