Cape Verdean/Moqueca in E. Cambridge
Have heard grumblings about Cape Verdean food in East Cambridge--anyone with reports/thoughts/recommendations?
On a related (Portuguese colonies) note, anyone have reports/thoughts/recommendations on Moqueca, the East Cambridge spot serving (surprise) moquecas, spicy coconut stews? Is it still even open?
We tried Moqueca Friday night, went on the early side (7:15) because the crowds we'd seen on previous drive-bys after 8PM were daunting. This tiny storefront cafe seats about 20, plus a stream of take-out customers down the center.
There was a comprehensive review on this place ages ago, see the link:
Featured are Moquecas Capixaba, the state dish of Espirito Santo (where the owners are from) Our dishes were plenty hearty -- lumberjacks would be challenged finishing these big clay pots of bubbling fish stews. Do as the local Brazilians around us start with the fried yucca and/or plantain (not greasy) with dipping sauce, or even with linguica, maybe go for a side of collard greens (also very light), split the main course and maybe have an appetite for dessert.
Being new here, we ordered two dishes. My bacalhau capixaba was a very salty dried cod simmered with two boiled eggs (halved) plantain, tomato, pepprs, onion, corn, coconut milk. Husband had fish with shrimp and (shelled) mussels moqueca, simmered with cilantro, tomato, onions, etc. Both pots served with a large dish of white rice, a savory stewed plantain dish, and small pots of farofa, a powdery toasted cassava that you sprinkle on the broth to thicken and flavor it. Truly satisfying.
No beer or wine, but lots of soft drinks, and the blender was constantly churning out frothy fresh fruit smoothies.
Boston Magazine gave this very casual joint A "Best Of" in 2005. One of the few places I will allow my husband in with his weekend sweatpants and tshirt. More Portuguese spoken than English, although we 50-something anglos felt entirely welcomed. The atmosphere is warm and colorful. Lots of young folks-- with delicious hearty dinners from $7 to $16, a natural draw for anyone on budget.
Open Tues-Sat, 11AM - 9PM, Sun from noon - 5PM
1093 Cambridge St., on the east end of the Inman Square restaurant row. 617-354-3296
The Cape Verdean place I've seen is Luciano's (?) on Cambridge Street heading towards the courthouse. My guess is that it's been open about a month or so, but I've heard no reports yet.
Moqueca will be going nowhere fast, they do great business. Lots of workers in there around lunch time - they have a small Brazilian buffet by the pound, plus a full menu in addition to the stews. I love getting a fresh juice and a salgadinho on the weekend before heading out shopping.