Mocu-Mocu is a cozy and casual Japanese café specializing in what I like to call “street food”. Their signature menu item is Okonomiyaki which is a Japanese savory pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. At this point I would assume the readers of this blog must already be familiar with the word “Yaki” from Yakitori, Yakiniku or Yakisoba. Okonomiyaki is known mainly as originating from the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan. I try to eat Okonomiyaki every time I visit that region of Japan. Nowadays is has become popular and is widely available throughout the country.
Compared with sushi or ramen, Okonomiyaki is still relatively new to the US, and I would guess that some Americans are a bit suspicious how a savory pancake may taste. This time when I went to Mocu-Mocu I went with a Taiwanese friend who was very familiar with Japanese cuisine. We ordered Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki with several side dishes. The ingredients we chose for our Okonomiyaki were cabbage, pork, and optional items such as squid, and octopus. The unique feature of the Hiroshima style is that noodles are used as a topping along with a fried egg and a generous amount of Okonomiyaki sauce, which has a teriyaki flavor.
Even though we loved the Okonomiyaki and were tempted to order one more, we decided to save space in our stomachs for traditional Japanese sweets for dessert. We selected Obanyaki, Japanese sweet pancakes with various fillings. I had MATCHA DE BOSCO which had matcha cream and berry fillings – a perfect combination to satisfy my sweet tooth. My friend ordered UJIKINTOKI, a pancake filled with mocha, matcha cream, and Azuki red beans. He loved both the okonomiyaki and obanaki so much that he went back to the restaurant again just few days after our visit!
Price: Okonomiyaki starting at $14
Neighborhood: Hell’s Kitchen
Dress code: Casual
Dining alone: Yes, counter is available