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Moksa Opening Soon

I still don't know why this is a hotly anticipated opening (or even why Patricia Yeo is famous), but from the pics of the interior that have come out, Moksa seems to tend more toward a nightclub that serves food rather than a restaurant that has music and dancing.


I hope the designer wasn't paid too much.

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  1. Probably because like Floating Rock (and to a lesser extent Veggie Galaxy) they keep pushing back the opening. So it's hotly anticipated because it has been anticipated since last winter (slight exaggeration)?

    11 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      I mean, I'm excited for a new place in Central but it's from the owners of Om (which I don't care for and don't consider a chowish destination in the slightest) and a chef whose reputation is a lot greater than the quality of her restaurants have seemed to warrant.

      My prediction is that Moksa will be a place with some tasty and crowd-pleasing but rather unremarkable food, expensive, crappy drinks, a crowd that gets really douchey from Th-Sat after 8pm, and an overall questionable value. Kinda like Om. I really hope I am wrong. Central needs some new blood.

      1. re: DoubleMan

        One of the restaurant partners is the bartender from Umami I think ... someone named Noon? Never had a cocktail from him/her, but a friend of mine speaks highly of said person. Will have to try the drinks myself, of course.

        1. re: tammyh

          good news-- Noon really knows her stuff

          1. re: barleywino


            Noon is great. The cocktail program definitely just got more interesting to me.

          2. re: tammyh

            This article from Oct talks more about the cocktail program. From the article: "The beverage menu at MOKSA is developed by sommelier, mixologist and certified sake specialist Noon Inthasuwan. Cocktails will include house made tea bitters such as Iron Buddha Bitters and syrups such as Goji-Grenadine. The beer list is carefully chosen with a focus on local breweries such as the Cambridge Brewing Company who will customize a brew for MOKSA with elements of Asian persuasion. Two wine lists will be offered at MOKSA, one being an exclusive cellar list for connoisseurs and the other a list of value driven wines. Both lists will include an eclectic selection of sustainable wine from around the world." Read more: Moksa set to open in Cambridge's Central Square in December - Cambridge, Massachusetts - Cambridge Chronicle http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/...

          3. re: DoubleMan

            <My prediction is that Moksa will be a place with some tasty and crowd-pleasing but rather unremarkable food, expensive, crappy drinks, a crowd that gets really douchey from Th-Sat after 8pm,>

            Kind of what Floating Rock was trying to be?

            Yeah, it is nice getting a new place in Central (especially one with a patio). I like having another post theatre option.

            1. re: viperlush

              Well, Floating Rock was like that except they never had any crowds. burnnn.

            2. re: DoubleMan

              Pretty uncivilized language for a chowhound.

              1. re: DoubleMan

                I liked Ginger Park, but I don't get the Yeo media barrage either. You'd think David Chang were opening a place in Central Square. Cheers to her publicist, I guess.

              2. re: viperlush

                No exaggeration, and in fact even longer. Before moving, my office used to be in that area and I'd walk past Mass Ave to Central station every day. That place has had a "coming soon" sign on their windows since summer (maybe even spring).

                1. re: kobuta

                  Yeah I think it started with "Coming late Spring '11", then went to early summer, late summer, late late summer, fall, etc. I feel like their "coming soon" sign went up around the same time as Veggie Galaxy's.

              3. FYI y'all, official opening is tomorrow (Monday, 3/12).

                2 Replies
                1. re: tammyh

                  The soft opening was this weekend. It freaked us out as we went to Veggie Galaxy next door as we didn't expect the place to be open and people milling about as they were cleaning up -- we weren't sure what had happened to the Galaxy (we were approaching from the MIT side). Inside looks clean but a bit stark. Looking forward to Noon bartending -- we never made out to Umami. Curious to know what the prices are since the website lacks any 4-1-1.


                  1. re: yarm

                    Feeling a need to go light, instead of trying one of Noon's concoctions I went with some Bunraku junmai sake which was fine (fingers crossed that they'll add some namasake to the list someday). Enjoyed the rich oxtail fried rice (maybe could have used a bit more gelatinous oxtail and a bit less pickled cabbage, imo), this might work even better as a congee. The moist grilled chicken wing brushed w/ a tomato-ey bbq sauce had just enough char and the fried shishito peppers came with some ponzu to cut the oil. The shao bing came out unexpectedly heavy, like an English muffin rather than a flaky pancake/ flatbread/ fluffy panfried bao, but the thin sliced pork belly inside was tasty w/ hoisin and suitably fatty. The beef shin on tortilla tasted more like shredded/pulled short rib and I found it to be on the dry side despite the sauce. Hoping they'll take the izakaya a bit further with some grilled sablefish (maybe even kalbi?) or smoked cold tofu.

                  1. re: whs

                    Looks like they haven't quite ramped up to the full online menu yet, at least as of yesterday

                    1. re: barleywino

                      Menu is very compelling on paper.

                      Whole wheat roti dry as the Gobi desert. One of these rotis was topped with oxtails & escargot on top of .... mashed potatoes.

                      Silver pin noodles had good chew, but the whole dish was devoid of any seasoning in the way of sauce, salt, or anything altogether.

                      The Uyghur lamb with rice cakes is spicy & smokey, the lamb and longhorn peppers particularly conveying good wok hei.

                      Yakitori snax of chicken skin and chicken hearts were good and salty, scrummy washed down with Hitachino. Not much in the way of good binchotan smoke flavour, but good enough for the pricetag.

                      The menu is all over the place, I am sure there are a few gems in there somewhere.

                      1. re: Nab

                        Going there for lunch on Thursday. Will take your post under advisement.

                        We were going to go to Firebrand Saints...I wonder if we should stick with the original plan.

                  2. Patricia Yeo must have a tremendous publicity team. Dylan Dreyer (yes, she's also a meteorologist) from the local NBC News just Tweeted this:

                    "Heading to Moksa in Cambridge now to record the Dish. We're making Summer Rolls"

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mkfisher

                      I ate there Saturday night, and several of the dishes were amazing--especially the beef tongue. The fried chicken was totally uninspired, though it had an interesting dipping sauce. We tried about six different dishes, and came away quite happy.

                    2. Moksa is now open for lunch. Had the duck tongue with brandade on roti (excellent), a trio of dishes from the izakaya section - beef tongue with a light horseradish sauce, pork belly with umeboshi glaze and mackerel with chili jam (devoid of heat and sweetness). All were tasty but tiny portions though the beef tongue was more substantial than the other 2.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nasilemak

                        Just found my marked up menu.

                        The biggest hits, besides the Beef Tongue, were Miso Braised Shortribs on whole wheat roti, Uyigar Lamb, Pork Belly with Umeboshi, Chicken Liver with Bacon, and Tuna Poke. Silk Road Lamb Meatball and Duck Breast with Orange Cumin Salt were not quite as good, and, as I mentioned before, the fried chicken (Kara-age, Japanese Style Fried Chicken) was a dud for us. I was not enamored of the sticky rice dessert, either.

                      2. I had lunch outside at Moksa today -- certainly better than the one meal I had at Om, which struck me as pretentious. The Thai Green Mango & Papaya Salad was a standout, fresh and crunchy, and we also enjoyed the vegetable spring rolls with a citrusy sauce. The fish roti in a corn tortilla actually worked as fusion cuisine; good tortilla, some crunch in the fish, chili, southeast Asian flavors (including a whiff of fish sauce), and fresh mayo. The duck shao bing had too much pastry, and was somewhat dry. The dan dan pork was the largest portion, with too many noodles for the pork and bok choy. A slithery mess of umami that I liked but didn't love.

                        Mary Chung, which hadn't turned on the AC, was empty and sticky on this gorgeous day and, as I ate my nouveau Asian on the patio two doors down, I saw the neighborhood's future -- and can't say, despite a lovely meal, that I was altogether pleased.

                        1. Raw & Chilled:
                          Thai Green Mango & Papaya Salad, Peanuts - at once sweet, salty, crunchy, and spicy

                          Dumplings, Wraps, and other Goodies:
                          Shao Bing: Duck Confit - the bun is, indeed, rather English-muffin-esq. It was a little too dry to compliment the confit, but I think my DC quite liked it.
                          Steamed Bun: Char Sui - a very nice bun, although the char sui was a bit fatty. I should have ordered two of the eggplant version of this bun.
                          Steamed Bun: Miso Eggplant - absolutely delicious.

                          Miso Shortrib - we had ours with corn roti, which seems to be the way to go from the reviews above. A very balanced dish of pickled vegetables and deeply braised beef.

                          Uyigar Lamb - the rice cakes were a bit chewy for me, but the lamb was smokey and delicious.

                          Mackerel with jam - the fish was perfectly grilled, though the jam wasn't spicy at all. No matter, I would gladly eat the mackerel sans jam.
                          Grilled pork belly - a bit like a piece of bacon on a stick. I believe this came with a sauce, but it didn't add much.

                          1. Lunch today at Moksa with 3 colleagues was better than expected. Miso eggplant steamed buns were slightly spicy with some jalapeno. Buns were pillowy soft and substantial enough for the slippery (in a Japanese eggplant delicious way) filling. Two good-sized buns to an order. I also had the lime chili tofu whole wheat roti – a refreshing, piquant bite of food. (Actually, two small roti piled high with filling.) Crispy jicama provided welcomed crunchy contrast. I had a taste of the twice-cooked green beans – slightly too salty due to fermented black bean. I wanted more wok char, but my friend cleaned the plate. Would be better with some rice, which we did not order. I also tried one of the fried shumai with shrimp and mushroom – fine, but nothing special. The shortrib roti topped with pickled cabbage looked really tempting and smelled great when they arrived. The last dish were the pork potstickers. Also didn’t try them, but they were gobbled up. One friend had ordered the lemongrass chicken bun (Vietnamese rice noodles), which they have taken off the menu. We still had old menus. The menu is still being re-worked and the server comped us for the price of the bun, which we thought was a nice touch. With three beers and a glass of wine, bill came to $85 and we were all full. I definitely want to check out more of the menu. Might be a nice place for after-work drinks, especially on the side patio, in front of the theater, which is kinda shielded from Mass Ave.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: digga

                              Lunch yesterday was better than I expected. I hadn't been since my last visit in April 2012. Lots of menu changes. Everything I had on my last visit are no longer on the menu. Nothing earth-shattering, but for lunch in Central Sq, it was fine and I'd take it any day over Tavern in the Sq or Asgard (a couple of usual haunts due to lunchmates' tastes). Of course, I've had better versions of green papaya salad, mee goreng, and roti canai (which was quite good, but I wanted the roti to be a bit more substantial and a tad less flaky). I could've gone without the spicy tuna dumplings (deep-fried and leaden) but we weren't complaining and pretty much cleaned all of our plates. At my first visit, flavors were brighter and popped a bit more...Oh well.