Dinner & Show: MOMED ATWATER VILLAGE
Momed, serving up plentiful portions of modern Eastern Mediterranean cuisine in a comfy, casual atmosphere, makes a perfect "Dinner" for a "Show" at the just steps-away Atwater Village Theatres. Momed, (pronounced mo-med.) short for Modern Mediterranean, creates healthy fare incorporating locally produced ingredients, both seasonal and organic.
After the final curtain of a show we had just seen at the Atwater Village Theatres (www.atwatervillagetheatre.org), we were cordially greeted at Momed's host stand by a most gracious Erin who later efficiently took care of us throughout our incredibly delicious meal. Momed's General Manager Ehsan Mackani frequently dropped by our table to describe the ingredients of the various dishes we were sampling. Besides the tasty food we were served, all the plates that passed by to other tables looked very inviting. Great combination of presentation and taste. With Momed's generous portions, for a meal for two I would highly recommend ordering only one each of the following to share: Brussells Sprouts (soooo flavorful with labneh, pomegranate molasses, lemon zest and crushed hazelnut); Baby Kale salad (nicely sweet with pistachio, pickled raisins, ricotta salata, breadcrumbs and garlic vinaigrette); and for the main course Chermoula crusted Wild Sea Bass (deliciously seasoned and complemented with braised fennel, tomato, potato and olives). The tempting dishes we saw pass by include Fig & Arugula Pide and a Lamb Kofta Flatbread, a Cleopatra salad, and a Cauliflower Steak.
Momed's owner Alex Sarkissian took time out to speak with us before our Sunday post-show reservation.
Thank you for taking time out of running your two busy restaurants to talk with BroadwayWorld. Your Momed Atwater Village is literally right next door to the Atwater Village Theatres (www.atwatervillagetheatre.org).
Will you describe what classic Mediterranean cuisine is?
Classic Mediterranean is technically referred to as the cuisine of the Levant, meaning the eastern shore of the Med.
What twists or accents does Momed incorporate into your modern Mediterranean dishes?
At Momed, we expand the traditional meaning to include the rich heritage of the cuisine of southern Mediterranean and North Africa; as well as, of islands such as Sardinia and Sicily to our fold of flavors.
What influenced you to become a restaurateur?
After 28 years in the fashion industry, I was looking for a challenge that was more immediate and social. There was some family history also.
What were your accomplishments in the fashion industry?
In 1984, I opened my first retail store in Glendale Galleria with the United Colors of Benetton Company. I went on to own and operate six stores over the next 13 years. In 1997, I opened the first D&G Dolce & Gabbana store in the US in Los Angeles and went on to be the VP of Retail for the company in the US until I left in 2007.
What is your personal favorite meal (or meals)?
A ham sandwich that I make! In reality, there are many. Growing up, I was fortunate to experience great home cooking; as well as, some incredible meals at some of the finest restaurants of the times. So I am more inclined to eat a well-crafted dish rather than a particular one.
Do you yourself have a cooking background?
Only as an above-average home cook.
What was your earliest interest in cooking?
Not so much an interest in cooking, but the experience of eating at this grand restaurant when I was about 15. It blew my mind! I still remember the meal after almost 40 years.
Who were some of your career mentors?
I had a dear friend Jivan Tabibian, who was an extraordinary human being with an incredible palate for food and wine, as well as other things.
What culinary styles have influenced your career?
At this point in my life, I am not much into over-the-board fussy/pretentious food. I appreciate intricate and sophisticate flavors, but presented with simplicity.
What was your favorite childhood dish?
A Persian dish with rice, fava beans, and dill.
What are some of Momed Atwater Village's most popular dishes?
Avocado Hummus, Greek Meatballs, Charred Octopus, Duck Shawarma Crostini, Short Rib Tajine, Chermoula Crusted Sea Bass, Lamb Kabobs.
What are the popular dishes in Momed Beverly Hills?
Same as Momed Atawater Village's.
Do you have different promotions or specials for your two locations?
The two locations have almost identical menus, but offer a very different dining experience due to their physical attributes. Atwater has a 4,000 sq. ft. patio with a large indoor dining room and bar, while Beverly Hills is a much more intimate and more of a neighborhood joint.
Is Momed your first restaurant venture?
Yes. However, in the '90s, I had three stores, Cleo & Cucci (named after my dogs). This was pre-Starbucks in LA. We specialized in loose leaf tea, small batch roasted coffee and hand-made chocolates and truffles.
How would you describe the Los Angeles restaurant industry?
Los Angeles has the most diverse culinary melting pot that exists in the world.
Do you suggest reservations?
Yes, we do. You can go on our website atmomed.com
What would you suggest as a comfortable time to get here for a Friday or Saturday 8p curtain at the Atwater Village Theatres?
I recommend a minimum of 90 minutes for small parties and 2 hours for large parties.
How about a Sunday matinee with a 4p curtain?
We are open for brunch from 10a to 3p with the last seating at 3p, so I would say 2:30p or 3p.
How late do you stay open for post-show munchies?
Right now we serve beer and wine with a limited bar menu until about 10/10:30, but we will be staying open later once we get our liquor license, probably by June 1st.
Easy to find parking/valet?
Two large parking lots as well as plenty of street parking, valet parking on special events.
Any other info on Momed you'd like to add?
During the summer months, we have live music every other Saturday night in Atwater.
Thank you, Alex! And thank you to Ehsan, Erin, and the rest of the very accommodating staff of Momed Atwater Village.
Momed Atwater Village
3245 Casitas Ave
Atwater CA 90039
T 323 522 3488
Cafe: M - F 8a - 6p
S & S 9a - 6p
Restaurant: Lunch M - F 11:30a - 2:30p
Brunch S & S 10a - 3p
Dinner Sun - Thurs 5p - 9:30p
Dinner Fri - Sat 5p - 10p
Happy Hour M - F 2:30p - 6p
Momed Beverly Hills
233 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
T 310 270 4444