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Customers Prod Japanese Grill Momo Yakitori to Try Harder

A broader selection and more attention to detail top diners’ wish lists

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Grilled meats and vegetables at Momo Yakitori.
Momo Yakitori/Facebook
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Last month, Japanese restaurant Momo Yakitori introduced Woodridge diners to grilled skewers featuring ingredients ranging from mushrooms to duck hearts.

It’s the first restaurant for couple and business partners Masako Morishita and Andrew Chiou, who grew up around yakitori (the art of cooking chicken, meats, and veggies over binchotan charcoal). Their new casual eatery at 2214 Rhode Island Avenue NE features a simple menu — which customers can check off, sushi bar style — divided into snacks, vegetables, chicken, and miscellaneous sections.

Momo’s buildout was fairly simple, thanks to the space’s former life as Mediterranean restaurant Nido. The modern design includes soaring ceilings, white brick walls, clean lines, colorful tiles, and light woods.

Read on to hear what the public is saying, just a few weeks into service:

The Don’t Play It Safe News: Facebooker Khôi Trần, who writes that he tried 16 different skewers on his first visit, says, “You can play it safe and order the chicken breast or thigh meat. But if you want some real culinary adventure ... go for the more unusual offerings like chicken skin (kawa) and duck hearts (kamo hatsu). Don’t neglect the delicious vegetables either.” [Facebook]

The Standout News: Yelper Ben M. writes that the best offerings include “mushrooms (I liked the trumpet and my wife raved about the shiitake), pumpkin, chicken thigh with shio sauce, the meatball, and the chicken breast with plum. We tried both salads (sweet potato and cucumber) and found them both outstanding.” Instagrammer @kemorton posted “the baby leeks stole the show, IMO.” Google reviewer Hillary Lundberg says, “The black sesame macarons we ate for dessert are a must-order.” [Yelp, Instagram, Google]

The Suggestion Box News: Yelper Kelly B. says, “Going forward I would love to see them expand the cocktail and desert menus.” Yelper Charles N. says, “I hope they will consider broadening their menu to offer ramen, as well as, larger plate options, so I have a reason to go back more often.” Yelper Evan H. sees plenty of room for improvement; he took issue with the portion size (“incredibly small”), flavor profiles (“so bland they bordered on unpalatable”), and service (“staff couldn’t speak to any of the spirits”). “They have all the right ingredients to end up a huge success, but there’s a lack of focus. If they amped up the bar program, or heightened the food, it would easily be a destination,” Evan H. writes. [Yelp]

The Price Point News: Yelper Sasha N. says, “I thought the food was overpriced, little in quantity ... If you want to try this place I would recommend going for happy hour because the drinks are actually good for the price and then you can get the skewers to accompany your drinks.” Google reviewer Mimi Nguyen had “delicious yakitori! Definitely recommend the duck heart, steak and cucumber salad. A tad pricey.” [Yelp]

The Right At Home In Japan News: Yelper Norry W. ordered most of the Kobachi (small appetizers) dishes and says “they tasted as if we were invited to a friend’s house in Japan. It is great that they have grilled rice balls too, which is a necessity for the Japanese after eating Yakitori ... the bathroom is equipped with a Japanese hi-tec toilet called TOTO WASHLET. Very nice. You can get your butt washed at no extra charge!” [Yelp]

The I’ll Be Back News: Instagrammer @barretta6 says, “We went...we ate.....we devoured...So good to have this place near by. I will be back.” Yelper Bridget B. says, “Service was smooth, the food was tasty and menu diverse enough for all to enjoy. The owners were friendly and stopped by the table to hear feedback and get to the know the neighborhood. We wish them lots of success and hope to be back soon!” [Yelp, Instagram]

Momo Yakitori

2214 Rhode Island Avenue Northeast, , DC 20018 Visit Website