Victus Members enjoy the following perk when visiting this restaurant:
Complementary OSOZAI & Buy One, Get One on Obanyaki
MOCU-MOCU is one of Hell’s Kitchen’s newest establishments, and quickly becoming a popular go-to spot for lunch, coffee, or a snack. The small, sleekly designed space is equal parts restaurant and cafe. Sit down for a modern version of a traditional Japanese lunch, or grab a quick coffee and a tasty treat to-go. It might just be my new favorite snack-stop (Obanyaki where have you been all my life!? …but more on that later).
The menu consists of small bites and combination plates made up of classic Japanese dishes with a western twist. For example, you can order up some okonomiyaki – a popular Japanese comfort food – but you can also try a baked version of the traditional dish, topped with your choice of coconut shrimp, pork belly, or chicken. Add to your meal any number of small side dishes, like chilled edamame vichyssoise soup, summer vegetable namban, red cabbage and carrot salad with cranberries, or some house-made pickles. And of course, they have the wildly popular –however bewildering it may seem to me –takoyaki (I know I’m in the minority, guys, but I just can’t get my head ’round something most easily described as “octopus balls”). The food is flavorful and filling, but light and healthy at the same time.
MOCU-MOCU lives up to its cafe status by also offering a number of standard caffeine-type drinks. They’ve got your typical selection of coffees and teas, however they also serve up some yummy twists like Mocu’s Matcha Latte and an iced green tea with white peach, watermelon, and kiwi. Oh, and they’ve got a number of sake cocktails, too –ranging from the typical (ginger basil) to the intriguing (smoky yuzu pepper). For those really wanting to get their day-drink on, they also serve a variety of sake, beer, and sparkling wine.
But the real draw of MOCU-MOCU has got to be the obanyaki. A popular Japanese dessert consisting of a waffle-like dough stuffed with various sweet fillings in the shape of, for lack of a better descriptor, a hockey puck. MOCU-MOCU offers five different varieties –matcha cream and mixed berries, yuzu flavored apple compote and custard cream, sweet azuki with maple syrup batter (See, the waffle analogy is spot on!), sweet azuki and mint chocolate, and Ujikintoki (mochi, matcha cream, and azuki). They are delicious, not overly sweet, little pastries, perfect for a cup of tea and a mid-afternoon break. And if you like your desserts to be both tasty and adorable, they even have little powdered sugar messages sprinkled on top –like “Hava Mocu Time.” Try them individually, or grab a trio tasting plate. Oh, and they also have eight different flavors of mochi ice cream. Dessert heaven.
The cafe is located in Hell’s Kitchen at 746 10th Ave. Just don’t try and go on a Monday though, as they’re closed. But other than that, their hours are extensive –opening at 11:30am and serving up obanyaki and other treats until 10 or 11pm, daily. So you’ve got plenty of chances to swing by for a healthy lunch, quickly ruined by a number of delicious desserts, and topped off with a summer-y sake cocktail.
Have you tried MOCU-MOCU for yourself yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
Lauren is a New York based actor/singer/writer. She is a graduate of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University as well as the College of the Holy Cross. She’s a fan of beer, pasta, and academic establishments with unnecessarily long titles. Find her on stage, or online– she’s there often.