MO-CHICA Modern Peruvian

Before another year passes me by, or another restaurant closes, I’d best publish a few things from prior years. Like a dinner just a few days before Thanksgiving 2009 at Mo-Chica Modern Peruvian restaurant in Los Angeles. (Mo-Chica was named for the language of a pre-Incan civilization)

It may be the best Peruvian restaurant in southern California.  Yet, it’s humbly located in a food court at Mercado LaPaloma just east of and within easy walking distance of USC. When I mentioned the restaurant to a USC foodie friend of mine she basically said: “OMG!, I used to work on the floor above that place!”

I first heard of it from my favorite restaurant blogger, Cathy deGastronomer of Pasadena and the driving force behind the Eat My Blog charity events. She raved about her first experience at Mo-Chica and how she just had to make a return visit!  That caught my attention. Occasionally I meet-up to eat with food bloggers.  Well, I caught her Peruvian infection and we along with a few fellow San Gabriel Valley food bloggers (plus a hitchhikers from L.A & O.C, to be fair) made a date to meet at their next tasting menu night. 

Today I don’t remember all the details except what was great, and not so great. I will show a series of photos of the food we ate in the order presented to us.



The default menu is small and easy.



P1020986a A simple soup started the night of tastings. My taste buds went, “Hallelujah!, Hallelujah!!”  Wow! What’s gonna be next??!!  The bad news of this great taste was this first shot was also the best shot of the night.


Spicy Rock Shrimp Causa (Avocado Mousse, Rocoto Aioli) Spicy Rock Shrimp Causa (avocado mousse, rocoto aioli)

This avocado mousse was what I remember best about this shrimp.


P1020997a One of few squids I’ve liked. Mo-Chica is know for their cerviche but this particular sea bass/cerviche didn’t meet that standard, imho.



P1030004aI liked the Peruvian chowder sauce but seem to recall the halibut was somewhat dry and nothing special.


P1030010a This looks relatively good but the consensus was it was also the most disappointing item of the tasting menu. It seemed to remind us of chicke strips and one of us said (maybe me?) that for the price we would rather have chicken McNuggets!  Well, this is a tasting menu so you’ll come across some experiments which just fizzle out.


P1030007a Cathy taking aim at the disappointment with her new heavy duty sized weapon.  My own pictures were far from my best food pics. I had my hands full with the food & drinks.


P1030016a Last, but not least, Dessert! Also, imho, the 2nd best item of our tastings. Well, we started on the highest point, and finished on the 2nd highest.


P1030018A final sip, a last spoonful, one last shot, and we’re about done for the night.  It was good but could’ve been much better – and has!  One reason why, even on an off night, it’s still probably the best Peruvian restaurant I’ve experienced & recommend you check it out when you’re in that part of L.A.



Chef ZarateAfterwards, Chef Owner Ricardo Zarate came out to check out how his diners felt about this tasting menu. Chef’s background includes formal culinary school education, restaurants & hotels in London, consulting for Hell’s Chef – Gordon Ramsey, and Japanese cuisine. He definitely uses his Japanese experience in his recently opened fancy restaurant – Picca – and described as a Peruvian cantina with Japanese influenced Peruvian cuisine.  Cathy described it as “the most exciting place to dine in at the moment.” Ok,..but what about the taste??  😉

But where does this Chef like to eat?  Vietnamese Pho in Koreatown! "For some reason, Koreans make really good Pho."  What would he being doing if didn’t become a chef? A history teacher! Yep, I can see him in a classroom. And now Chef Zarate was named one of Food & Wine magazines Best New Chefs for 2011.  I can understand why. Glad it’s happening here in our area.


Mo-Chica Modern Peruvian Restaurant

3655 S. Grand Ave. / Los Angeles 90007



Gotta Get to Eating! Stay Thirsty My Friends


3 responses to “MO-CHICA Modern Peruvian

    • I don’t recall seeing it on the default menu, PA. But it was very, very good! You may want to call beforehand about it or ask it they can make it just for you.

      Thks, Erika. But I don’t think you’re talking about my photos!