Midori’s Floating World Cafe

Lizzie, got a job. It’s a pretty nice job, with benefits and a salary and everything. Not in her field (biology), but it is a job she likes. So I took her out for a congratulatory dinner, which ultimately gave me a chance to try a new restaurant.  Also, we had been in a routine for a few months of meeting almost every week to work on a project, and those meetings had stopped due to scheduling issues (like, that she went and got a job …).   It was time for another dose.

My plan was to trick Lizzie into determining where we were going to eat.  This was going to be difficult.  Lizzie is a quiet, unassuming and thoughtful person whose first inclination would be to accommodate my (or anyone else’s) preferences in matters such as this.  It would be totally out of character for her to start out by telling me where we should go for dinner.  But I wanted her to pick, partly because it was her celebration and partly because of a quirk I have.  Sometimes I like to experience the preferences and choices of someone that I care for.  I wanted Lizzie to suggest where to eat, and I wanted to try her favorite selections off the menu and probably drink what she was drinking and so on.

I’m still grinning at the conversation.

“So, where do you want to go?”

“Oh, anywhere, I don’t care.”

(And so on and so on…via email, in person, for three or four days. Then, finally, we’re in the car about to drive off to…somewhere.)

“So, have you eaten anyplace good lately?”

“Yeah, I like this new Japanese restaurant off Lake Street.”

“Oh. So when was the last time you ate there?”

“Two days ago.”

“Oh. So you probably don’t want to eat there again right away.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Well, there’s Greek.”

“I could do Greek.”

“We could just go over to Eat Street and see what happens.”

“We could.”

“Maybe Azia or some place.”

“We could.”

“You want to eat in your Japanese restaurant, right?”

“It’s my favorite place. I want to show it to you.”

“What will we order?”

“Eel. It’s my favorite.”

“And what will we–”

“Sake. Of course.”

“Okay, lead the way.”

And thusly, we proceeded to Midori’s Floating World Cafe on 27th Ave in South Minneapolis. At the time we ate there, it was right across the street from the old Resources Center for the America’s building, and next to The Real CMF’s favorite restaurant (to which I had not yet been). Subsequently, Midori’s has moved a couple of hundred feet away.

We had one of the noodle dishes, a biggish bottle of hot sake, and some sushi.

As we were ordering, I remembered that neither of us had brought along our List of Endangered Fish: Do Not Eat wallet insert, but we tried to do our best by staying away from sea mammals and anything that was really expensive.

It turns out that Lizzie and I have pretty much exactly the same taste in sushi: It’s all good, but there must be eel.  We figured eel would be safe from an environmental point of view, but we later learned that we had that totally backwards.  Eel is one of the worst things you can order from the menu if you care about the planet.  Oh, well.  We learn.

I liked the fact that we were drinking hot sake.  I had not had that since being in Japan a few years ago.  In fact, I regaled Lizzie with a story about a fairly intensive foray into the world of hot sake at a bar in Kyoto.  Apparently, the custom in Kyoto is for young men to hook up with a particular small neighborhood bar.  These bars are all owned and run by women, who develop bonds with these young men and have a sort of motherly relationship with them.  So we went to the bar where two colleagues, both of whom work in Central Africa, had “grown up.”

Now, you have to understand that my Japanese is nonexistent, and my colleagues have hardly ever spent time in the English-speaking world, so their English sucked.  My host, a woman who had lived for years in the U.S., was with us, and her English was perfect. But the main point of this gathering was for us Africanists to spend some time together.  So, as it developed, Mother Bar Owner and my host (Hitomi) had a nice conversation about who knows what, in Japanese, while my two colleagues and I spend the evening reminiscing in KiSwahili. Much to the amusement of the occasional customer who wandered briefly into this tiny little establishment.

What was really funny was also too subtle for almost anyone to have noticed:  We learned our KiSwahili in very different contexts.  So, I was speaking with a Pygmy accent, one of my colleagues was speaking with a Chinese accent, and another was speaking with an Italian accent.  That was funny.

I have three things to say about Midori’s Floating World Cafe. 1) It has a very nice atmosphere, a small establishment with a simple lineup of unpretentious tables and a sushi bar, family run, staffed with excellent servers. 2) The food is quite good. And 3) the prices are very reasonable.

Lizzie is living in what we used to call a “crash house”…the sort of place I misspent a fair amount of time in my youth.  Her stories of life at home reminded me of my own stories, which made good comparisons, so I think we ended up making each other laugh a lot. Maybe we were a little boisterous, because when we got around to leaving, we were the only customers and the proprietor seemed really happy (to see us go?).

I highly recommend dinner with Lizzie. But since most of you can’t have that, I recommend that you try Midori’s Floating World Cafe in South Minneapolis with someone who makes you smile.


Midori’s Floating World Cafe is located on 2629 Lake Street, Minneapolis, which is a new location.

And speaking of sushi, this is the video of the famous Japanese Frilled Shark.

What sushi to eat, what sushi to avoid.

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5 Responses to “Midori’s Floating World Cafe”

  1. February 25th, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    the real me says:

    Greg: might wanna update the address to Midori’s-John and family moved across the street, and now face Lake Street–great location, great sushi ( organic wasabe!…mmm…)
    Gandhi is taking over their old space and putting in a kabab ghar…

  2. February 25th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    rsm says:

    Hmm… that list is mostly only good for West Coast eaters at least w.r.t. the import/which ocean tags.

  3. February 25th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    rsm says:

    Correction to the above. The site is great for US eaters… I need a Japanese version please. And armorhead seems to be missing from there.

    And *sniff* Ankimo is on the ‘Avoid’ list.

  4. February 26th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Greg Laden says:

    CMF: Yes, this post was actually written a couple of weeks ago and has been in the cue. I’ve not been to the new Midori’s location, but I have been to the about to expand Ghandi’s yet. Have not written review yet. May require another visit.

  5. February 27th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    the real me says:

    greg: cool. Johns new digs ( Midori’s) is really tastefully decorated, and high visibility. It makes the block look cozy from the front –especially considering that it is right next to the radio Rey offices with all of that raucous ranchero music…

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