Food News

MoMo Italian Kitchen Remains a Lake Highlands Gem

Carpaccio di Manzo.
Carpaccio di Manzo. Nick Reynolds
MoMo Italian Kitchen is tucked away in North Dallas on Forest Lane near Central Expressway and Interstate 635. A Lake Highlands Italian staple for decades, it has recently added a full bar, where mixologist Leann Barry concocts specialty cocktails and classics. With a recent update of the interior and the addition of a new private dining room, we thought it was time for a fresh look.

MoMo, not to be confused with MoMo's Pasta on Preston Road, was founded more than 35 years ago by Antonio "Momo" Gattini, of Tuscany. In 2017, two local restaurant veterans, Wende Stevenson and Aaron Goss (whose resumes include The Green Room, Ziziki's, Shinsei and Mot Hai Ba, where they had management roles), bought this spot and continue to serve the traditional recipes the original owners created.

Pasta plates dominate the menu, like a Capelli d’Angelo alla MoMo ($26), which is shrimp and smoked salmon tossed in pink Marsala cream sauce. The Ravioli di Carne ($19) is house-made and filled with chicken, pork and mortadella in a prosciutto and mushroom cream sauce. In addition to the pasta dishes, there are risottos, lasagnas, pizzas, salads and several meat and fish entrées. We already have our eyes on the Pollo alla Marchigiana ($24), egg-washed chicken breast sautéed in brandy cream sauce with prosciutto, for our next trip.
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Baladin is a craft brewery in Italy.
Nick Reynolds
After taking our seats, we ordered a bottle of Baladin Birra Nazionale ($8), a hoppy Italian craft beer made of 100% Italian ingredients. For our starter, we went with the insalata verde ($8 for a small order, $15 for a large), which consisted of green leaf lettuce, walnuts, radish, tomatoes and bell peppers cloaked in a bright caper vinaigrette dressing. The salads here are radiant; you won’t find any sad, wilted salads at MoMo. Ingredients are supremely fresh and crisp as if everything on your plate was harvested moments before you walked through the door. All tables are also given complimentary focaccia bread with pesto sauce.

Next we went with an order of Carpaccio di Manzo ($17.50): thin slices of raw beef tenderloin, shaved Parmigiano and arugula dripped in aioli. It was outstanding. (See photo at top.)

Awaiting our main course, we ordered a cocktail from the bar — the Italian 75 ($11), a stout concoction of Lemoncello and prosecco. While we worked on our drink, we had an opportunity to take in the space. It’s dimly lit and the perfect place for a date. We imagine the large fireplace in the middle of the dining room must be a phenomenal mood-setter for brisk fall and winter nights. And when the temps are optimal, there's a great covered patio with ample space and seating.
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Rotolo Verde.
Nick Reynolds
We went with the Rotolo Verde ($19), a house-made pasta, rolled with spinach and baked with Gruyere and mascarpone cheese. It’s complemented by a light tomato sauce. We ate ours with the focaccia we had left over from earlier and with a drift of Italian gravy.

MoMo’s desserts include panna cotta (vanilla bean custard with chocolate), which sounded nice, as did the Sciuscia (chocolate ice cream with house-made Vov liqueur and dusted with crumbled Amaretto cookies). Alas, we didn’t quite have the room. Maybe next time.

As we've previously reported, happy hour at MoMo's is a find. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. MoMo's happy hour bites range from $3 to $6 and go well with cocktail specials like $7 Negroni Sbagliato (a spritz version of the classic) and a MoMo sangria for $5. There are even a few $3 items like Montucky lager and OHB's All Good Kolsch. On Thursty Thursday, enjoy $6 glasses of wine along with $3 and $4 beers.

MoMo Italian Kitchen, 8989 Forest Lane. Tuesday 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Wednesday 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Thursday 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Friday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Sunday 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
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