Today at 5 p.m., Momocho Mod Mex
will reopen its doors after more than a week-long hiatus. The closure is an annual winter ritual for the nine-year-old Ohio City eatery, but this year’s break has produced some of the most significant changes ever, says chef-owner Eric Williams.
“Every year we close on Super Bowl Sunday for a week,” he says. “But this year we decided that since we have eight days, let’s do something significant. This is the most significant freshening up we’ve done since opening nine years ago.”
The biggest changes that diners will see have to do with décor, food and drink.
All new artwork, light fixtures and signage join new carpeting and fresh paint.
“We still had the red ceilings back from when it was the Fulton Bar and Grill,” Williams points out. “So it was time for new paint.”
New stair treads and handrails will make trips to and from the upstairs dining room safer and more comfortable.
Momocho also installed its very first draft beer system, which will dispense Platform Beer and a rotating selection of Latin beers.
“Nine years ago you couldn’t get draft beer from Mexico,” notes Williams.
As for the new menu, Williams says that 30 percent of the items are brand new, while the rest is a mix of standards and old favorites.
“We brought back a handful of favorites that people have been asking about,” he says.
Those include blue cheese guacamole, watercress and jicama salad, avocado leaf-crusted tuna tacos, and the adobo lamb chops.
One of the new dishes that Williams is most eager for diners to try are the tongue tacos.
“The taco that I’m most excited about is the lengua,” he says. “It’s beef tongue pastrami that’s brined for six days, smoked for six hours, crusted with coriander and black pepper, shaved on a slicer and served with pickled jalapeno and whole grain mustard crème. It’s ridiculous.”
At which point the chef had to excuse himself from the conversation to ready the restaurant for its 5 p.m. opening.
“We’re getting down to the wire over here. When we open at five, I expect the place to be pretty jazzed.”