Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Flavorful, cozy dishes at Momo Tibetan restaurant

Review: Tasty food, but is it unique?

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Flavorful, cozy dishes at Momo Tibetan restaurant

(Creative Commons/ Flickr)

(Creative Commons/ Flickr)

(Creative Commons/ Flickr)

(Creative Commons/ Flickr)

By Jacob Abrams, Collegian Staff

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I had never been to Momo Tibetan Restaurant before this night, but when I stepped into the restaurant on a chilly Monday, it felt like coming home.

The dining room is bathed in a soft, orange light, and pictures of the Himalayan mountains and Tibetan landscapes hang between blue and pink tapestries on the walls. A couple dines in a cushiony nook nestled in the wide front window, enjoying a plate of the restaurant’s eponymous Momo dumplings. It’s a sight for sore eyes, the perfect place to warm freezing ears after spending hours in the Amherst cold.

It was a weeknight and the restaurant was sparsely populated. My friend and I sat in a booth closest to the counter at the back of the restaurant. Service was quick and attentive; we were welcomed with a bowl of fried wantons, crispy and flakey bits of fried dough that disappeared in a matter of seconds.

First, we made sure to order a plate of the restaurant’s signature Momos, opting for the pork variant. The Momos, similar to Chinese soup dumplings, consist of a ball of lightly spiced pork and onion wrapped in a thick and chewy dough. The steamed pockets of goodness were sublime when dipped in the accompanying chili sauce; the spice of the peppers provided a pleasing heat that added nuance and character to the dumplings. Our other appetizer, the Tibetan steamed bread, had the texture of a cloud but was lacking somewhat in terms of flavor.

Out of the numerous choices of soups, stews and noodle dishes on the menu, we opted for two of the Tibetan specialties. The first was the Tsoshaneuma, a dish of grilled lamb with a copious amount of sautéed onions. Each bite of lamb was exceptionally prepared; externally charred but internally moist and tender. A mildly sweet glaze coated each piece, accentuating the intensity of the meat without rendering it sugary.

Our second entrée, the Shapta, was equally delicious. This dish of grilled beef and peppers retained the same perfectly cooked meat as the Tsoshaneuma, but the addition of jalapeños injected the meal with a spiciness that lingered long after each bite. Although both dishes made use of only a few ingredients, they conveyed a host of enticing flavors that kept drawing me back in.

Tibetan food is a strain of Asian cuisine that does not receive as much attention as Chinese, Japanese or Korean food, and I went to Momo with the hopes that I would be exposed to new combinations of flavor and texture that I had not been explored previously. Unfortunately, Momo’s menu does little to differentiate itself from the myriad Chinese restaurants that populate Amherst. After my visit, I had trouble figuring out just what made the cuisine uniquely Tibetan.

The meat and noodle dishes certainly hit the spot, but they did not necessarily pop off the plate or astound me in any particular way. Despite this, Momo is definitely a place you should try out. It is one of the coziest restaurants I have ever dined in, and that alone is worth the price of a meal. A Friday, or in my case Monday, night at Momo after an arduous week of studying would seem a satisfying reward.

RATING OUT OF FIVE STARS: ****

Momo Tibetan Restaurant is located at 23 N. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002

Jacob Abrams can be reached at [email protected]

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