There’s a cornucopia of culinary bargains to be found in the Valley, and we’re here to help you track them down
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Grab lunch in a Bento box at Momiji
3649 Main St./Rte. 209, Stone Ridge
The deal: $10 Lunchtime bento box
If you like your bargain dining in a simple, serene setting, the bento box lunch at this calm Japanese spot should do the trick. Rong Jian Ye (better known as David), opened the restaurant in April last year, and is the “sushi chef, cook, host, waiter — dishwasher sometimes,” he says, laughing. “It’s been crazy this year.”
Ye, a lanky, pleasant young man from Southern China, learned to cook Japanese food at his uncle’s restaurant there, when he was a teenager. After coming to the U.S., he trained for several years in Manhattan, and then cheffed at Hokkaido in New Paltz, a Japanese spot belonging to another uncle. “I don’t even know how to cook Chinese food,” Ye says.
“David” Ye, chef and owner of Momiji, a traditional Japanese restaurant in Stone Ridge
His menu offers all the classics: sushi, sashimi, and special house rolls; teriyaki and tempura dishes; and hot pots. At lunch time, you may spot local teachers and business people tucking into the popular $10 bento box. You can have either chicken or shrimp tempura; or chicken, beef, salmon or calamari teriyaki (calamari and salmon are the favorites, according to Ye). All come with either a California or a tuna roll, salad, and rice, with a bowl of miso soup to start. It’s a fresh and satisfying lunch that feels healthy, as well — a budget bonus. Wine, beer, and a small sake list are there for those who don’t get sleepy after drinking at lunch.
Momiji has the traditional, uncluttered décor you’d expect, with wooden floors, black chairs, a kimono displayed on one wall, and a few Asian accents. The airy dining room is separated from the sushi counter by an open wall of bamboo poles, with branches of silk maple leaves. “Momiji is the Japanese word for maple tree,” Ye explains. “And Ye means ‘leaf’ in Chinese.” That’s neat. (By the way, don’t miss the bathrooms — they’re neat, too.)
» Next stop: Poughkeepsie’s Melting Pot