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Tweaked

Dorjee Momo - Dorjee and Amberjade Tsering's Tibetan Pop Up Above Bullfrog Bagels near Eastern Market

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Dorjee Momo should be on the radar screen for all people who love good personal food mixed with a heartwarming story.

Dorjee Tsering was born to a nomadic Tibetan family, became a Buddist monk, fled Tibet to Nepal and then India, met his now wife Amberjade, and eventually settled in Washington, DC.  With stints at Bullfrog Bagels, Maketto, and Honeycomb Grocer, Dorjee has opened Dorjee Momo, a small pop-up restaurant located on the second floor of Bullfrog Bagel near Eastern Market.  The pop-up is open Thursdays thru Sundays and is expected to be located at Bullfrog until late summer.

The upstairs space is small and intimate, with low lighting, a handful of bench-style seating tables and four seats at the bar.  The staff is friendly and enthusiastic about what they are producing.  Definitely the kind of place you hope will succeed and grow.

I got there around 8:45pm on a Thursday and all the tables were full (but there's only like 5 tables) but was able to get a spot at the bar.  Seating is walk up unless you are doing the hotpot, which is by reservation.  The menu consists of a handful of vegetarian/vegan dishes and a handful of meat based dishes, about 5 or 6 dishes per side.  

I went with the Pan Fried Lamb Momo (because momos!) -  $14 for 6 pan fried dumplings with 21-spice sepen (which was like a thick pepper sauce, not that hot but I detected sichuan peppercorns as part of the mix) and a garnish of green onion.  Really quite tasty, moist, with some lamb gaminess cut by the sepen.

I also ordered the Sunflower Buns (because steamed buns!) - $8 for 2 buns stuffed with spinach, glass noodles, tofu, mustard oil glaze and basil-cilantro sauce.  Also very good, the basil-cilantro sauce played nicely with stuffing.

I will be back next week for a deeper dive into the menu...

Lamb Momo followed by Sunflower Buns

Lamb momo DR.jpg

sunflower bun DR.jpg

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23 hours ago, Tweaked said:

Dorjee Momo should be on the radar screen for all people who love good personal food mixed with a heartwarming story.

Dorjee Tsering was born to a nomadic Tibetan family, became a Buddist monk, fled Tibet to Nepal and then India, met his now wife Amberjade, and eventually settled in Washington, DC.  With stints at Bullfrog Bagels, Maketto, and Honeycomb Grocer, Dorjee has opened Dorjee Momo, a small pop-up restaurant located on the second floor of Bullfrog Bagel near Eastern Market.  The pop-up is open Thursdays thru Sundays and is expected to be located at Bullfrog until late summer.

Heartwarming story, yes, but look at this heartwarming soup!

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4 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Heartwarming story, yes, but look at this heartwarming soup!

Might be mistaken, but I think that's the hotpot, available only for parties of four and by reservation.

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On May 6, 2018, my dining companion and I shared an incredibly delicious dinner at Dorjee Momo.  We arrived 15 minutes early and were the first walk-ins to arrive.  Only 3 additional walk-ins were in line by 5:30PM. Two groups with 5:30PM Hot pot reservations were seated first.  We were seated at 5:35PM.  We didn't want to chance a possible rain shower on the balcony so we opted to be seated at the intimate 2-top inside and happy we did.  We started with a glass of wine each and proceeded with ordering 2 dishes from the TSAI, plant-based menu and 3 dishes from the SHA, meat-based menu.  See below listing of our menu selections.  Every dish was thoughtfully composed, so well-balanced and beautifully executed. Layers of flavors merged and built upon the previous dish as we progressed with each course.  We ended with the Herby Badam Salad, which appeared deceptively simple.  There was a hint of Sichuan peppercorn on the periphery, also peanut, but not the usual acidity, sweetness or heavy cream you would expect in a typical dressing.  The subtle core flavoring of the dressing was nothing I have ever experienced in my life.  So unexpected.  I live for these moments in dining!  What a delightful way to end our incredibly delicious meal!  Absolutely can't wait to return!

 

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I made a return visit last week.  I went with the Sichuan Eggplant Salad and Crispy Pork Belly & Leek Chive Buns.  Both are very good. 

The eggplant was sliced into segments and cooked until very soft while still holding its shape (dslee has a good photo of the dish above)...I'm assuming it's steamed (?).  The dish has nice heat from the vinaigrette but I didn't get any mala tingle.  It's a rather intense flavored dish, so I would recommend it as a vegetable side dish to share, the portion is generous and would serve 2 or 3 as a side dish. 

The Crispy Pork belly featured 5 or 6 slabs of pork, nice big homemade buns, and a side habernero sauce (definitely spicy).  The leek chive is finely chopped and good for smearing on the pork.  The watermelon radish don't really add much.  You can jam two slices of pork into each bun and make a nice thick bun, or order another side bun and there would be enough for three buns.  This was also a good sized dish.  

So far Dorjee Momo has been pretty damn tasty and hoping for good things if/when they find a permanent home.

Dorjee Pork DR.jpg

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From February 2, 2018, an extraordinary evening of Sichuan-style Hot Pot Service at Dorjee Momo.  The ultimate comfort shared with friends!   In our case, my dining companion and I opted to eat for 4!  We paired our insanely delicious feast with a refreshing ginger-inspired mocktail!  

 

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27 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

One can also get Sichuan hotpot at Uncle Liu's in Merrifield, all you can eat for $23.  But you can always pay twice as much at Dorjee Momo.

I haven't been (mostly because I'm typically disappointed in my own concoctions when it comes to hot pot--I need guidance!), but this place is always packed, FWIW.

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From December 5, 2017, an extraordinary 6-course menu celebrating the unique flavors of Tibetan Nomadic, Sichuan and Himalayan cuisine from Nepal and North India!  So much history and travel is told in Dorjee's food. As well as his love and passion that goes into the exquisite preparation of every delicious dish!   What an honor to be part of this exciting and insanely delicious evening!

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51 minutes ago, dslee said:

From December 5, 2017, an extraordinary 6-course menu celebrating the unique flavors of Tibetan Nomadic, Sichuan and Himalayan cuisine from Nepal and North India!  

[Do u like dining out?]

🙃

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3 hours ago, DonRocks said:

[Do u like dining out?]

🙃

Words to live by from Virginia Woolf:  "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” 

😋

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By Ziv via Chowhound.  I'm interested in trying it out once but the pics don't look very exciting.

So let me get this straight: you are quoting someone from Chowhound, who admits they are throwing stones at restaurants they haven't tried based upon their shitty eating experience in Nepal, in a thread about a restaurant you yourself have not been to? 

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1 hour ago, Tweaked said:

So let me get this straight: you are quoting someone from Chowhound, who admits they are throwing stones at restaurants they haven't tried based upon their shitty eating experience in Nepal, in a thread about a restaurant you yourself have not been to? 

Totally agree. Let's play by rules of fairness, please.

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I have now been to Dorjee Momo.  Let me preface my post by saying I have no experience with Tibetan food.  The closest cuisine that I can recall is Masala in McLean, which  claims to have authentic northern Indian and Nepali cuisine - and I've had their momo.

But before I went, I looked up momo on Wikipedia.  It would seem momo is a generic term, like dumpling is a generic term.  Otherwise I can't explain why the momos pictured above looked like sheng jian baos and my momos looked like tortellinis.  My momo wrappers are pasta whereas the momos above definitely have a bao wrapper.  Anyway, I thought they were decent.

The herby badam salad was my favorite dish.  It has an unique dressing that I cannot describe.  The other dish is the Tibetan chicken dumpling soup.  The dumplings turn out to be mini jiaozis, but didn't have a lot of flavor.  The soup had a very unfamiliar flavor that I didn't quite get use to.

Maybe Tibetan food will be the next new thing.

IMG_1793.JPGIMG_1794.JPGIMG_1795.JPGIMG_1797.JPG

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Dining here was a delightful, if a little cramped, experience to usher out the rain yesterday evening. At first I was seated outside upstairs, which was vacant, but it immediately started to rain, so they moved me to the covered downstairs porch, where there were other patrons. Then the rain stopped.  There was a bit of a convivial communal aspect to being seated out there, and I got to chat with a friend who was walking by. I ordered three items, and was I full by the end of the meal.

My favorite of the three dishes I ordered was the lamb momo. That seasoning was wonderful. The hot chili sauce portion of the spice mixture coated the bottom of the bowl and the little bits of hard spices added another dimension. The level of spicing was just right for me. Loved these.

Eric's post convinced me to try the salad, which was beautiful and tasted herby, as advertised. The combination of herbs and greens was very refreshing and the whole thing had a delayed hot spice kick. I did not expect the sinus-clearing heat from this that I got, but it wasn't unpleasant.

The very first dish I got I don't think I'd order again solo, unless I planned to have one bun wrapped up to take home. The sunflower buns were gorgeous, and I loved the filling, but that was a bit too much dough to start out the meal, and it was 3 lamb momo that got boxed up for later when I hit a wall stomach-capacity-wise. I also found the steamed buns, despite the basil-cilantro sauce on top, a little dry. It could be a difference in perspective in the photos, but it looks like the ones Tweaked got had more sauce on them than the ones I got.

I had already eaten half a sunflower bun before it occurred to me to take photos, but this way the filling is visible, so there's that. It's probably not necessary to post photos since all the dishes I had are already represented in the thread, but I'll include them anyway,  in order from the last to first.

DM_lamb momo.jpg

DM_badam salad.jpg

DM_sunflower buns.jpg

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8 hours ago, Pat said:

It's probably not necessary to post photos since all the dishes I had are already represented in the thread, but I'll include them anyway.

Actually, your photo of the lamb momo is interesting.  Tweaked's lamb momos looked to have the same wrapper as the sunflower buns (thicker, sheng jian bao type wrapper).  My lamb momo looked like tortellinis (or tortellonies).  Your lamb momos have a thinner wrapper than the sunflower bun (like Xiao long bao wrappers), or so it seems.  I'm not sure why.

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14 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Actually, your photo of the lamb momo is interesting.  Tweaked's lamb momos looked to have the same wrapper as the sunflower buns (thicker, sheng jian bao type wrapper).  My lamb momo looked like tortellinis (or tortellonies).  Your lamb momos have a thinner wrapper than the sunflower bun (like Xiao long bao wrappers), or so it seems.  I'm not sure why.

This is a very good observation - it's probably a different cook (although I can't imagine they have many).

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13 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Actually, your photo of the lamb momo is interesting.  Tweaked's lamb momos looked to have the same wrapper as the sunflower buns (thicker, sheng jian bao type wrapper).  My lamb momo looked like tortellinis (or tortellonies).  Your lamb momos have a thinner wrapper than the sunflower bun (like Xiao long bao wrappers), or so it seems.  I'm not sure why.

I didn't notice the similarity of the momo and bun wrappers on Tweaked's photos, but you're right. When I saw the photo of yours, I thought they almost looked like they were upside down versions of what I had. Mine looked most similar to the one's dslee posted of the popup at Big Bear, except hers were on a plate with the sepen/sauce in a ramekin instead of mostly on the bottom of the bowl. The type of wrapper and the way it was formed looks pretty much the same. In addition to the possibility of a different person making them (as Don notes), it's also possible they're playing with different ideas for presenting the dish.

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"Spring Menu Coming Soon."  

Sigh...

I am unlikely to venture into a completely new cuisine without a menu on the website that I can study and do some research on in advance.  

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9 minutes ago, bookluvingbabe said:

"Spring Menu Coming Soon."  

Sigh...

I am unlikely to venture into a completely new cuisine without a menu on the website that I can study and do some research on in advance.  

They never had a menu on their website (afaik), which is why I took a photo of it and posted it above.

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11 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

They never had a menu on their website (afaik), which is why I took a photo of it and posted it above.

The menu was almost the same when I was there as what you had. I also took a photo but didn't double-check it while I was there. The corner of the menu was cut off in the frame, so I didn't post it because it was not such a great photo.  The soup was not on the menu when I went Saturday night. Otherwise, the same. 

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