Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mooi: Some like it raw

Mooi represents the new Echo Park with a vengeance: it's fashionable, yet funky, with a decadent sounding selection of dozens of flavors of ice cream -- yet the ice cream is made from raw cashews, and the "orange chicken" is made from jackfruit. Located in the old Jensen's Rec Center building, the look is fetching, with menus made from Dr. Seuss books, mismatched vintage furniture and an ice cream counter up front.And of course the patrons sport beards worthy of a deep woods logging camp. At lunch, though, you won't get to try the jackfruit chicken or enchiladas with sliced walnuts -- the lunch menu is quite small, with a soup, a few salads and two "sandwiches."
I use the term loosely because truly, a slice of cucumber on a clump of raw grains mushed into a patty does not a sandwich make.
A mild salad of apple, cucumber and zucchini cubes in a curry dressing was fine because of course, salad is normally raw. Though the sandwiches were basically a joke, I quite liked the ice cream. Given the caloric content of cashews and coconut, I'm guessing it's nutritionally similar to the real stuff, but my chocolate chile and Layne's Cracker Jack ice cream had a mapley sweetness,with a touch of salted caramel -- and pretty good in their own right.
I'd like to say I'll be back to try the more ambitious dinner menu, but who am I fooling? There's plenty of other places that actually apply heat to their food, so I'll probably pass, unless I'm totally jonesing for some apricot cashew ice cream.

1700 W. Sunset Blvd.
Echo Park


Reeves@Tasty Thailand said...

It's the same here in Bangkok at a raw food restaurant. Expensive (which I couldn't figure out as they barely use any electricity) and I was starving 15 minutes after I'd eaten. To pay twice what I'd pay anywhere else and still be hungry - nah, I'll eat elsewhere in future too.

Lovely photos though :)

Anonymous said...

I like the IDEA of mooi, but my experience there was on the low side of "eh." The Dr. Seuss menus are a cute idea, but the menu pages were dirty and glued into the book crookedly, as if no attention was paid to making them look nice. The furniture is cute and funky, but completely lacking in functionality -- the table we were seated at was lumpy wrought iron so you had to play a balancing act to keep your water glasses from spilling -- an act on of my friends failed at, drenching my legs, shoes, and purse with ice water through the table. The service was a flighty, and the food was just okay. You are right about the ice cream -- it's amazing -- it's the only thing I'd go back to mooi for, unfortunately.

Susan said...

Bless you, Pat, for trying Mooi so we don't have to. It's minutes away from us, yet I have less than zero desire to try it, even less now that I've read your review. What a silly bore. How I wish it was the Cafe Stella small plates concept it was originally going to be.

Anonymous said...

Reeves, Mooi aside, I strongly recommend you check out Cru or Leaf or Au Lac (all in LA) on your next visit or Pure Food and Wine in NY. All are good (the last mentioned is, in fact, outstanding) and not a one would leave you hungry, pretty much guaranteed.

One thing about Mooi - at very least they are absolutely dirt cheap compared to essentially every other raw place in the world.