Momo’s Japanese Tapas - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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Momo’s Japanese Tapas

Momo’s Japanese Tapas

To celebrate the opening of BBG's bonsai show, Graceful Perseverance, the Garden will host an intimate evening event. Titled Small Scale, the evening will feature a short program of traditional Japanese dance by the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York and a talk by curator Julian Velasco on the art of bonsai. Momo Sushi Shack, a rising star in the Brooklyn restaurant scene, will present a variety of vegetarian Japanese tapas paired with a selection of sakes. Pairing sake with food isn't an easy task as the fragrance of the sake must carefully match the dish, so BBG is bringing in sake expert Ms. Hiromi Iuchi, Vice President of Kuramoto US to help get it just right. Working with Philip Gilmoure of Momo's, Ms. Iuchi has selected several sakes including Chiyomusubi, Kaori, and Suijin to match the delectable dishes that will be served.

Located in Bushwick, Momo Sushi Shack opened just four months ago and is quickly becoming a foodie destination. I had the pleasure of visiting Momo this week to taste a small sample of their extensive menu of vegetarian and vegan tapas. Momo's tsukemono, traditional Japanese pickles made with baby veggies, was a delicious array of salt-pickled Napa cabbage, skinless heirloom cherry tomatoes, cucumber, burdock root, and celery. Pickled in soy sauce and mirin, the veggies took on a sweet and salty flavor while retaining an incredible crunch. I’d never had pickled burdock root before, but it's definitely something I’ll be craving again.

The futo maki, an oversized vegetarian roll, featured a beautifully balanced blend of hijiki seaweed, blanched spinach, pickled ginger, pickled baby lotus roots, and homemade tamago (a sweet egg omelet). It looked almost as good as it tasted. Who knew baby lotus roots could be so cute and so tasty? The combination of the pickled ginger and lotus roots with the sweetness of egg and earthy flavors of spinach and seaweed made for a complex and delicious medley.

The Kinpira, thinly shaved lotus root simmered in sesame oil and kombu kelp broth, is a traditional Japanese dish, usually made with burdock root. Momo’s version was made with a vegan dashi sauce and slow cooked almost like a rissoto. The result offered a creamy but crisp texture and incredible flavor.

Kobocha, Japanese pumpkin, was artistically carved and slow cooked in broth. The result was a sweet and soft delight and almost more of a refreshing desert than cooked vegetable. It was the perfect way to end our tasting.

To taste these amazing tapas, view some of the highlights of BBG's bonsai collection, and enjoy free-flowing sake at a DJ reception after the dance performance and artist talk, join us for Small Scale at BBG on February 11. You'll find me there hovering near the pickled burdock.

To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit Small Scale.

Rebecca Bullene is a former editor at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She is the proprietor of Greenery NYC, a creative floral and garden design company that specializes in botanical works of art including terrariums, urban oasis gardens, and whimsical floral arrangements.

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Image, top of page: Antonio M. Rosario