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Mad Momos Beer Deck & Restaurant - Modern American-Asian in North Columbia Heights with Momos (Dumplings) - Closed

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Mad Momos opened not too long ago in northern Columbia Heights and we went up last Friday to check it out. It's a few blocks up from the main section of 14th St, so it wasn't too crowded when we were there. I'm not sure if it was an owner or manager that greeted us upon arrival, but from then until when we left, everyone was extremely nice and accommodating. It was too cold to take advantage, but they also have a very large and nice roof deck, a smaller front balcony, and a front patio that will all be very nice once spring rolls back around.

One thing folks may like is that they offer a number of vegetarian and vegan options.

And in case you're wondering, here is their definition of a "momo":

"A momo is a tasty dumpling native to the Himalayan region. Almost all cultures have some variation of a momo "“ a savory or sweet stuffing wrapped in a sheet of pasta. Our unique artisanal momos are made on premise. We offer a fun, new, "mad" twist on the traditional momo with creative fillings, pasta and our dipping sauces complement each momo meal. Our pasta is made daily from scratch and our meats are all house-ground."

Apparently they will be expanding their menu soon, but there were a decent number of options to choose from.

As a group we shared two of the appetizers:

mad wings (our signature mad bite - juicy tender chicken wings in our special sweet and smoky glaze sprinkled with toasted cumin seeds 6 for $9 | 12 for $15): Definitely more tangy and sweet than hot, but certainly a good flavor and decent-sized wings.

pita and dal (whole-wheat pita bread, dal (lentils) accompanied with fresh garden veggies regular $6 | share $9): We all liked this a lot as a nice alternative to hummus or other dips. The dal is served warm and is quite a large serving (we had to ask for extra pita and veggies to finish it off).

My +1 and I shared two servings of momos:

the demazong (classic Himalayan momos with house-ground beef and sweet onions pairing sauce: fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh cilantro and green chili $14): This was our favorite of the two dumplings, but wasn't anything extraordinary. You can get them steamed or pan fried, and we had pan fried for both.

compassionate vegan (full of flavor and packed with plant-based proteins | mushrooms, carrots, kale, lentils, sweet corn and nutty brown rice | pairing sauces: nutty lime $13): I liked these dumplings by themselves, but wasn't enamored with the sauce. However, if you like peanut sauces, you'd probably like it more than I did.

I think more than the dumplings we actually really liked the sides. The tater tots, though somewhat trite these days, were cooked perfectly - crisp and perfectly salted without having any sogginess that some other places have. The slaw was also nice with red and white cabbage, dried cranberries, and it was very light on the mayo.

With the awesome outdoor space and the decent prices, I think we'll plan to head back when it's a bit warmer out.

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I am always happy to have new options nearby to where I live. So I grabbed a few friends and checked out Mad Momo's last night.

It was definitely a mixed bag, but I have what I think is a reasonable expectation that some stuff will work itself out in time. The food was mostly well-executed. We tried the pork, the beef, and the vegan momos (the former two fried, the latter steamed at the suggestion of our server) and were well-pleased with all three. The mussels got a thumbs up. The tater tots were nice, but seemed an unusual partner to the dumplings. I guess I should note that I didn't actually order the tots - I ordered sweet potato fries - but the tots arrived instead and I didn't care enough to send it back (interestingly enough, when the bill arrived I saw that the server had indeed keyed in the fries).

Our server was friendly and nice enough, but he was clearly a novice (not noticing that the plate had a side other than the one for which he placed the order, asking if he could bring the bill then forgetting to do so and having to be flagged down by a manager-type who noticed that we were all trying to get his attention, bringing a refill of club soda that ended up being water). We arrived early, and by the time we left the place was quite busy and he appeared a bit overwhelmed.

The chocolate chip cookie/ice cream sliders? Great idea, could use a little tweaking in the presentation. And served with....Cool Whip? That seemed a bizarre choice to pair with with decent vanilla ice cream. I wondered if serving nondairy whipped topping is a trend I've missed, because in all the restaurants I worked that were about this level, I can't imagine any chef ever allowing Cool Whip in the kitchen. But the cardamom flan was a standout if you like that sort of thing (I do). A spicy wedge of heaven, a bit heavy for flan, but utterly delish.

All in all, about what I would expect for a place that just opened. The food was good enough to make me anxious to visit again in a month or two. I'm glad to have them in the neighborhood.

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