For my birthday this year, I decided to do a small birthday dinner and wanted to stay in Richmond. The foodie inside of me told me that I needed to try something new though. And so I looked around and finally decided on MoMa Contemporary Bistro, which is in one of the oddest location hidden next to a printing company on Cambie Rd., hence most people don’t even know it exists.
The two chefs are Asian but have extensive culinary experience in Italian and French cuisine, so MoMa offers a fusion of that. The interior is small, but can fit probably around 30 diners. Simple ambiance and definitely bistro style. On a Friday night, it was rather empty. Service was a bit disappointing as our server was almost too quiet for our large group and was difficult to hear the specials. She also had to read off her paper, which didn’t seem too professional.
Anyway, onto the food. Our server had warned us that the dishes are quite small, but are meant for sharing. How are you supposed to share when the dishes are so small though…? Well SF got the Steamed Clams and this had a sake-miso broth, wakame, and scallions. I almost wished this came with bread or fries, since it seemed like a rather small portion to get full. I had a taste of this and the broth was quite good with the clams being fresh.
MC and K shared the Prawn Fritters which are crusted with seaweed and came with a MoMa chili aioli. Again, the portion was quite small for around $11.
Their special of the day was the Seafood Bouillabaisse. It had clams, shrimp, and peas. My friends said this was just alright. I also found it sloppy that the rims of the dish wasn’t cleaned since they seemed to focus on appearance here.
For myself, I shared with S a few dishes. The first dish was the BC Sablefish, which came with farmer’s vegetables, spaetzle, and a soy marinade. I really enjoyed the salad as the dressing was slightly sweet with a hint of citrus. The fish was cooked sous vide and was moist, but the portions were quite small given it was $25. Seemed more like an appetizer, but priced as an entree.
Fresh Chorizo Linguine
A got the Fresh Chorizo Linguine which features their house made marinara sauce. He said it was good but quite average. Didn’t blow his mind.
Slow Braised Veal Cheek Pappardelle
ML got the Slow Braised Veal Cheek Pappardelle, which was also an item I was eying. It’s topped with parmigiano cheese and he said it was quite good.
Portions were quite small again though, but price was more justifiable at $17 since Ask For Luigi prices and portions are similar.
MC and K also shared the Mushroom Tagliatelle. It features truffle oil and a mushroom raga. Not bad.
Next, I shared the Scallops with SS and it was beautifully presented. For a dish like this, I don’t mind paying a little more if they take the time to plate it nicely.
It came with a celery root puree, potato chips, peas, and MoMa bacon. The scallops were seared nicely and there wasn’t any gritty sand in it. I also quite liked the celery root puree and those homemade potato chips.
Pemberton Meadows Beef Striploin
Lastly, SS and I shared the Pemberton Meadows Beef Striploin. The dishefeatures a 8oz grass fed natural beef striploin, roasted potatoes with snap peas and a black pepper jus.
We asked for medium rare, but I felt that it was closer to a medium. I also really disliked how there were these fatty parts still stuck on the rims which were chewy. I ended up cutting most of that off. It was alright, but definitely not worth the $28 given the beef was rather chewy.
Overall, my friends and I found MoMa to be quite disappointing based on that nights service. I came here knowing that portions were going to be small and pricey, but I would have been fine with it if the food was executed well. My favourite dish was probably the scallops, but many of the other dishes were just average and I wouldn’t pay that price for it. Service was also very disappointing since the server had took down our orders based on where we were seated, but for some reason, our dishes were being placed in front of the wrong people. There was also an 18% gratuity as we had a larger group, but when we gave her more cash than what was on the bill, she did not return any of our change until my friend asked. Quite a disappointment overall, but I guess they are doing something right since they have been around for a few years.
– Most plates are presented quite nicely
– Some decent dishes and many dishes use local ingredients
– Small portions and average food for high prices
– Felt that service we received that night was unprofessional
Price Range: $30-40
1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent
Food: 3 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5