I wanted to love Momo's. The hipster Williamsburg "I'm a restaurant in a garage" vibe works for me, as does the communal tables and low lighting. I'm also cool with how Philip (the manager I assume?) comes over personally and promises an incredible experience. I love that the service was great all night, (although some extra deodorant would certainly not hurt), and the vibe was very chilled. Alas I almost feel bad saying but the sushi was underwhelming. And for the price we paid (over $200 for a couple including 2 beers), I just don't know. Some things are really exceptional here, and maybe I've become a bit of a sushi snob, but it's just not GREAT sushi.
As a side note, although it's not really fair to compare, I should mention that the other day I experienced the Omakasa $50 lunch special at the sushi counter at Sushi of Gari 46 (see photo). That's a review in and of itself, but in short I was BLOWN AWAY... and Momo just didn't do that for me.
But now back to the review at hand....
The next couple of dishes unfortunately, did not fare as well. First came an assortment of "sushi bombs" (balls of rice with a thin slice of fish and some sort of sauce over it). We were given 3 pieces of Spicy Mc Low Bomb (tuna, avocado, wasabi cream), 3 pieces of Pink Bomb (salmon, scallions), and 6 pieces of Yellowtail (hamachi, daikon, ponzu). I don't know what's up with their rice, but it doesn't taste like sushi rice at all. It was hard, but not crunchy in a good way. Kinda weird. It also felt like too much rice to fish ratio. I didn't love it. Next was the Sashimi Tasting including 2 pieces of Kanpachi, Thai Red Snapper, Striped Bass, Sea Bass, Hamachi and Mackerel that we're told came straight from Japan. Not my thing. I don't know why, maybe I'm not hardcore enough, but it fell flat. Phil felt terrible and we felt embarrassed as we silently promised to finish whatever else came out of the kitchen no matter what. He immediately sent over this unbelievable bite of Salmon Belly with burnt onion and mayo, and I was back in heaven. The Toro Scallion Handroll was also really excellent. Great quality, perfectly rolled and delicious. I could have ate 3 more.
Lastly we got 2 pieces of cooked fish, a Salmon with crispy skin, fish roe and greens that was delicious and perfectly cooked. And a Miso Cod that looked dry but was actually really flavorful and delicious as well.
I'm kind of torn. I love the passion and hands on approach to the place, and some items were really really delicious (soups, tofu salad, toro, salmon belly and cooked fish), but major points are deducted when the actual sushi (or sushi bombs in this case) and sashimi don't measure up. They also ran out of dessert which was kinda disappointing.
Momo Sushi Shack is a decent spot. I probably would not go out of my way to go back but if I lived in the hood or if the wait at Roberta's got too crazy (it's around the corner) I would give it one more shot. Thanks for the love Phil, good service is always appreciated.
Note that Momo's is Cash Only. Also, they only take reservations for tastings, but those can start as low as $40 per person. They also are very vegetarian and Kosher friendly, so extra points for that as well.
Neighborhood: East Williamsburg / Bushwick, Brooklyn
Bite Mark: *** (extra star for the good service & veggie friendly kitchen)
Good For: First Date, Neighborhood Sushi
Momo Sushi Shack, 43 Bogart St 718-418-6666 www.momosushishack.com