Vol. LXIV, No. 24
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Fans of Japanese cuisine are delighted to have a new opportunity to pamper their palate!
MoC MoC opened at 14 South Tulane Street in March, and there are already many regular customers.
Lots of people come in at least once a week, and some even come every day, report owners (and siblings) Michael and Carrie Chang.
Some diners knew Mr. Chang when he was a chef at Sunny Gardens, he adds. They say they are happy to have found us here at this location. We are very encouraged with the customers response.
Mr. Chang grew up in the restaurant business. His family, who came from Taiwan, owned a Japanese restaurant in New York City for 20 years. I always wanted to be a chef, he says, and I trained in our restaurant in New York, as well as with other chefs. I always hoped to have my own restaurant, and I was looking for a place to open.
The location on Tulane Street (formerly the long-time home of Verbeyst Cleaners) was available, and the Changs totally renovated the space, transforming it into a very inviting setting for dining. Brown and white wood paneling complements the dining room, which can seat 45 people.
The handsome sushi bar offers six places at the counter, and customers are able to have a full view of these culinary delicacies. We have organized it for eye appeal, explains Mr. Chang. The visual aspect and presentation are important. We also have fresh orchids as garnishment.
Lunch, dinner, and take-out are offered every day, and there is also a growing catering business.
Fresh fish is the key to successful sushi, and MoC MoC offers the freshest Mr. Chang can find. We get our fish from a special company, and we have wild-caught seafood. We never over-order food because we want it to be very fresh. Popular seafood choices are organic king salmon, anago (sea eel), and madai (sea bream white fish).
Sushi, which actually means fish over rice, is available as an appetizer or entree. Typical fish for sushi are tuna, yellow tail, and white fish, notes restaurant manager Jenny Wang. It can be raw (sashimi), lightly cooked or seared, or fully cooked.
Sushi entrees are accompanied by soup and salad, and include many varieties. Sushi Delux offers nine pieces of sushi and a tuna roll; the sushi and sashimi combination features a mixture of assorted fish, sashimi, and tuna roll. There are also larger platters for two to share. Vegetable sushi is another option, and vegetarians often enjoy this dish.
Sushi Bar appetizers offer a sushi sampling of assorted fish on rice, also, sashimi sampler, takosu (sliced octopus with lettuce in ponzu sauce), and MoC pancake pan-fried pancake with spicy tuna or spicy salmon.
The pancake is a big hit with everyone, report the Changs.
In addition to the many sushi choices, MoC MoC offers a variety of rolls, including the very popular California roll (crabmeat, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in seasoned rice and seaweed), tekka maki (tuna roll), fresh salmon roll, eel roll, and spicy tuna, and spicy salmon roll. Special gourmet sushi rolls include mango lobster roll and transformer roll (tuna, salmon, white tuna, and avoacado wrapped with seaweed; lightly fried and topped with spicy sauce).
Also available are such special entrees as teriyaki, tempura, udon (thick Japanese noodles in soup broth), and yaki udon (stir-fried noodles with seasoned vegetables). Brown rice is served with many dishes.
Non-sushi appetizers include shrimp shumai (steamed shrimp dumplings), yakitori (grilled chicken or beef on skewer), and MoC egg roll (shrimp, pork, carrot, onion, taro, radish and scallion wrapped with rice paper), among many others.
Mr. Chang regularly offers a special of the month, including appetizer and entree. This month, fantasy salmon (sliced salmon with yuzu citrus dressing) and hola hamanchi (thinly-sliced yellow tail, topped with jalapeno peppers, caviar, and yuzu citrus dressing), and Chilean sea bass are available.
We also have fresh wasabi, which is a fresh root from Japan, says Mr. Chang. It is normally served with sushi, and customers are very happy that we nearly always have it.
Many customers like to bring wine or saki, and MoC MoC offers set-ups, adds Ms. Wang.
Desserts include such specialties as Mochi ice cream and tempura ice cream. Hot and iced tea, hot and iced coffee, and sodas are all available.
MoC MoC is very focused on personal attention, and customer satisfaction is a big priority, says Mr. Chang. We offer customers a scented wet towel to wash their hands before they eat. Sushi is eaten with the fingers, and people really appreciate having the towel.
Customers will find a range of prices, with appetizers starting at $5 or $6, and sushi entrees from $15.
Private parties for 12 can be accommodated in a downstairs room. Many of our customers have traveled, and are knowledgeable about Japanese food, points out Mr. Chang. If they want to arrange a private party, they can call ahead to order their favorite dishes. We look forward to helping customers with their special requests.
I enjoy seeing the customers happy, he adds, and I am so glad when they tell me how much they have enjoyed their lunch or dinner. And I am very happy that business is just getting better and better!
MoC MoC is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; for dinner Monday through Friday 5 p.m to 10 p.m.; Saturday noon to 10:30, Sunday noon to 9:30. (609) 688-8788.
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