A visit to Mumon late Saturday afternoon proved to be a spectacular find. The year old establishment is enormous and includes a bar and lounge area, private rooms for small dinner parties and chunky booths. In addition, they have your standard belly up to the counter Sushi bar. The space is beautiful and décor classy and modern with multiple colors and textures.
The Engineer (high school prom date turned husband of 24 years) and I were barely settled into our quasi-private booth surrounded by several loose pillows when a complimentary sample arrived. A petite seafood salad had finely minced shrimp, salmons, cucumbers and tomatoes and was served with a Wasabi Crisp. It was cold and delightful and got us totally pumped as we perused the menu.
The drink menu was fun with coconut and other trendy martinis and a vast wine list –you could drop $300 on a bottle or pick up a nice red from Sonoma County for as little as $38. The menu is large – appies – sushi – sashimi – main courses and raw bar.
Our Duck Confit Steam Bun ($8) was a peculiar but surprisingly good take on a steam bun. Strips of freshly cooked duck shared their space with cilantro and basil and were sandwiched in between two flat discs (made from the dough traditionally used for steam buns). The duck was succulent and the small dollops of oyster sauce surrounding the bun were necessary to complete the flavors.
Seafood Pancakes ($9) were brown and crispy and filled with calamari, shrimp, peas and scallions – with a quiche-like creamy middle; I suspect some eggs were included. They came on a large plate and as one of the more economic appetizers; about eight large triangles were perfect to share.
Pork Shumai ($6) were nice and tender and appeared with a pea atop. I learned to make them in culinary school but this adaptation used minced pork instead of the more popular shrimp. Don't over dunk in the soy – you'll miss the nice flavors.
The Little Neck Clam Miso ($5) stood above other Misos as several miniature buttery clams swam in a freshly made golden broth with specs of scallion.
The chef sent out complimentary crab cakes – miniature, they came on a bed of Wasabi dressed greens speckled with black and brown sesame seeds. These little morsels were brown on the outside and incredibly flakey and moist on the inside. Crab cakes can be drab but these were not; the crab meat was fresh and there were copious amounts of it.
Iron Pot Nabeyaki Udon ($17) was a noodle dish with tempura in it. Although a lover of tempura and the Udon noodle in general, this dish was a disappointment. The batter fell off the vegetables and seafood and thickened the broth within minutes.
Our server, Paul, was very attentive and quite the foodie – he mastered the large menu and had vast knowledge of food in general. He recommended the Yellow Tail Crevice ($12) and it was completely outside the margins. Strips of tuna sashimi were swimming in an extremely spicy orange citrus sauce and were topped with minced diced jalapeño and peppers. It was amazing.
A dessert triage/sampler came out. A Watermelon Creamsicle comes in a champagne glass. Ice-cold freshly pureed watermelon sorbet is topped with pana cotta – an Italian flan-like creamy custard. It was topped with candied lemon rinds. Do not pass this by. Chocolate cake was fudgy, warm, liquid-like in the middle and dusted with powder sugar. The fruit tart had layers of phyllo that crumbled in your mouth. Drizzled with fresh raspberry and possibly strawberry sauce – what seemed like peach marmalade in the middle.
A culinary treasure – Mumon is not to be missed and even worth a trip from another township, county or even the boroughs. Japanese restaurants are commonplace – this was beyond the scope of Japanese fair. This was Japanese, fusion and audacious gourmet combined.