Watching Mocu-Mocu grow is like watching a child grow. I wasnt there during inception, but I watched the development for the next 9 months, and the rapid changes after birth. Its only been 5 months, but before you know it, you are standing there swooping three different bra sizes into that laundry basket. I watched them build a modern, casual, artsy Japanese eatery specializing in… stuff (more on that). I watched them move from front window ordering to a comfortable sit down surrounded by smiles. I watched them build the constantly changing menu that includes a la carte, sets, pictures, and more sets that mimic Japanese traditions. Its a work in progress, but a fun and most interesting one to follow.
Mocu Mocu, a dream come true for two Japanese sisters, sits in a rather odd location in Hell’s Kitchen (10th/51st). Unlike Tex-Mex El Original which opened around the same time one block over, Mocu employs no PR firms, and didnt spend any time on any hot lists. Scorecard so far: One visit to El Original, four to Mocu Mocu. El Original, the name, is actually a better fit for Mocu Mocu since there’s nothing like it in the area and perhaps in the entire city. A true original
So what’s the specialty here? Well, some may say things that end with “yaki”. Takoyaki, doughy octopus balls, come topped with a posse of dancing bonito flakes. Okonomiyaki, tasty veggie filled savory pancakes are used almost like sandwiches hugging chicken, pork belly or coconut shrimp. The chicken Okonomiyaki is in danger of becoming my regular. Then there’s the larger and messier Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki that comes with a dollop of cabbage and fried noodles. And while consuming all these Yakis, you get brainwashed via the videos in the front into ordering perhaps the tastiest yaki of all, the Obanyaki. A gorgeous, not too sweet, dessert pastry filled with various “half and half” combinations. The one I tasted, titled Matcha de Bosco (should come with its own Reggaeton soundtrack) was filled with Matcha Cream and Mixed Berries.
There are six sets on the current menu featuring various combinations, and in true Japanese traditions (I’m told) all the items arrive at the same time. Along with your favorite “yaki” it may include seasonal Oshinko (pickled veggies, normally cabbage), salads, and unique soups like Chilled Edamame Vichyssoise with dried Edamame which I havent tried yet. Though I did have and enjoyed the minestrone like white bean and Sausage Miso. This most unusual miso is a product of Hiroko Shimbo, an acclaimed cookbook author that served as Mocu’s consultant. And if none of this works for you, there are always wings. Quite satisfying ones actually
In this corner of Hell’s Kitchen where tourists and high-heeled office workers are at the minimum, you either need to offer something cheap for the children walking from school or interesting one-off flavors that arent easily found anywhere. Totto Ramen around the corner is a good example. While there’s nothing unique about Ramen in NYC these days, there’s nothing like it in the immediate area. Mocu Mocu takes it even further as there may not be anything like it in the entire city. Go!
746 10th Ave
Recommended Dishes: Soups, wings, and everything that ends with Yaki