Posts Tagged With: Mocu Mocu

Best Soups in Hell

Akamaru Modern Ippudo

Akamaru Modern Ippudo

Winter is here in beautiful Hell’s Kitchen.  The sky is blue, the birds are chirping, and the cabbies are singing “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” and other West Side Story tunes.  That’s what it feels like after you have any of those soups below on a cold NY day.  Let me put this another way… I’m not a soup person.  It rarely excites me, and I would never go out of my way for decent soup.  So for me to write about soup, it must be something special.  This post is 15 years in the making really, and none of these are your average homemade Ratatouille moment grandma soups.  For that I recommend grandma!  (although I will touch on some of those at the end)

Caldo de Bola at Nano – Perhaps I should have added to the above “Unless your Grandma is Ecuadorian”.  A tiny Eucadorian hole in the wall on 10th serves this traditional thing of beauty.  Rich, beefy broth with veggies, beef, corn on the cob, yes corn on the cob which is probably the least interesting item in there.  The most is a giant plantain dumpling with all sorts of awesome deliciousness inside… more beef, raisins, egg and peanut sauce.  Sounds bizarre, but it works

Caldo de Bola at NanoSpicy Ramen at Totto – Home to Ziggy’s first and coincidentally last Ramen, with about 100 in between.  Delicious Chicken Paitan broth topped with spicy sesame oil and your choice of chicken or pork belly (I’ve never had the chicken, always pork).  I like to sit at the counter at the 51st/10th location where you can also get some apps like Spicy Tuna Don at half price with your ramen (lunch time only I believe).  Cash only.

Totto Spicy RamenSukhothai Pork Noodles Soup at Pure Thai Cookhouse– While its hard for me to stay away from the rest of the menu normally, during frozen tundra times, this is the dish of choice.  A clean but tangy pork broth with rice noodles, sweet sliced roasted pork, long bean, bean sprout, peanuts, dried shrimp, ground pork, and if thats not enough, topped with pork cracklings.  Yes, its busy, YES its delicious.  Skip the option to upgrade to the homemade egg noodles and stick to tradition.  TRADITION!

Pure Thai SukhothaiShanghai Pork & Shrimp Wonton Soup at Mooncake Foods.  Calling this Wonton soup is almost criminal.  Whether you generally like Wonton soups or normally pass on them at your neighborhood Chinese takeout in favor of the hot & sour, is irrelevant.  Pure, clean chicken broth with a generous amount of fantastically meaty dumplings, and noodles (extra).  Perhaps the best cure for the common cold in the hood.

Mooncake Foods Wonton soupAkamaru Modern at Ippudo.  I’ve exchanged eye pleasantries and perhaps tasted a spoon or two, but after a dozen or so visits, I’ve never actually had Ramen at Ippudo that’s not called Akamaru Modern, mainly out of fear.  I’ve made it this far, waited this long, not settling for potentially second best.  This porky Tonkotsu Ramen with a secret umami paste transforms ramen as we know it.  A game changer.  While Totto is my quick ramen fix, this one is where I would bring a wife, or a date

Oxtail Soup at Pam Real Thai – I’ve already written about this one in great length.  Forget winter!  This is the official cure to summer time sadness.

Pam Real Oxtail Soup

The RestIndie Fresh at Gotham West Market got unusual and healthy soups like Borscht that can even make a Babushka blush… a rather shy Babushka.  When I’m in the mood for something simple like white bean or split pea soup I head to my friend Anna at Café Ole.  Sometimes when I feel naughty, I get Ezra’s terrific split pea with my falafel at Azuri CaféMocu Mocu serves a most unusual Miso with white bean and Sausage.  RIP Bis.Co.Latte, and Holly’s amazing soups

Mocu Mocu Miso

Mocu Mocu Miso

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mocu-Mocu – Sister Act

Mocu Mocu ArtWatching 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 WingsMocu 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.

Mocu Mocu Obanyaki Mocu-Mocu Obanyaki

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!

Mocu-Mocu
746 10th Ave
$$
Recommended Dishes: Soups, wings, and everything that ends with Yaki

Mocu-Mocu SetMocu Mocu Takoyaki Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki Mocu Mocu Mocu Mocu Mocu-Mocu inside

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hellish Update

Mocu Mocu DishesIn my constant pursuit to bringing you the best bites in an area I call Hell’s Kitchen, I present to you this most pressing update.  Two in, two out

Out:  We fare adios to Bis.Co.Latte who lost their battle with the rising rent monster.  This means we are saying goodbye to over 50 flavors of Biscotti, but more importantly Hell’s Kitchen best soups.  Best of luck to Holly & Antone with the next venture.  Hopefully a soup truck right at my doorsteps.

Out:  Co Ba 53.  While I wouldn’t be so quick to remove a place closed by the health dep’t, the last couple of meals helped with the decision.  I wish them the best, and please if you do reopen, get rid of the stupid tablecloth.  It makes you look fancier than you are, and it doesn’t fit the place and the neighborhood (Update:  Just passed by them and they already reopened.  Oh Well)

In:  Otto’s Tacos.  The first addition I didn’t even need to try.  I’m already well too familiar with their East Village spot, and those shrimp tacos (hmmm, how you doing).  But I did of course had my fix on day two of this most important Hell’s Kitchen opening since Gotham West.  I’ll be seeing more of them

In:  Mocu Mocu.  More Japanese goodies in the hood, though there’s really nothing like this in the area.  Artsy, nifty but very casual spot that is still trying to find its bearings.   Essentially all sorts of Japanese street food and snacks.  Takoyaki (octopus balls), Oshinko (homemade pickles), soups like the terrific white bean and Sausage Miso, Okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), Obanyaki (dessert pastries), decent wings.  I’ve been here three times already and each time I discover something new.  This project is a collaboration of two sisters and Hiroko Shimbo, an acclaimed cookbook author.  Unlike the new atrocity across the street El Original, this place hasn’t spent a day on any hot list, while flying under everyone radar.  Its all in the marketing, and word of mouth.  That’s why I’m here

Buon Appetito!Mocu Mocu Miso Mocu Mocu Otto's Tacos

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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