Close To Home: Speakeasy Miso

Athena ScalziFor a few months, I’d had my eye on an upcoming restaurant called Speakeasy Miso, as I patiently waited for them to open their doors in downtown Troy. Last week, they held a soft opening to showcase their drinks and izakaya style bar food, and I jumped at the opportunity to finally try them out.

Speakeasy Miso is a sister restaurant to Speakeasy Ramen in Springfield, which happens to be a place on my list I’ve been meaning to check out for a while. Since ramen is one of my favorite foods, the addition of a ramen shop to Troy is more than welcome in my book, especially because I usually have to drive over an hour to obtain it.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Miso was the color scheme. Sleek blacks, dark wood, modern decor, and dim lighting made it feel like it was truly an underground speakeasy, while still feeling upscale. There were tables, booths, hi-tops, bar seating, and some interesting plush red chairs in the waiting area.

I expected a full house, but it was surprisingly not very crowded. Only about two or three tables were sat, and a couple people at the bar. The host greeted me immediately and was really friendly, and sat me at a table by the window. He ended up being my waiter, too.

The menu was limited due to it being a soft opening, but I saw plenty of things right off the bat that I wanted to try.

Two paper menus for Speakeasy Miso. One is the food and drink menu, and the other is a list of sake. There's cocktails, wines, appetizers, and more listed.

The first thing I ordered was a glass of 21 Barrels’ Lychee Hard Cider:

A pint glass full of lychee hard cider sitting in front of a window.

That’s right, I ordered a cider from the place I literally work at. Why, you may ask? Well, 21 Barrels made two flavors specially for Speakeasy Miso that you can only get at the restaurant! Also, I love lychee, so I knew I had to try it while I was here since we don’t even have it at my workplace. The other flavor is ginger, but I didn’t end up trying that one.

As for the lychee cider, it was a little less sweet than I was expecting. It was more on the light and refreshing side, which made it a perfect pairing for the first appetizer I got. Here we have the fried pork potstickers:

Three pork potstickers alongside a small container of spicy soy sauce, sitting on a small black plate.

These were pretty good! They were crispy and had a good amount of filling. I was skeptical about the sauce because I knew it was going to be spicy. It definitely had a kick to it, but it didn’t physically pain me to consume, so.

I had never had sake before, but I figured now was as good a time as any to try it. They had a whole menu for it, after all. I didn’t know which to get, so I let the waiter pick for me, and he brought out the Atago no Matsu Honjozo. It was hot sake, and this one in particular was the only one on the list you could get served hot. It came in this pretty carafe:

A blue ceramic carafe with a tiny matching cup holding the hot sake.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but what I got was basically hot dry white wine. The temperature was slightly off-putting to me. I can’t say I’ve consumed hot alcohol before, so it was a bit unusual. I’m also not a fan of dry alcohol, mostly because I have an absolutely chronic sweet tooth. It wasn’t bad, just not really my speed.

These beef dumplings, though? These were exactly my speed:

A small black plate with three steamed dumplings, sprinkled with cilantro and a spicy sauce.

Holy moly, these dumplings were seriously perfection. The outside was so soft and warm, and the inside had a large portion of meat inside:

A close up of the middle of one of the dumplings, showing the generous hunk of meat and filling inside.

The filling was flavorful, the cilantro on top brought a fresh brightness to contrast the perfectly spicy sauce, and everything worked together so beautifully. I almost got another order of these, but opted to get some edamame instead.

A square black bowl containing salted edamame.

Edamame is a must have for me at any Japanese restaurant. Good edamame is a beautiful thing, and I could honestly eat a hundred of these suckers.

I decided to get a cocktail while I worked on these, and went for the Southside:

A tall, stemmed glass containing a light green liquid adorned with mint leaves.

I quite enjoyed this cocktail. It was citrusy, bright, and slightly sweet. You really can’t go wrong with lemon and mint, and I always love an herb as a garnish on a drink.

I thought I ought to give sake another shot, this time a cold one. I tried the Hojun Yuzu Sake, and I honestly cannot get over how it was brought out:

A glass carafe and small matching cup sitting atop a wood board.

This is so cute! I had no idea I had such a need for pretty carafes and tiny matching glasses, but visiting Miso has shown me that I do in fact need these things.

I really like yuzu, and this sake definitely delivered on the citrusy, yuzu flavor. I learned that I prefer cold sake over hot, and this one reminded me a lot of a less sweet lemonade.

Having good potstickers is great, but having good vegan options is also great, so I tried the vegan potstickers to see how they compared:

A close up of the inside of the vegan potstickers, revealing the veggie filling.

Truth be told, I actually like the vegan potstickers over the pork ones! They were slightly more crispy, had a really yummy filling that tasted very sweet potato-y, and honestly I was just happy that the vegan option wasn’t just a worse version of its meaty counterpart. While they did have a gluten free option as well that I’d be happy to try, I was pretty full at this point, so I didn’t go for it.

I ended the outing with the Rubicon Creek Old Fashioned:

A short glass filled with bourbon, adorned with an orange peel and a maraschino cherry.

I love that they have both an orange peel and a maraschino cherry in their old fashioned. Some places don’t get that right. However, I remembered why I don’t drink old fashioneds. I don’t particularly care for bourbon. So, the Southside cocktail takes the win for me in this competition.

This is a bit of a bonus, but look at this amazing light fixture in the bathroom:

A pretty pink glass blown light fixture.

It turns out, as I read in this article, that a lot of the lamp shades are blown glass by a local artist. That is seriously awesome.

Light fixtures aside, Speakeasy Miso was a great experience all around. The service was super quick and extraordinarily friendly, the food was priced well and really yummy, they have so many different types of alcohol to choose from, the atmosphere is pleasant, and I had a wonderful time. I highly recommend checking out Miso, and I cannot wait to go back once they release their full menu.

Are you a fan of sake? Do you like potstickers or dumplings better? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!


19 Comments on “Close To Home: Speakeasy Miso”

  1. It has been a long time since I have had sake, but I really enjoyed it. My late husband and I used to live in NJ, near a really good Japanese restaurant. You could get hot and cold sake there. I preferred the hot. I have never had either potstickers or dumplings, so I don’t have an option on either

  2. I hope you’re able to share this with the restaurant. I’m sure they’d love to hear the feedback (especially since it’s so positive) and if I were them, I would point people here from their website for curious diners :)
    I love your writing style. It makes me feel like I’m sharing your meal with you.

  3. The last time I remember having sake was long before it got popular, and I think only hot options were available. The cold one you tried sounded interesting… I think I’m more incline towards dumplings, but those potstickers looked really good!

    Also, just wanted to say I really enjoy your restaurant reviews!

  4. Don’t want to sound too parent-y, but after all those drinks, I hope you didn’t drive very far.
    Definitely the dumplings. We love dumplings, and though I also like potstickers, if it comes down to one or the other, it’s the dumplings hands down.
    NO to hot sake. Yuck. The citrus one looked good.
    Yes, we always get edamame in a Japanese (or Thai) place, as my wife really likes them.

  5. Those dumplings and potstickers look incredible! I can’t say that I really prefer one style over the other; I like to have the contrasting textures of both, especially if the fillings are also contrasting in flavor and texture.

    I haven’t had sake since about the 1970s but I definitely remember hot sake feeling like aviation gasoline when it hit my throat. I don’t think I ever tried the cold variety. As I am not a drinker of any alcohol at all at my age, I’d let the younger folks at the table enjoy the sake, while I eat all their dumplings.

    Thanks for your reviews, Athena – I really enjoy these little glimpses of the places near you!

  6. Had a long comment about potstickers and dumplings being the same thing then I realized you were at a JAPANESE restaurant & I’m only familiar with the CHINESE versions of these two dishes. 🤦‍♀️

    Enjoyed the review – I’d like to get more into Japanese food but like you I don’t know of any Japanese restaurants nearby. The food looks really good!

  7. I hope you review the full menu, as well! My leftovers are looking pretty lame. Lol. But honestly, my very first thought was like Jeff M ’God I hope she didn’t drive home’.

  8. See, bourbon’s where most old fashioneds go wrong. Brandy is a much better fit.

  9. Good review and the food looks great. I haven’t had sake since I lived in Japan 50 years ago. I’ll bet it’s improved since then.

    Living in Honolulu, the things you call dumplings are what we here call gyoza/potstickers. Either way, they’re delicious if made right, and it looks like your new Miso restaurant knows how.

  10. Every time I read one of your delightful restaurant reviews, I think about how much Ohio has changed since I was growing up there in the sixties and seventies. I was fascinated with ethnic food when I was a kid (and I still am) and there was nothing like you describe then. There might have been in Cleveland, but we didn’t get up that way very often. And when we did, my dad preferred Italian food. But my mom would bring me cookbooks from the library, and then my dad would drive me around trying to find some of the ingredients in the books. I remember making won ton for a show and tell at school and having found the wrappers at some tiny little store in Akron.

    Anyhoo, I’m so glad that you have these opportunities to try all the dumplings in the world!

  11. If you haven’t already done so, see if you can find one of the Chinese style dim sum (steamed dumpling) places. Traditionally, the waitstaff brings around a cart with 6-10 different varieties of steamed goodies in their own tiny steamers with 2-4 in each. You pick what you want, and they mark it down on a punch card; they will usually make 2-3 passes by your table so you can try several varieties (and they can collect the empty steamers.)

  12. I guess I assumed you only had a sip of each of the drinks, but I too was a little worried. I definitely wouldn’t want more unless I liked it, and even then I couldn’t drink a whole serving of anything alcoholic. Such a waste. Speaking of foreign ingredients, I watch a lot of K-drama, and found the garden center had perilla plants, so I got one, to see what that was like, apparently a sweetish flavor like cinnamon or cloves, so I’ll have to explore what kind salad or savoury will go well with it. Enjoyed your review!

  13. If you’re interested in trying out different ramen places – Sima down here in Dayton has a ramen night on Thursdays. It’s a Japanese/Korean place, so it has a great menu overall too.

  14. As others have alluded to, potstickers are a type of dumpling.. Dumpling is any kind of filling inside a doughy wrapper- pierogi, ravioli, potsticker are all dumplings.
    That said, going by your pictures I would say actually the “beef dumpling” is traditionally what is called a potsticker, the deep fried ones are the wrong shape.

  15. Another great review, Athena! I really enjoyed the photos to go with each food and drink. It was quite a tasting, with your pairings. The foods and drinks were well presented and your descriptions were detailed. Please go back again with the full menu. I can’t wait for more!

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