Mooi… muy bueno! - June 7th, 2010
I have been hearing from local vegans about this new raw and vegan restaurant called Mooi located in Echo Park for a couple of months. It just recently opened and I went with anticipation. I like raw food, I make raw food, I have visited raw food restaurants. I have never loved it. Well, thank you Mooi for opening my mind a little more to the idea of loving raw food!
We sat down in huge comfortable cushion-y chairs that I never wanted to get out of, for starters. There were three of us dining and as soon as we opened the menus, which are inside Dr. Suess books (adorable), we all immediately pointed to the glorious Jalapeno Poppers with Smoked Paprika Nut Cheese and Eggplant Bacon. The server came over and, I believe in unison, we declared we needed to try these. They came to the table and within about a minute and a half were gone. “Excuse me sir, may we have another order of the poppers?” Oh yes, we did have two orders to start…
On to ordering more food. We shared a few dishes and were all very pleasantly surprised that we LOVED them all! Oh, and the other two diners that were with me are not even vegetarian at all.. and they loved their vegan raw food meal.. that says it all right there Mooi.
We shared the Bengal Curry Salad… simply delightful. A beautiful blend of flavors really leaves one, again, wanting more.
We shared three entrees, one was the Orange Jackfruit Chicken over Rice. The rice was actually ground cooked cauliflower and coconut, from what I understood from the server. The jackfruit, out of this darn world! I am ashamed to say I, as a vegan chef, have never experimented with jackfruit but thanks to this dining experience that is definitely about to change. The consistency was that of a pulled chicken, if that exists. Pardon my lack of meat knowledge but if I could imagine a pulled chicken texture, this would be it. The flavors were amazing… this sauce, sweet, but not too sweet. Pungent, but not overpowering. Spicy, but just the right amount. I will certainly be back soon simply for this dish, again and again I am sure!
Alright another entree we ordered was the Enchiladas in Tomato Sauce with Walnut Refried Beans and Vegetables. These were very good, but nothing compared to the Jackfruit Chicken. They were light which is not a typical enchilada of course. The walnut refried beans were so awesome which is what I think actually brought the dish together for me..
We also shared the Thai Peanut Noodles with Mixed Vegetables. Again, also quite delicious. I am not a big noodle gal myself. It wasn’t my idea to order the noodles and to tell you the truth, I was slightly opposed at first. I like to order things I haven’t ever had or made myself. But I gotta give it to Mooi. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at this simple, yet taste bud dancing, dish.
On to dessert friends…
We had two desserts. One was this apple/ caramel/ something or other that I didn’t quite get the name or full description of. We saw it in the dessert case and decided on looks alone to order the apple thing-a-muh-jingie. It was very tasty, and I am really much more of a savory than sweet person. We all devoured it, nonetheless. The caramel type sauce on top really was delectable…
We also shared a Turkish Apricot Fig and Walnut Ice Cream which was so fresh and beautiful I didn’t even have time to take the picture. We really wanted to try some other flavors but they were having freezer problems and only had a few to choose from… they normally have a ridiculously vast selection… which, again, I will be back for.
All in all, Mooi was a delightful experience and I will certainly return. They have a few kinks to work out as does any new restaurant… but I have faith in them. I go for the food first and foremost and the rest of the stuff is secondary… and their food won me over.
Thank you Mooi!