3655 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Chef: Ricardo Zarate
Mo-Chica is a contemporary Peruvian restaurant that has gained quite a following over a very short period of time with every blogger and their mother having blogged Mo-Chica. Ricardo Zarate is the talented chef and owner and is also about to open a new restaurant called Anticucho.
Located near USC, the restaurant is in the Mercado La Paloma. The inside opens up to a warehouse that houses an eclectic assortment of restaurants, gift shops, a florist, computer supply store, and an alterations shop. Among this random mix, Mo-Chica is definitely what I would call a hidden gem.
The menu is small and concise. They know what they are good at and for the most part, they do it very well.
Toasted Corn Nuts - complimentary
To start off, diners are given a small bowl of toasted corn nuts. These aren't the corn nuts that normally come to mind in the ranch, chile picante, and barbecue flavored, but real large corn kernels that are toasted and salted. I personally prefer the flavored ones.
Mo-Chica has an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages to choose from such as Maracuya (Passion fruit juice) Cebada (barley iced tea) and the Chicha Morada (purple corn iced tea). I chose the Maracuya, which was sweet, refreshing, and definitely passion fruity.
Ceviche del dia - 5
Mo-Chica is probably best known for their ceviche, with some proclaiming it as the best Peruvian ceviche in all of LA. The ceviche del dia was a sea bass on this dia. Included with the sea bass dish were red onions, seaweed, sweet potato, corn, and toasted corn. The sea bass was definitely very fresh and the flavors of all the components came together very nicely, texturally and flavor-wise. I can't say I am a big fan of the white corn pieces, not much flavor.
Here is a close-up of the sea bass. Beautiful.
Lomo Saltado - 13
Mo-Chica serves its lomo saltado with prime beef filet, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. I've had this dish quite a few times, but never with prime beef filet. Being a huge fan of lomo saltado, I was really looking forward to this dish. Although the dish was good with tender pieces of filet, I wished there was more sauce to be eaten with the rice. Plus, the portion size was quite small for $13. I guess that's the price to pay for the prime beef filet.
Not having a whole lot of experience with Peruvian food, with the exception of a few restaurants and food courts, we enjoyed our experience at Mo-Chica. Not everything was a hit, but the hits outweighed the misses. Do I want some mo' Mo-Chica? Sure, give me some mo'!