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Oct 11, 2010 12:53 PM

Momed -- Duck Shawarma & More

I've heard a fair amount of buzz about the newish "modern Mediterranean" place called Momed on South Beverly in Beverly Hills. I finally got to check it out, when my kind mother took pity on grouchy, exhausted me and offered to wrangle Fe. for the day.

Freedom! Lunch and a movie with Mo!

Naturally, we opted to try Momed. Cough.

Momed is an inviting clean white, with near perfect lighting. You order at the counter from an array of delectable salads, dips, and olives. There are also a whole host of items to chose from on the menu. These include soups, mezze, pide (Turkish flat breads) with a wide selection of toppings -- soujuk sausage, piquillo peppers, haloumi and akawi cheeses.

The dips are what you would expect to see in any decent Mediterranean restaurant -- hummus, baba ganoush, muhammara, and tzatziki. We were particularly moved by the vivid, green avocado hummus, so that's how we started our meal. Ultra creamy and quite tasty, this hummus was quickly devoured with house-made pita.

And the menu doesn't stop there. There are pita hand rolls, the obligatory skewers, and bowls of rice pilaf and dirty potatoes (roasted Weiser Family Farms potatoes tossed in olive tapenade) to be had.

Mo and I took quite a while deciding, because there were so many tempting offerings. I wasn't sure about the skewers, especially the chicken. I thought it might be too ordinary, but when I saw the chicken skewers cooking on the grill in the open kitchen, I was justly swayed.

The yogurt marinade and the chickpea aioli, kept the chicken moist and exciting. With the skewers, you may choose two sides. We opted for some of the fantastic Muhammara that showcases roasted red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate, and a cucumber salad. Sadly the cucumbers were completely forgettable -- the only low note of our meal.

I don't spend a lot of time in that part of town, now that my career in finance is on hold -- hopefully forever. But I'd be willing to trek across town to Momed for the duck "Shawarma" alone.

I wish I had a more evocative photograph to share. This one does not come close to doing this dish justice.

The house-made, whole wheat pita hand roll is stuffed with duck confit whose spices will instantly transport you to Morocco or some other exotic land. The aroma of cinnamon wafts over you, the moment your order is placed on the table. The oven-dried tomatoes and fig confit tucked within add moist acidity and sweetness that play gorgeously off the rich duck meat. Add a bit of garlic spread and bright green mache and you've got a new addition to Jonathan Gold's Essential 99.

At $14, this is not a cheap wrap, but its succulence (I don't use this word lightly!) makes it worth every penny.

There is a nice selection of beverages including beer and wine, yogurt drinks (my favorite!), smoothies and intriguing sodas. If you are so inclined, which we were not, there are some pretty fabulous looking desserts at a back counter that looks to serve all manner of espresso drinks, featuring Intellisgentsia beans, as well.

I wish there was a Momed East located in Echo Park, because I would enthusiastically sample most of the menu. Not only is the food good, but they deliver!

jacqueline f
posted with pictures:

233 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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  1. anyone else like this duck sherwarma in pita?

    3 Replies
    1. re: kevin

      I liked it, although not as much as the OP! It has a very pronounced cinnamon flavor, which is nice with the duck, and it is very rich. I enjoyed eating it, but I wouldn't necessarily go back JUST to eat it - and I didn't find it as addictive as, say, the chicken tarna wrap at Zankou Chicken.

      Zankou Chicken
      1415 E Colorado St Ste D, Glendale, CA 91205

      1. re: aching

        While I can absolutely appreciate the draw of Zankou's tarna, I think the duck "shawarma" at Momed is an entirely different caliber of cuisine. The Momed duck is more of a special indulgence and Zankou is for quick, inexpensive eating.

        233 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

        1. re: jacqueline f

          I like the flavors of Zankou's chicken tarna/shawarma, but I've always found it a bit too dry (even for genuine shawarma). One of the terrific things about Momed's duck "shawarma" (which is surely a misnomer -- it appears to be pulled and stewed), is its succulence. I personally found it addictive.

    2. What I liked about Momed was the farmers market fresh produce featured in their dishes. I had a quinoa, arugula, pine nut, and peach salad there that totally changed my perspective on quinoa... it motivated me to go out and buy a box and try to replicate the salad at home.

      I also like how their menu is a mix of Mediterranean cuisines, and that they take some liberty to modernize dishes (such as the OP's avocado hummus). The employees behind the counter were also very anxious to please, and offered samples of everything in the display case.

      Wish Momed was around when I lived in the neighborhood.

      1. What a great lunch! The duck shwarama sandwich was very delicious and very high quality, as were the homemade potato chips with assorted dips. This was the best meal under $25 I've had in a long time. Hell, it was my best meal under $50 in recent memory.

        5 Replies
        1. re: sushigirlie

          Went for breakfast. Wow this place is good. I loved the flatbread with zaatar and cheese as well as the roasted potatoes in an olive tapenade. If you like Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors, you have to try Momed.

          233 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

          1. re: sushigirlie

            That sounds so delicious! I have to go back soon!

            1. re: jacqueline f

              Thanks for your review. This is my favorite new restaurant in LA and I wouldn't have tried it but for your review.

            2. re: sushigirlie

              Can one order the duck shawarma for breakfast? I hope the answer to that is a resounding yes.

          2. momed is fantastic. the baleela - chickpeas and pinenuts bathed in brown butter - is revelatory. a must-try.

            4 Replies
            1. re: tastycakes

              You know, I was really excited to try that baleela, but I have to say, I didn't love it. To me, the chickpeas were very undercooked, and there was just too much butter (not something I say very often). Maybe it was just an off-day - I would give it another shot.

              1. re: tastycakes

                i agree. the baleela is to die for.

                but i don't want to be a shill for momed. there are some things that aren't so great. the byblos seafood salad, for instance. when i tried this salad, the shrimp had lost their bite and were downright mushy; the squid and octopus were rubbery. i don't think a restaurant should serve a seafood salad unless they have very fresh seafood, and that just wasn't the case. also not so good are the desserts i've tried. momed doesn't make any of the desserts themselves, but that's no excuse. the ones i've tried tasted stale and generally quite inferior to their counterparts at the wonderful middle eastern bakeries in glendale. i'm not sure how much of this was momed's suppliers' fault and how much of this was simply due to age.

                but these faults aside -- i've had one dish after another at momed that i consider one of the yummiest things i've eaten in LA.

                1. re: sushigirlie

                  but the duck shwarma is the best? if i'm only going to have one dish?

                  thanks sushi girl. what sushi places do you like? also, is Momed an order of the counter type of joint?

                  233 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                  1. re: kevin

                    Yes: If you're only going to have one dish, I would go with the duck shawarma. Do accompany it with the momo chips, so you have an opportunity to sample the three tasty dips. Personally, I love the partly crispy, partly chewy texture of those momo chips, but I'll warn you that they're not crispy all the way through like some people may like. I don't see how anyone could complain about the dips though.

                    Momed is a an order at the counter type joint -- except I've seen lots of people not order at the counter. The cashier is nice enough to come take people's orders at their tables. Generally, the staff is very good, but they're not waitstaff per se.

                    Sushi places: I like Mori, Zo, and Kiriko. Urasawa is wonderful but it's out of my price range except for special occasions. In Little Tokyo, I like Sushi Gen and Sushi Go 55. Go's Mart has some really good stuff and is worth a try if you don't have a traditionalist bent.

                    Urasawa Restaurant
                    218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                    11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                    Sushi Go 55
                    333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                    Go's Mart
                    22330 Sherman Way # C12, Canoga Park, CA

                    Little Tokyo Restaurant
                    150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

              2. So happy to resuscitate this thread! Had the Duck Shawarma for lunch today. As I said to chef when he asked how it was: 'Do you speak French?', I asked. "A little", he acknowledged with a shrug of his shoulders. "It was fan-f*cking-tastic". What a dish. After the first delicious, unctuous bite I instinctively reached for a sip of wine, almost like an autonomic response to tasting something so good but, alas, it was lunch and I had an afternoon of work to do. Love the shawarma, love this whole place.