Having been to most of the sushi houses around here (Sakura, Otani, Fujiya House, Umi), I decided to try out Miso in an effort to see if it would outshine those other restaurants. I would say that at best, it is a competent restaurant. There are a few things it could improve upon before I consider giving it a four or five star review.
First, what I liked about Miso:
- It does have good atmosphere. Well furnished, with clean tables and floors, an attractive sushi bar area, comfortable lighting. We went on a cold night, so the fact that they had the heat running at an optimum was appreciated.
- Our waitress was on top of refilling our glasses, timely delivery of food, and generally being polite and affable. No complaints about the wait staff.
- The sushi was stylish and aesthetically pleasing. I love a sushi restaurant that cares about presentation. They definitely want to knock your socks off, and succeed in doing so. Color, shape, and visual texture are all taken into consideration. There is a jazzy, modern art flair to some of the "creative rolls" (the Bad Girl Roll is a great example).
- Nice, affordable sake selection - everything is in the $12-18 range.
What I thought was unusual about Miso, or could be improved upon:
- Cucumber factored into everything. Too much. My boyfriend later said he started to think the restaurant must run a cucumber farm on the side. There were cucumber slices in the water glasses, julienned cucumbers in the sake cups, and cucumber was in most of the sushi rolls. I have nothing against cucumber. And I appreciate the use of something unusual to garnish the water glasses and sake cups. However, when it's the same garnish every time, everywhere, and then it also shows up in the majority of your main course, it gets to be a bit "old hat."
- I was eating the final slice of my Philadelphia roll when I bit down on something rock hard. I discretely attempted to remove whatever it was from my mouth and then make sure it wasn't something horrific, like a bug or a nail, but whatever it was, it was too tiny and I ended up having to spit the food out into my napkin. When I tried to see what the hard thing might be, I realized that it was an uncooked grain of rice. I understand that an uncooked or undercooked grain of rice is bound to happen from time to time when you're cooking so much of it, but this was very off-putting and unpleasant. Especially when it was the last bite of my sushi. How you end a meal has a lot to do with how you feel about it over all. This almost killed it for me.
I am definitely open to going back to Miso. And I wouldn't discourage anyone from going there. However, Otani is still the "gold standard" Fredericksburg sushi restaurant in my eyes. Perhaps the next time I visit Miso I'll try one of their wok or thai dishes instead.