Review: Moksa

Asian-fusion takes on tapas
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  May 30, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

The cocktail program, created by Noon Inthasuwan, also runs to fusion, like the "snap dragon" ($9) — note Chinese astrology themes — which is quite spicy, with both vodka and habanero vinegar, plus pear liqueur and local bitters. On the palate, it starts like a vodka martini before the hot peppers come on. I liked the idea of El Coto rose from Rioja, Spain ($8/glass; $30/bottle), but it turns out to be a little sweet, almost like the Grenache-based California "mountain" roses of the disco era. A draft Sierra Nevada Pale Ale ($5) should have been ideal with the food, but mine had a spoiled aftertaste, so perhaps stick with bottled options. Tea ($3) is served hot with a bag in a Japanese iron pot. The oolong came a little too strong, but genmai green (which is mixed with roasted rice) was appropriately toasty and refreshing.

The best idea in fusion is dessert, where Euro technique and Asian ingredients are easily combined. The first take on gingerbread ($6), though, is too subtle and has to ride the topping of liqueur-infused pears. Churros and chocolate ($5) will be terrific when the crullers are fully cooked, surely by the time you are reading this. The cup of intense chocolate sauce alone is worth the price. I also liked the mochi tarte ($6), although I couldn't find the eponymous pounded rice. Maybe it was cooked into the shell? What we had was an elevated brownie Sunday with superb chocolate pie and vanilla ice cream. Honey-lavender ice cream ($5) was rich and creamy but flavors were muted: I got more lavender than honey.

Moksa looks forbiddingly odd and expensive. It is mostly black inside, some red, some zebrawood (or imitation), with dramatic spotlights that leave other areas quite dark, and the whole somewhat throbbing to techno. This décor doesn't make me salivate, but it may get people moving their bodies to weave through the long dining space to the dance club behind. Our server made good recommendations and brought out an odd selection of dishes in a coherent order.

MOKSA |450 MASS AVE, CAMBRIDGE (CENTRAL SQUARE) | 617.661.4900 | MOKSARESTAURANT.COM | OPEN MONDAY–WEDNESDAY, 11 AM–12 AM; THURSDAY–SATURDAY, 11 AM–1 AM; AND SUNDAY, 11 AM–11 PM | AE, DI, MC, VI | FULL BAR | SIDEWALK-LEVEL ACCESS | NO VALET PARKING

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  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Cambridge, tapas, Patricia Yeo,  More more >
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