If you like your bar food as interesting as your cocktails, then you might want to pull up a chair at Bar Moga, a retro, Japanese-inspired bar run by alums of Milk & Honey in Greenwich Village. You won’t find the typical plate of french fries or chicken wings on the menu. The space is far too elegant to allow for greasy pub grub like that. The word “moga”, after all, is a term used to refer to Japanese women in the 1920s who followed Western fashions and lifestyles, and she probably would want bites more consistent with her tastes, like kani crab croquettes or caesar salad.
One item that appears to be a moga favorite is the omurice, which is served with such flair for something that is essentially an omelette served over rice. A waiter arrives at the table and carefully slices the egg down the middle so that the sauce of reduced red wine and veal stock can make its way through the creamy crevices of the soft-cooked egg and the underlying rice. The net effect is something that tastes a little earthier than a standard omurice covered in ketchup. I’m not quite sure if the flavors lived up to the theatrical presentation, but it is certainly different and more interesting than your standard omelette.
I preferred the bifuteki skirt steak, which was tender and marinaded in a sweet, sukiyaki-like sauce. And surprisingly the grilled caesar salad was also fantastic and notches above the sad, bland, creamy mess that’s served at many restaurants. The flavors of the kani crab croquette were good, but I like the insides a little more thick and textured than the extremely creamy version that’s served here. Overall, though, this is a moga who has good taste and one worth grabbing a cocktail or two with at a later time.
128 W. Houston St (between Sullivan and Thompson St)
New York, NY 10012