If owner Damodar Dahal has anything to do with it, momos will be the new hangover cure for students at the nearby University of Texas at Arlington. Dahal, a UTA grad, opened his small eatery, Momos & More, south of campus about two months ago. A cousin who was working the front counter on a recent visit said the night-time college crowd is just beginning to pick up.
Momos, by the way, are steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables. They’re the signature dish of Nepal. Momos & More specializes in Nepalese cuisine, which borrows a lot from nearby India and a little from China. The results at Dahal’s divey little restaurant are simple and hearty and should especially appeal to lovers of spicy fare.
The atmosphere inside Momos & More is unusually spartan –– just tables, chairs, and a handful of framed posters featuring Nepalese monuments and Himalayan mountain ranges. A glass case of sodas, energy drinks, and iced coffees sits next to the register. The menu is small and also very basic, divided into momo boxes and curry boxes. Each box contains a main entrée, soup, a daily vegetable side, a small salad, and a large mound of (very savory and filling) cilantro-inflected basmati rice. As with many Asian countries, rice is the staple here, and meat and vegetable servings come in small-ish portions to be savored –– carnivores looking to seriously chow down should take note.
We tried the goat, vegetable, and chicken boxes and enjoyed all three. The goat meat was served on the bone, and for those who’ve encountered stringy, gamey goat too often before, the flesh here was lean but tender, coated in a pale red, medium-spicy curry sauce. The poultry included large chunks of lean, tender chicken breast prepared in the same curry sauce. The side salad was nothing to write home about, more of a garnish, really, of romaine lettuce shreds and round crunchy carrot slices. The daily vegetable side was marvelous, though –– a tangy, curry-infused mixture of cauliflower heads, potato wedges, and bell pepper slices. A couple of the boxes came with achar, or pickled radish straws, that were at once vinegary and fiery with chile-pepper flavor. We would’ve liked a larger serving of this awesome Nepalese chutney. The soup that was served with the boxes, alu tama, was also marvelous. A thick, creamy concoction of black-eyed peas, small and soft potato pieces, and firm, chopped bamboo shoots, it would be make an excellent mid-winter dish.
Now about those momos. Like most potstickers, you have to eat them fresh out of the steam tray to really enjoy their meaty, satiny greatness at its peak. But momos differ significantly from Chinese dumplings in the complex spiciness of their fillings, which exude a curry kick that was less fiery than smoky. Between the goat and vegetable momos we sampled, the veggie dumplings were better, if only because the shredded meat proved to be a little dry while the potato pieces in the veggie filling were wonderful steamed. A thick tomato-and-garlic sauce provided for dipping was even spicier than the momos; the combination of the fillings and the flaming sauce was spice heaven for one of us –– but spice overkill for the other. You’ll have to decide yourself.
Momos & More
520 W Park Row Dr, Arlington. 817-345-7550.
11am-10pm Sun-Mon. All major credit cards accepted.
Chicken momo …….. $4.99
Chicken box ………… $5.99
Vegetable momo ….. $4.99
Vegetable box …….. $5.49