Cleveland: Momocho- Unconventional Mexican Cuisine

tuna taquitos

Cleveland’s dining scene has been heating up in recent years.  There are a host of interesting restaurants to explore, and an expanding roster of talented chefs for the city that is widely known as home to Iron Chef Michael Symon.  This is good news for the thousands of people who will descend on Cleveland for the Republican National Convention in 2016.  From my perspective, however, this increases the level of difficulty in making dining decisions when I visit my sister and her family.

Michael Symon’s Guide to Cleveland appeared recently on Andrew Zimmern’s website.  This leads us to self-described “mod Mex” Momocho.  Chef/owner Eric Williams is a two-time James Beard Award nominee.  His restaurant has an edgy feel, and a menu that incorporates creative twists into familiar Mexican dishes.

You don’t have to look further than guacamole to spot innovation.  We choose one that incorporates jicama, pineapple, chile habanero and mint.  But sheeps milk gouda, roasted garlic and Ohio honey is another fine choice.  As is guacamole with smoked trout, bacon, and chile poblano.  The good news is that Momocho has a sampler, so it’s possible to indulge in all three iterations.

Momocho offers an impressive array of fish and vegetarian taquitos. Avocado leaf crusted tuna taquitos with candied jalapeno-blood orange marmalada attracts my attention.  Just as  compelling are taquitos with artichokes, goat cheese and pico de gallo or roasted beets, spinach, spiced peanuts, queso fresco and pico de gallo.  Meat eaters can chow down on a plentiful portion of adobo braised wild boar with pickled jalapeno.  Soft tortillas are on the side, so you can build your own taquitos, and incorporate sauces to suit your own taste.

tuna taquitos

tuna taquitos

I am bowled over by one of the items on the antojitos portion of the menu, which translates to “little cravings.” Smoked gouda tamale dumplings with corn, shallots, and a mole sauce, explode with flavor. No wonder our server nods approvingly when I order.  I suggest Momocho add a section to the menu called “big cravings,” featuring these dumplings.


smoked gouda dumplings


The menu also features an appealing selection of small plate bocaditos and full size entradas. But we are saving room for dessert.  Ginger snap and candied jalapeno bread pudding with burnt sugar and whipped cream is a hit.  So is fried ice cream.  It’s peanut and cornflake crusted with chocolate sauce and Ohio honey.  Rich and decadent?  Yes, but worth at least a few bites.  I post a photo of the fried ice cream on Instagram* and within moments Chef Williams comments that it is beer battered.  He also invites me to email him if I want the recipe for the capirotada (bread pudding).  Thanks Chef, but I much prefer to leave dessert-making to those with the talent for it.

fried ice cream

fried ice cream

We leave Momocho impressed with the cooking, affable service, and unconventional approach to Mexican cuisine. It’s perfect for a city that’s about to prepare for a convention.


Momocho Mod Mex, 1835 Fulton Road, Cleveland, OH

The Braiser, list by Mariella Mosthof: “The Top 10 Chefs To Know in Cleveland”


Momocho Mod Mex on Urbanspoon

Crane & Turtle: A Winner in Petworth

Crane & Turtle mackerel

If you live in the DC area and haven’t heard about  Crane & Turtle, the new restaurant in the Petworth neighborhood, I’m fairly certain it will be on your radar soon enough.  It emerges amid a flood of new DC restaurants this past spring and summer, so it can be easy to get lost in the […]

The Shack: A Drive for Excellence in Staunton

the shack pork

It is 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.  My husband and I are waiting to get into a restaurant that opens at 5:00 and does not take reservations.  It’s not the first time we have set aside concerns about eating dinner so close to lunchtime.  Hello, Rose’s Luxury and Little Serow.  But we’re not in DC. […]

Macon Bistro & Larder: C’est Bien, Y’all

Macon Bistro shrimp and grits

The new Macon Bistro & Larder in Upper Northwest DC exemplifies fusion.  The restaurant’s name is inspired by two cities named Macon, one in Georgia and one in France.  The concept fuses a traditional bistro with a larder, where products can be purchased for take-home enjoyment. The decor blends vintage light fixtures with high tech industrial touches.  Even […]

NYC: David Burke Fabrick – Cut from a Different Cloth?

david burke interior

Last week Eater posted an  item entitled “Here’s What Every Trendy Restaurant Menu Looks Like.”  It makes me laugh even though many of the satirical items on the menu actually appeal to me. Painterly plate of beets and goat cheese. I order this on a regular basis.  An unconventional riff on brussels sprouts. I’m in.  Eight olives […]

Maine Ingredients

Burning Tree bombolini

Sometimes in a marriage roles are reversed.  This is the case when I suggest to my husband that we plan a get-away in Maine this summer.  I am seduced by a Maine travel poster showcasing a beautiful outdoor vista. My husband exclaims that he’s always wanted to visit Portland because it’s a “foodie” destination.  That’s usually […]

Chicago’s Nightwood: Into the Woods

nightwood flourless chocolate cake

Venturing into unknown territory when it comes to dining usually gives me a thrill.  But when my companions consist of people with varying degrees of culinary curiosity, I try to exercise caution. Chicago’s Nightwood is the restaurant of choice for dinner with eight co-workers.  Nightwood is situated in Pilsen, a neighborhood not exactly known to tourists.  But the […]

Questions or comments?
Send an email to