At Momo, Fast Casual Seafood Fusion
Plus sushi burritos and a poke analog
From the June, 2018 issue
You won't find any momo, the newly popular Himalayan dumplings, at the Momo Sushi restaurant in the Colonnade shopping center on Eisenhower. "We get a lot of people that come in here looking for momo," says managing partner Ethan Ketner. He says he tells them "we don't carry momo, but while you're here check out what we do have!"
According to the restaurant's literature, the owners picked the name because it's "[a]n Asiatic word that is colloquial and easy to memorize." And what they do have is trendy, "fast-casual" seafood fusion.
Fellow managing partner Sang Chul "Sam" Han and owner Jung Ho "Scott" Kim are trained sushi chefs who moved here from South Korea in the 2000s. According to Ketner, they decided to "step up with the times" by adding sushi burritos and cupbop. Cupbop, he explains, is the Korean version of the customizable bowl of rice, raw fish, or tofu, with toppings called poke in Hawaii and donburi in Japan.
The rest of the menu offers surprising variety for a fast-casual spot. There is a make-your-own sushi roll menu similar to the cupbop one, plus a large selection of specialty rolls, hot stone bibimbap, spicy seafood ramen, udon, bulgogi, and a prix fixe kids' menu. Ketner says orders are typically ready in five to fifteen minutes. They already offer takeout and are working on delivery.
The restaurant itself, located in the former Bella Italia, is cozy but cool inside: mid-modern chairs at wooden tables and a few stools at a bar overlooking where the chefs do their work.
Momo is the latest iteration in a series of sushi restaurants across Michigan run by Han and Kim, whose official parent business is called "Sam & Scott Co." Their last restaurant was in East Lansing, but Kim had enjoyed living in Ann Arbor years ago, and when Han's son decided to attend college at U-M they decided to move the business here, too (Ketner cites the city's diverse culture
and continued growth as factors in the decision). While developing the new restaurant, the two chefs met Ketner, who has worked at several Zingerman's businesses, and brought him on as a partner.
For now, Han and Kim are doing all the cooking, while Ketner and two more employees attend to the front of house, but Ketner is also working on the dessert menu, which currently includes mochi ice cream: a popular dessert ball of ice cream wrapped in a sticky-rice pastry shell. Continuing with the Asian fusion theme, bubble tea will be on the menu shortly.
Momo Sushi, 800-4909. 895 W. Eisenhower (The Colonnade). Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 4-9 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. facebook.com
[Originally published in June, 2018.]
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