“Yay!” I exclaimed one day about two weeks ago. “There’s a new Japanese restaurant open next to Nido!” Well, it turns out that that new restaurant IS Nido. So I was both depressed about the loss of a place that served delicious octopus and excited about the opening of a new place to try. Spring and rebirth and all that. I’m trying to be zen about this, okay?!
Momo Yakitori didn’t change anything on the exterior or the interior, which is okay because it’s adorable and full of floral Spanish tile. Well, to be fair, they did change one very important thing on the interior, but I’ll get to that later.
They don’t have a whole lot of cocktails or beers (and what beers they do offer are all obscure Japanese imports, and therefore overpriced), so my husband went with the Fossi merlot (which cost $8 and he loved. Like I said, we have very low standards when it comes to wine) and I checked out their special cocktail. They have a good selection of sake and shochu, and my wonderful cocktail had plum shochu with grapefruit and prosecco. It was tart, fruity, and super refreshing.
The ordering is done a la carte like sushi, and with little explanation. After probing our server, we ended up ordering the “Lucky 7”–basically seven random skewers, just so we could get a variety. We also had the cucumber salad, the pumpkin, and the maitake mushrooms.
Round 1: cucumbers. Tart, crunchy, pickled, refreshing, and slightly spicy. This was a good size starter for two people. After we finished, they showed up with a big bowl of complementary cabbage salad as a palate cleanser, which again was plain but nicely vinegary and crisp.
Round 2: Vegetables. These didn’t actually come next, but I want the meat to be the piece de resistance. They were small, but they were also, like, $3 each (as compared with last night’s overpriced adventure at Chloe in which vegetables cost $16 each). The maitake was great. In the last couple of years, this has become my favorite mushroom, hands down. It was grilled to perfection, served in a thin, soy-based sauce. The pumpkin was tender but pretty plain.
Round 2.5: Chicken. I apologize that I can’t fully explain each of these as there were both way too many things as well as it being chef’s choice, which means that I just don’t even know what I put in my mouth.
From front to back: pearl onions, thighs with shio sauce, spicy chicken meatballs, something else, duck hearts, another chicken thing, and chicken breast with shisito pepper sauce. Everything was good. I liked the pepper sauce best, as well as the chicken meatballs. Have you ever had even a decent chicken meatball? I didn’t think so. This one was a little spicy, but it had a great texture. My husband liked the unknown skewer second from the back. Like the others, it was lightly sauced. It’s nice to eat chicken that’s not cooked to death (I’m as guilty as anyone of doing this). A quick note about the duck hearts: they were heart-y in texture but lacked that nasty iron flavor. It’s not a thing I would go out of my way to eat again, but I ain’t mad.
When it was time to finish up, they recommended their dessert option: a marshmallow skewer with pumpkin sauce. We also ordered a shot of the our server’s favorite shochu. I can’t even explain how good this marshmallow was. The pumpkin puree was the right level of sweet and the marshmallow was crisp and caramelized, and a good size for sharing. The shochu was a nice touch too.
So, I promised that the interior had changed in a notable way, so here it is: Momo made a solid Japanese-style upgrade to their bathroom:
…a fully electric Japanese bidet! Now, I am a member of the cult of the bidet, but this place just took it to a new level. Firstly, the toilet seat was heated. This was a pleasant surprise. Secondly, my home bidet is so high-pressure and SO COLD. This bidet was automatic and warmed, and included a blow-dry option. The whole experience at Momo Yakitori was fabulous, but this bathroom was just the icing on the cake. Do yourself a favor and use this bathroom.
Price: $40 per person.
Bottom line: RIP Nido, welcome Momo! I’ll be back here, for the food, the service, and the great pacing of the meal.
BOTTOM line: Use the bathroom.