Mooncake Foods, 月餅 (Yuebing) A Restaurant with Inventive Menu of Asian Fusion
If you have had the mediocre mooncakes,( 月餅 yuebing) that are sold here in the East or the US as opposed to the real thing sold in China, do let that deter you from checking out the Mooncake Food restaurants here in NYC. Unlike the pale mooncakes that may come your way in NYC on Mid Autumn Festival, Mooncake the Restaurant is a dazzling display of Asian fusion cuisine, with the creators having ancestry of varying places in East Asia and South East Asia (Vietnam and Chinese), and perhaps one other.
I was so impressed with Mooncake on 359 West 54 Street just East of 9th Ave.. ( also 28 Watt St. and 263 West 30th ).
This place is amazingly comfortable to sit in and eat, with a long wide bar, and seating opposite, while the kitchen is behind the full length of the long bar. Bright and modern atmosphere in a small space makes for an intimate setting with the friendly staff and the cooks and of course the food.
They do many take out delivery orders, but the reason to go and have a meal is to see the nice presentation of food and have as many pints of Sapporo as you and your guests desire for the low price of $2.50 per pint of draft Sapporo.
That is not happy hour price, that is the price from open to close, and let us not be a lush, for the food is varied from a creative selections of the Bahn Min (9.50), Dumplings (6.50) Spring Rolls (5.50) and Heros at 8.00 (Grilled Chicken; Pork Chops w/ Mango; Smoked White Fish Salad and more all with add cheese for 1.00), as well as plates of food (entries), salads and a variety of noodle dishes that transcend one selection and are found in many of the menu selections including the salad selection (soup, with salad, as an entre, etc.).
Plates are at 9.50 and include Octopus with Spinach Noodles Short Ribs Shanghai Style, MISO GLAZED SALMON, and more.
I have to admit aside from seeing the cooks prepare all the different foods while sitting at the bar, I only know the CRAWFISH DUMPLINGS and CRAWFISH / SHITAKE MUSHROOMS WANTON (ordered without soup), and of course the pint offering of Sapporo. These are Shanghai Style Wonton (上海式的餛飩), and quite delicious. The other option is Peashoots and Roasted Garlic Wonton. This leads me to mention the Vegitarian friendly menu with Peashoot Dumplings and Other itmes on the menu.
The Crawfish Dumplings were so good. I have found that they are a balance between too thin dough skin and too thick dough skin. They are created in house and are fresh.
Dinner Specials at 16.00 change daily but consistent weekly, such as Grilled Prawn and Glass Noodles with Cilentro Mint Pesto on Mondays, and Garlic / Sesame Grilled Hanger Steak on Saturday.
A very nice array of Salads are offered at 9.50 with highlights using items such as Tofu, Shrimp, Seared Tuna and Arugula, Broiled Salmon with Mesclun (and lemongrass) to Asian Pear with Chicken Sausage.
For this consumer confined to the habits of contemporary western culture, if I am looking for shuijiao (水饺), Dumpling that is, this is on the top of the list. They have an excellent in house puree jalapeno hot sauce, for anything you order, and people ordering their dishes that are meal oriented items will not be disappointed in portions.
359 W 54th St, New York, NY 10019
Sounds like Mooncake made some money or got some backing. The 54th St one sounds much nicer looking than what I believe is the original branch on Watts St. in SoHo. The Watt St. store has about 4 tables and a small bar. Very tight, not modern. But very friendly staff. One of the owners was a woman, who said her ethnicity was Chinese/Vietnamese. The website mentions a male owner . In any case, I love Mooncake, and I am happy they have other branches. The lobster rolls are way different than all the other lobster rolls I have had in NYC. The lobster is hot not cold, no mayo on it, its on a toasted roll with garlic butter. I usually try to get them to put less garlic. They tend to put alot of minced garlic. You et a huge amount of lobster and it is half the price of Mary's , Pearl, Ed's etc and to my taste , a lot better. The pork chop in a soy white wine , is great. The salads are excellent. And the pea shoot dumplings are one of my favorites. For inexpensive high quality food ( and they avoid greasy frying) Mooncake is the place to go.
The owners I only heard about from the staff.
The all on staff are quite knowingly intelligent about food, much so and can answer any questions.
There price magin seems to be what sells, along with the taste, selection, and friendly and knowledgle oriented staff.
I was impressed with the menu, which seems inclusive to West and East while not skimping on either in items offered, while also having some items that are quite unique or fushion. Heros and Banh Min, along with all there dishes, plates, and daily specails. They are doing something right and seem to be reapingthe rewards, as should be in free enterprise.
I have the good fortune to leave near the Watts St. location and work on the same block as the Midtown location; so I know my Mooncake.
The pulled pork sandwich is AWESOME! For $9.50 you get a tremendous amount of pork in a great BBQ sauce. I also enjoy the meatball hero and pork chop sandwich. I have had the beef curry stew several times, and find it good (not great) for the price.
Hands-down, the best part of the meal is the super super spicy green sauce they give. Ask for extra and pop it in the fridge.
Overall, a truly solid meal. If they sold the green sauce at WF I would be in heaven.
I thought the sizes of the orders being done in front of me, as I sat eating my Crawfish Dumpling and sipping my Sapporo were substantial and very good with price, a lot of tasty food for under 10.
When I was there a woman from California had just flown in to NYC, and when she arrived to Mooncake stated "here at last".
She had dropped her stuff off at the hotel and immediately headed to Mooncake.
She digs their noodle dishes.
The hot sauce is a very tasty item, the green one that is, and goes nicely with the more hot, but a bit sweet Sirachi sauce they use. I have been meaning to check out the Watts Street shop, and will soon.
I agree with you thru and thru.
It is easy to get lost in those place, spend money for bum quality and a bit of decor.
Prior to wandering into Mooncake, earIier in the day, I had eaten a lunch and spent near 30 dollars, for a sausage plate, borek (an Albanian non-sweet pastry thing), and a Croatian beer. That is crazy.
That place, a Balkan shop and restaurant, did not impress me, though the beer selection is rather good. There are better places for Borek.
I do like the Cupcake Cafe, and have to say it is one favored coffee place, top of list.
Mooncake is worth a visit.
Agree with regards to loving the 54th street location; it is a great addition to the area. I don't think that 9th ave is quite as dire as you portray; there are quite a few good-value places on 9th, though of course there are some not-so-great options.
I especially like the octopus over spinach noodles dish- I have never had anything quite like it. A nice blend of hearty flavors while avoiding being too heavy. A great portion size for the price.