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Jun 12, 2012 12:55 AM

Mo Chica downtown

I tried the new downtown location of Mo Chica. I was disappointed. I liked the old Mo Chica much better. The new Mo Chica lacks charm. It has the Border Grill sort of faux Latin feel to it. It has a small plates concept. Whatever. I'm not aware of any small plates restaurants in Peru.

The menu is printed on annoying rectangular cards that are grossly inferior to normal menus, which are ubiquitous for the simple reason that they work well.

Solterito. A tasty but tiny little salad with pea tendrils, lima beans, corn, and feta. Maybe 175 calories. This is meant for sharing? Everybody gets two pea tendrils, three lima beans, and three kernels of corn. Enjoy!

Anticucho de pulpo. The octopus was about average. It was served with potatoes and a jalapeno sauce. There was nothing interesting about this dish.

Aji de gallina. Below average. Small portion. No rice! (I didn't even see rice on the menu, but it was hard to understand.) Rubbery, overcooked chicken. Average sauce. Even the quail eggs seemed subpar. This is the sort of thing that a decent home cook can top on his or her first try.

I find it surprising to say this, but I wouldn't go back. The food quality was about on par with Mas Malo across the street.

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  1. Wow, what a disappointing report. I have not yet tried the new MC, but have walked by and definitely see what you mean by the "faux Latin feel". I would also note that the prices seem to have tripled for some items since the move, which I guess is to be expected.

    I really regret not making the trip down to Mercado La Paloma more often when I had the chance, the original MC really embodied everything that I love about the food scene in this city. It's a shame they couldn't keep it open.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ronsilverado

      Disapointing. Was going to host a rotating monthly downtown lunch next week. Where instead? Have done Lazy Ox, Spice Table, Botegga. Need something cool but price wise about the same as Spice.

      1. re: Thor123

        If you want to be able to have a conversation, don't go to Louie Botegga.

    2. Interesting, I was just reading's review of the place: He had a generally positive experience.

      Not sure if I want to try it for myself, just wished I had tried the original Mo-Chica.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PeterCC

        Possibly his review could be going easy on him or he is easier to satisfy. Hard to say but differing perspectives never make choosing a restaurant easy.

        1. re: PeterCC

          Don't be too hard on yourself. The experience at the original location had seriously degraded from what it was a few years back.

          1. re: downastro

            Degraded how? Quality of the food? It seemed to me last I was there that the service was struggling to keep up with its popularity, but the food always seemed consistent.

        2. One reason we loved the original Mochica was the quaintness (tiny space, Japanese hair lady, the feel of eating in a Tiajuana indoor market). This is gone. If I were to go back to the old Mochica location and see that empty stall, I may start to tear up.

          1. Were the plates at the original Mo-Chica shareable? I don't remember them to be so, certainly not the ceviche & the causa.

            So the food's the same, and the restaurant space has none of the charm of old?

            1 Reply
            1. re: TonyC

              Maybe so, but you could get 3 orders of causa or ceviche for what they are now charging. And the portions of the entrees (the lamb shank in particular) were massive.

            2. FWIW, it looks to me like you didn't order well. I've never had an aji de gallina that I really liked and the solterito is also something I doubt I'd order. There are much more interesting items on the menu.