by PacBell Park, Every Dish is a Winner

760 Second Street, San Francisco, California 94107

MoMo's is a converted warehouse on the South edge of what was, until a year or so ago, the dot-com district. The restaurant has two private dining rooms for 8 to 50, a bar seating 50, and 80 fabulous seats on what is now San Francisco's premier outside dining deck.

It's in a prime spot, straight across the street from PacBell Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) but with a view towards South Beach Marina. The new University of California Medical campus will soon be opening just down the road with its first wing planned to accommodate 10,000 researchers.

The wide open dining room has large French windows all along the wall facing the Marina and Park. On my visit, it was tastefully decorated for Christmas. There are long leather benches along the length of the room. The kitchen is large and open with one of those huge a stainless steel chimneys. The dining area is vast with a very high ceiling.

My host, General Manager Bob Mulhern arranged for me to have sampler dishes from the extensive menus. I can't cover everything in detail, but can say that all of the food was excellent and I'll "mention in dispatches" the highlights.

From the appetiser menu, my favourite dish was Bourbon BBQ Baby Back Ribs with fresh coleslaw. The coleslaw was crispy and the ribs were tender and extra tangy.
I also found the Wood Oven Roasted Halibut Cheeks with Lemon Herb Butter a delicious surprise. To my delight the fish was mild, had a nice meaty texture and enhanced beautifully with the subtle lemon flavour.
Marinated Beet Salad was delicious with beet, Pumpkin Seeds, Goat Cheese and a sweet and tasty dressing.

Already feeling the pressure, I then tried Maple Glazed Quail with Creamy Grits. The Maple sauce, made with maple, hoi-sin, orange and soy, was delicious and the quail was anything but gamey. For the first time ever - my compliments to the chef - I really enjoyed the grits.
This was followed by Day Boat Scallops with Artichoke Risotto and Caviar Butter". The butter was quite subtle,m nicely extracting the flavour from the Scallops.
Finally Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. What can I say, I'm a meat man and was wallowing in the joy of moist tender beef with creamy (but not sickly) potatoes surrounded in a delicious red sauce and cubed vegetables. Mmmm scrumptious!

So now your 'slim jim' reviewer is quietly loosening his belt to make room for the next assault. Chocolate Brioche Banana Bread Pudding with Pecan Rum Raisin Sauce. I tell you, some spy must have planned this! I love pecans and I love rum - so you can image the exquisite pain, trying to eat every morsel of this wonderful concoction.
The final blow was the Bananas Foster. These were all delicious and intoxicating desserts.

The restaurant has an interesting list of about 100 wines. I tried MoMo's Chardonnay by Geyser Peak 99 which was very nice. With the desserts, Khary suggested Sauternes, Chateau de Malle 1986, which re-awakened my taste buds from the thick creamy flavours of the sweets.

The excellent selection of Highland, Lowland and Islay single malts, gladdened my Scottish heart. While the range of Cognacs, Brandies Ports, dessert wines, Bourbons and Ryes was comprehensive. Adam Nelis would have been speechless.

The restaurant was about 50% full - a surprise for a Saturday night - but this was the weekend before Christmas. Perhaps the rest of the population were busy driving like crazies on Interstate 5. An expansive loud atmosphere. Lots and lots of laughter ringing through the room, especially with an ebullient construction party of 60.

MoMo's got a bad rap from the dot-com crowd who considered the original menus to be wordy and who only looked at the price to guage quality and value. But now a lot of the clientele are coming because of PacBell park and from South Beach Marina. Contrary to the former clientele, I'd strongly suggest a more descriptive menu, that portrays the superior quality of the culinary experience.

As I departed, I took a peek in the bar to find that Jim Plunket of Oakland Raiders had just left.

The team that serve this restaurant are clearly close knit group of real friends as well as colleagues. For a top quality meal in a really comfortable, friendly atmosphere and the convenience of the ball park and Marina, MoMo's has to be your first choice. But don't let Bob talk you into samplers, if you want to hold onto your weight because every dish is a winner.

Tel: 415 227 8660
Fax: 415 227 8693
MoMo's on the web

Cost: Dinner for two with wine, $100

Wally Robertson, December 2001

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