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MoC MoC Sushi, Princeton

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J and I had a great dinner tonight at Princeton's newest sushi & Japanese cuisine restaurant.

We called ahead for a res'v and were advised they only take res'v for 8's or more. No problem as we were already on our way, parked in the Spring Street garage less than a block away and made a quick stop in Witherspoon Wines for a bottle of Chardonnay.

The restaurant is on Tulane Street next to the Princeton Record Exchange and the building has been totally redone inside and out. The result is a very hip, modern, inviting and comfortable space.

We decided to share everything so we ordered edamame and an avocado salad to start. Both were very fresh with the edamame served piping hot. The salad was served (at our request) with their house ginger dressing on the side. The dressing was very good and was thicker than many we've had in the past.

For our second course we ordered a couple of their gourmet sushi rolls - the Dragon roll and the Transformer roll along with an ala carte order of toro (fatty tuna).

The Dragon roll was a combination eel and cucumber roll wrapped with thinly sliced avocado and topped with caviar. Overall it was good with the eel being very mild and not distinctive. We'd recommend it for someone trying eel for the first time.

The Transformer roll was excellent. It is a combination of tuna, salmon, white tuna and avocado, wrapped in seaweed then very lightly fried and topped with a spicy sauce. The sauce really set it off and the combination was so good that we ordered a second.

The ala carte toro was two pieces of super fresh, melt in your mouth quality. Could have had a lot more but the second Transformer roll really filled us up!

Service throughout was excellent. After dinner we had a chance to meet one of the owners Carrie Chang. Carrie manages the front of the house while her brother Michael is behind the sushi bar. Both worked previously at Sunny Garden and now have their own place to showcase their skills. Their experience shows as the place was full yet running without a hiccup, after being open for only a week.

All in all, a very welcomed addition to Princeton and we look forward to many return visits to enjoy more of the cuisine.

Now, about the name... MoC MoC is a take on Carrie and Michael's initials and also a play on the Japanese greeting of moshi moshi. MoC can be pronounced MoShi. We like the creativity.

http://mocmocsushi.com/home

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  1. Foody, great report, sounds really good and the place looks stylish. We're in Princeton quite often and MoC MoC is now on our list to try.

    1. I had the chance to go to Mo C Mo C too.
      My favorite is their lobster fruit salad. It is to die for.
      Their fish is amazing fresh. I had couple chief special rolls and white tuna.
      AMAZING. I am going back for more this weekend.
      Great review.

      1. great sushi! excellent service! we went moc moc sushi for dinner friday night.
        it was so good that we went again and brought our in-laws the following day for lunch.
        compliments to the chef! can't wait to try some more dishes from the menu!

        1. great to hear! I live super close to this restaurant, might get some tonight :)

          1. MoC MoC, the new Japanese Restaurant in Princeton (since end of March 2010), is tucked into a space on Tulane Street, a few doors down from Nassau. It’s a happy discovery. Menu selections are freshly appealing, and one looks forward to more than one visit to try a variety of them. The food is well presented and delicious, and the service is attentive and friendly. The décor is sleek and attractive, although every surface is hard and reflects sound. No thought has been given to noise absorption or the value of cloth, carpet, or a few acoustic panels. Of course, most diners converse quietly and all is well. However, when a group of four or more raise their voices to match their high spirits, the rest of the diners must shout to hear each other in this tiny venue.

            Although my friends and I have only tried five offerings on the menu, we found them all to be pleasing, satisfying, and well-priced, on the upper side of reasonable. Their Gourmet Sushi rolls are marvelous. Sadly, the customary pot of tea does not accompany the meal. Instead, for two dollars, you can each choose jasmine or green tea, and receive a cup with a bag in it, and a small carafe of hot water -- a poor value, and an aesthetic disappointment. The tea is good, the choice is welcome, but the absence of a pot of tea for the table detracts from the graciousness one is accustomed to in Japanese restaurants.

            I plan to return here, and I recommend MoC MoC, in hopes that their initial decisions about acoustics and a beverage choice that excludes a welcoming pot of tea will be remedied. Arrive early. BYOB if you wish. No lunch menu on weekends.

            1 Reply
            1. re: eatout8

              Usually Japanese Rstaurant doesn't charge TEA.
              Also Tea was not so good at my visit...

            2. Zelda and I stopped in over the weekend to check out MoC MoC, and see what all the buzz was about after a quick stop at the Princeton Corkscrew for a 1/2 bottle of 2007 Domaine Corsin Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes to enjoy with our sushi.

              Walked up to the restaurant and the first thing we noticed on the exterior of the restaurant was the fresh stone facade. Upon walking in, you see the decor, from the nice, dark, fresh hardwood, to the scrolling slats of wood white and dark twisting and turning up the walls and across the ceiling. You can tell that they spend some time working on the decor of the restaurant, and I think it came out nice. Realistically speaking though, had a friend not mentioned this restaurant, we never would have known it was even here as this is not a street we drive down often.

              There were 3-4 other tables seated, and a few more tables came in as we dined. They definitely get some traffic in here, and for good reason as the fish is good, and fresh as well. Maybe they need a stand up sign or something on Nassau Street so more people know it's here, but they seem to be doing just fine.

              Service was prompt as we sat, our wine was opened, and we were brought some moist towlettes to wash our hands. Water glasses were brought over along with menu's, and we started looking to see what we should have.

              I opted for my staple, the shrimp tempura roll, which was similar to other places, and just plain tasty. I went for the Transformer roll as well consisting of tuna, salmon, and white tuna, which was fried and topped with a nice spicy sauce of sorts. This was a big roll, and worth every penny of the $14 they charge for it. I thought it was absolutely delicious, and would definitely order it again.

              Zelda opted for a spicy salmon roll, as well as a Boston roll, and these too were good. the fish had great colors, and I really enjoyed the spicy mayo that this we served with.

              All in all, another great Chowhound selection, and it made for an enjoyable afternoon with my gorgeous bride in lovely Princeton. We'll be back for certain, so thanks to the other Chowhounds on here for the suggestion! Cheers! -mJ

              1 Reply
              1. re: njfoodies

                We had our first return visit last night. Ordered pretty much the same as our first visit and really enjoyed everything. Passes the consistency test and we'll be back for lots more! If you like spicyness, try their spicy crab salad. Lots of zing in the dressing! It was a full house at 7 on a Tuesday, a clear sign they have something good going on.

              2. This is sushi for beginners. The sushi rice is overly dense, sweet and not at proper temperature. The toro was subpar and overpriced given the quality. Service was unprofessional- constantly upselling without letting customer know there were additional charges for "recommendations" or "suggestions". For example, you will be asked if you would prefer '"fresh wasabi". Well who wouldnt, but no one tells you that there will be an additional charge on the bill. All that annoyance aside, my main problem rests with the food. This place wouldnt last ten minutes in New York- it's going to have to rely on unsophisticated diners and transient tourists to survive. Either that or they'll need to hire an experienced sushi chef here. one star at best

                6 Replies
                1. re: percarpio

                  Ah, but this is Princeton, land of the mediocre and the overpriced!

                  1. re: percarpio

                    Sunday lunch is a very hard test for a Japanese restaurant in general (or any restaurant), and having been stuck in Princeton for late lunch, I felt this would be an interesting experiment. I've been meaning to try this for awhile, and today I had an excuse. I haven't tried enough, or often enough, to say that I know the place well, but given my experience they are, for NJ sushi places - "OK". Worthy of considering.)

                    What "OK" means is that the fish is fresh, the eel tastes as it should, the miso soup is generous if not anything better than good (good is better than decent). OK is pretty good for central/south NJ, so take that for what it is worth. (Also, as parent suggests, tea is extra, as is everything beyond what is spelled out.)

                    Pluses: The fish smells and tastes clean and fresh. (I mean that as a high compliment.) They mention some rare and/or wild fish I wonder if I should have tried.
                    Minus: *RICE*/miso soup was just OK

                    I'm sorry, but why is it *so* *so* hard to get decent rice as a base for sushi here? Dense, cold, unseasoned.

                    I hope it hasn't changed, but Shumi is my remaining standard for acceptable sushi in central NJ. [Actually, the place on Cedar Grove in Somerset is not bad, as I reconsider.]

                    Incidentally, my wife is more open-minded to non-traditional Japanese food than I am and thought the transformer roll was very good. I truly respect that judgement for people who have palates and (very good) tastes that differ from mine!

                    -T

                    -----
                    Shumi Restaurant
                    30 S. Doughty Ave., Somerville, NJ 08876

                    1. re: Tiamat

                      I believe the place is been open now for going on 10 months, and is still an outstanding place here in Princeton. Tonight the New York Times was in the house, they where doing a review and photo shoot of the place and the food. They were just banging out the dishes and the photograph was popping one shot after another. The presentation where beautiful, and everything was so fresh and great tasting, as always. I have never been in this place and ever been served poor quality fish. I was so proud to be part of the NY Times Magazine shoot and even if they don't use my photo, I had a great time. I recommend this place to all my friends that like Japanese food. I also love the design and decor in the place, so modern. And the service is really good too. All I can say is if your into great Japanese cuisine, this is the place for you. The idea of BYOB is great because I can bring whatever I like and not be stuck with whatever they have in stock at a bar and then pay the per bottle prices, byob is much much better. Go check out the place for yourself.

                      -----
                      Mo C Mo C Japnese Cuisine
                      14 South Tulane Street, Princeton, NJ

                      1. re: MrTequila

                        That's good to hear! Do you know who it was from the Times that was there? I also agree on the decor being modern. I think I mentioned something in my post above as well about thr scrolling wood.

                        To add to this, for those who are not into wine, but want to bring something, Cool Vines just moved right around the corner from MoC MoC, and they have a great selection of small, small production/boutique wines at good prices. Mark and his crew over there do a darn good job! -mJ

                        1. re: MrTequila

                          we were back again last week and really liked the convenience of having Cool Vines next door. What a great set up... one can simply park in the spring street garage, cross the street to Cool Vines for a cool bottle and head up the block to MoC MoC!

                          The Naruto is a new fav. It's a riceless roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, crabmeat, avocado and caviar wrapped in thin cucumber slices. Like all of their specialty rolls, it's quite large and plated beautifully. It's a pretty basic combo yet was ultra fresh. Really great. We also enjoyed our usual Transformer roll and were spying the spicy tuna, salmon and yellowtail trio served to a nearby couple. Will have to try that next time.

                          Also saw the recent NY Times review. Too bad the pics don't show more of the striking interior design. Definitely agree, MoC MoC is "worth it".

                          http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/nyr...

                          1. re: Foody4life

                            Couldn't agree with you any more on CoolVines. It really is a great store in a convenient location, and the staff in there is great! They have a great selection of low production/high quality wines, and I think it's a great addition to that area. We used to shop with them even at their old location. Definitely have some nice wines, perfect for sushi! Love the fact that they have some cold whites too!

                            It's been a while since we've been to MoC MoC! May have to make another trip soon! -mJ

                    2. It is good to hear that there are at least three of us who care about such things.

                      It's hard to explain this to native North-Easterners, but I can say the parallel would be if someone from Seattle said to you, I know the best Italian restaurant in the U.S., and it's run by two Norwegian guys who live in Ballard, WA and their best sauce is a tomato base with tamarind and five spice.

                      (Yes, Yes, I know Batali's connections to the NW, but if you have ever lived in both NYC and Seattle you will understand what I'm saying.)

                      'Authenticity' isn't everything, and it is often overrated, but whereas we laugh at folks who don't know Italian food from Olive Garden, I'm alarmed at how many don't recognize Japanese and/or Thai food // vs. Chinese + (Raw Fish OR lots of hot peppers)

                      -T

                      1. I really think your not being fare or even realistic in stating that you believe that Chinese or Thai Sushi bars serve up poor quality. But if thats the way yoou feel then maybe yoou should stick to only eating your japanese cuisins in Japan.

                        As for me I Love the cuisin served at Mo C Mo C and so do all my friends and that includes Japanese friends from Japan too. I really wish that I could try there newest roll but Cucumbers make me sick. But I glad they haven't removed the spicy trioyet from the menu, that's my favorite to date.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MrTequila

                          They are not serving real Japanes. May be arranged wrong way??
                          Good for who doesn't know real Japanese but please do not think this is real japanes.
                          My visit was waste time and money...