Chowhound Chowdown at YoMa--10/17
Graciously organized by Allstonian, 12 hounds converged on YoMa for a Burmese feast earlier this week. The descriptions below support all the fresh/unusual/interesting/great combination of flavors reviews posted here before, which were what inspired the Chowdown in the first place.
A very good value overall, as we paid $12.00 each for a good grazing sample of lots of the menu. The flavors were powerful and unusual, so next time, I would actually go back for a smaller sampling of dishes to really focus on the individual elements.
Some photos to follow of the varied dishes soon, when other diners chime in!
Descriptions taken straight from the menu followed by brief commentary.
A4 — Burmese Samusar ($4.95)
(Fried crispy pastry filled with potato, shallot, cabbage, and spice powder)
Fried-up potato goodness. Very similar to an Indian samosa, but smaller, lighter, more subtle potato filling and less greasy than those can tend to be. Esp. since softball sized samosas can be all too ubiquitous.
A5 – JetThonJaw ($5.75)
(Pancake style tempura fried shredded shallot and batter mixed)
These were a table favorite. Spicy, crispy fried-up goodness. A sort of Burmese latke? Shallots really added a nice and unusual punch.
All the below salads were delicious and very fresh. I could definitely enjoy an entire plate of these as as a hot Summer evening meal. I preferred the non-meat version overall. The melding of flavors was unusual and refreshing before we moved on to some of the main plates.
T5 — ThaYetTheeThot (Green mango salad) ($6.25)
(Shredded fresh sour mango mixed with shredded cabbage, fresh shallot, grounded dried shrimp, roasted chili flake, grounded peanut, and cilantro)
T7 — WatTharThot(Roasted Pork salad) ($7.25)
(Roasted pork mixed with lemon grass, lime, shredded cabbage, cucumber, tomato, fresh shallot, roasted chili flake, garlic, and cilantro, and crispy grounded sweet rice)
T8 — AaMaeTharThot(Roasted Beef salad) ($7.45)
(Roasted beef mixed with lemon grass, lime, shredded cabbage, cucumber, tomato, fresh shallot, roasted chili flake, garlic, garlic sauce, cilantro, and crispy grounded sweet rice)
B2 — ShwePaYonTheeHin ($9.25)
(Oriental sweet pumpkin cooked with jumbo shrimp, tomato, ginger, shallot, lemongrass, and cilantro)
This was my favorite main dish overall. I'll go back for a full serving. The pumpkin appeared to be a more pedestrian squash or potato, but when tasted revealed pumpkin sweetness that went really nicely with the other elements of the "curry."
B3 — KhaYanTheeNut ($9.25)
(Oriental egg plant cooked with grounded peanut, shallot, garlic, ginger and tomato)
Soft and satisfying, but not toally memorable in terms of spices
B4 — MyitChinHin ($8.95)
(Sliced sour bamboo shoots cooked with tender pork, sweet roasted rice flour, shallot, garlic, ginger, chili, tomato and cilantro)
Interesting, but an acquired taste as the bamboo shoots really delivered a sour kick that, in some opinions, took over the dish.
B7 — Chicken Curry with Potato ($7.95)
(Chicken cooked with tomato, potato, ginger, garlic, shallot, and spice seasoning)
I can't remember if I tasted this...
D1 — ChinPoung Jaw ($4.85)
(Sour roselle leaf stir fried with shallot, garlic, green chili, spicy red chili flake, bamboo shoot, fish sauce, and salted dried shrimp)
One of the most unusual dishes, displaying the most assertive Southeast Asian elements--lots of fish sauce and fermentation. I found this too strong for my palate, but well worth trying as an authentic side-dish.
D3 — MyitJaw ($4.85)
(Bamboo shoot stir fried with Burmese baked bean, shallot, garlic, turmeric powder, and crispy shallot on top)
Don't think that I tried this
Y2 — OhnNoteKhotSwe ($6.75)
(Coconut chicken soup in wheat flour noodle, served with shredded fresh shallot, and crispy fried rice noodle on top)
This was very rich and to my taste, displayed a pretty direct combination of Indian/Thai cuisine. The coconut element tasted like a combination of Thai coconut curry mingled w/ the richness of an Indian coconut chutney. The richness was tempered by an underlying chili flavor. Liked the texture of the noodles. Soft, but still with a little satisfying bit.
Y4 — MeeShay ($7.65)
(Slow roasted pork stew with spicy soy bean sauce, Udon style rice noodle, pickle green mustard, bean sprout, cilantro, and scallion)
Don't think that I tried this
Y5 — SiJetKhotSwe ($7.65)
(Steam wheat flour egg noodle with roasted pork, crunchy shallot, garlic sauce, and scallion served with spicy coleslaw)
Don't think I tried this.
Thanks to Allstonian for organizing and to Sugar for the great writeup.
I thought the service was fine..particularly given that we were a group of 12; and ordered our apps..ate them..and the ordered our entrees. We took some time to make up or minds and it might have been quicker, better paced if we'd ordered in 3 phases..but that was our doing; not the restaurants.
On to the food..I'm not very experienced with Burmese food..last try was the long lost Mandalay that some may remember from Huntington Ave. We ordered med spicy and I prefer more "heat." The salads were good but essentially the same dish (we knew the beef and pork were the same; but thought the mango would be different) and the amount of beef/pork was low in relation to dishes like cold, beef salad at some of my Thai favorites..didn't pack the flavor punch either.
The apps..samosar and latkes were both very good and I'd order them again.
Enjoyed the coconut chicken soup, eggplant, roselle leaves(strong fish sauce flavor), bamboo shoot dishes,.. chicken curry could have had more flavor.
The 2 noodle dishes were also very similar to each other..in overall flavor; but again..low on the protein/starch ratio.
An enjoyable meal but based on 1 visit; not a restaurant/cuisine I'll rush back to. I think for food from that part of the world, I prefer Indian, Thai, Cambodian, Malaysian..based on my US dining experience.
Not much to add except everything was good. Go there and try it! 11 people per dish was pushing it but it's nice to have a chance to taste something like ChinPoung Jaw without committing to a whole plateful (it did grow on me, I wound up eating rather a lot of it).
Spiciness: I've requested the beef salad especially spicy, and it was hot but not exceptionally so. The default shouldn't be a problem for most people, and in most dishes chili can be subtracted. Think deeply savory, not firecracker spicy.
The time I went, a while back, the only complaint I had was how long it took for
the food to come out of the kitchen. And I noticed a couple of other people
posted similar experiences.
Have they worked that particular kink out, and food is served at a pretty normal
Thanks for the detailed post!
The entire meal took roughly 90 minutes, but that included some time getting everyone collected and enough of a pause in the chit-chat to place the initial order for appetizers. We ordered two orders each of the samosas and the JetThonJaw, and three salads, which came out together and reasonably expeditously. There was then a bit of faffing about getting small plates and silverware for everyone, and only after all that was done did we place our order for entree dishes and noodles, so there was another bit of a wait at that point. However, all of the dishes in each of the two rounds did come out together.
The lone waiter struggled a bit with the size of our group, although there were only one or two other parties in the restaurant, but he was pleasant and well-meaning. I didn't feel that the waits were unreasonable given our own delays in getting orders in to the kitchen, nor did I feel that 90 minutes was an inappropriately long time for a meal for a group of that size.
great thanks to allstonian for organizing. this was my second time eating at yo-ma, and my second time being really impressed. as a general impression, the flavors are bright and fresh without being overwhelming or simplistic. the salads are perhaps a paradigm of everything that's great about yo-ma. crisp cabbage, cilantro, a hint of sweetness, it really all comes together perfectly. i think the roast beef and the green mango salads were the best.
i agree that the pumpkin & shrimp curry was the highlight of the main courses, though i also am not sure i got to try all the mains. of the noodles, i liked them all, but i thought the udon one was not quite as superior as the other two.
on the whole, really an exceptional set of dishes. what a great place!
What a riot of flavors. It was wonderful being able to try so many different dishes with old, recent & newly met hounds. I'm really thrilled that we're doing more of these get togethers. There was a small cup of very finely julienned fresh vegetables, standing on end, that were delicious w/some sort of light dressing - was this a garnish or an actual item? A couple of us took advantage of Deep Ellum's almost next door proximity for a drink at the bar beforehand. 1st visit for both of us. Nice cozy little place with an efficient and friendly bartender.
I'm betting those veggies were the "spicy coleslaw" for the SiJetKhotSwe (last item above.) One more thing that dind't make it all the way to the far end of the table, I'm afraid!
We keep meaning to patronize Deep Ellum more than we have - we were disappointed with a couple of dinners there and are not in the habit of going out just for a drink, but we've really liked the staff and the atmosphere there.
We went for "medium spicy" and could probably have gone with considerably spicier. However, the salads especially seem to vary a lot - one of the previous times I've gone, the WatThat Thot was right on the upper limit of enjoyment for me.
Unlike my experiences with Thai food, it seems that Burmese food done "mild" can still be very flavorful, and I think you'd have a tasty and interesting meal with a lot of unusual flavors. (I've pretty much decided I don't like Thai food, frankly - that does seem to be a cuisine that can only be enjoyed properly at "kill me!" hot levels of spiciness, which I don't enjoy.)
Thanks for the write-up! It was a real pleasure to go back to YoMa in such good company, and to be able to try so many dishes. BFP and I went three times in fairly rapid succession back in the late winter and spring, when they first opened, but haven't been back in quite a long time.
The salads remain my favorites, although the two appetizers we tried were also excellent. (I love your description of the JetThonJaw as a Burmese latke!) I loved the OhnNoteKhotSwe, which was a favorite from our first dinner at YoMa and was maybe even better this time. However, I didn't feel as though I'd gotten enough of a sample of some of the other things to be able to judge (see below.) I had a large and tasty shrimp from the pumpkin curry, for example, but no pumpkin. Have to agree that the ChinPoungJaw was too funky for my pleasure, but I'm glad to have tried it.
While the apps and salads were served to both ends of the table, the entrees all ended up being delivered to the opposite end of the table from me, and there 's at least one dish that I think never made it to our end at all (the MyitJaw.) I think also we might have done well to either order yet another dish or two, or double helpings of a couple of the things above - BFP and I both left feeling slightly underfed, even if trying to adhere to the maxim about eating till you're 80% full. Still, it was a really fun evening and I'm glad to have met some more of my fellow Boston Hounds!