MoCA Asian Bistro, South Riding, VA

I can’t find anything to convince me that MoCA is directly affiliated with its New York cousins; they both have different websites (ours is, and there’s nothing on the menu to indicate a link.

Although the address is technically in Chantilly, the restaurant is in Loudoun County, and is essentially South Riding – it’s a fair hike up Route 50, a few miles further out than Thai Basil.

This is a lovely little (somewhat corporate-looking) restaurant, with service equally pleasant to the atmosphere. The “Asian-fusion” mix seems to be about 80% Japanese, 15% Thai, 5% other.

Kaki Fried ($6.50) were four large (two-bite), panko-crusted, fried oysters with a bit of thick, sweet dipping sauce. It’s easy to blindfold frozen oysters when you fry them, but these still had a bit of unwanted tang in the finish.

Sushi Pizza ($8.95) was the dish of the day, and also the guiltiest pleasure. Imagine a thin-crusted quesadilla, stuffed with eel, avocado, and cream cheese (all three of which have similar textures) with a few strands of what appeared to be surimi, the pancake drizzled with eel sauce. Quartered, it was a gooey affair to pick up manually, but sometimes you just have to do these things.

Baby Lamb Chop[s] ($8.95) were the oddball item, two middling quality chops, with the sweetish marinade and good grill char playing off one another to a moderate degree of success.

Sashimi Lunch ($12) can be described visually in two words: artful, and mammoth. A huge bowl with everything going on inside it except good fish. Quantity-wise, these pieces (fluke (I think), yellowtail, salmon, and tuna) were as thick as can be. For a dollar a piece, this was an incredibly generous portion of sashimi; unfortunately, the fish tasted frozen (it was also very cold) and as dull as a butter knife. The accompanying miso soup was standard, but salty and only lukewarm, and a bowl of rice and unlimited cups of green tea were gratis.

MoCA is an interesting little conundrum; you’d never find it unless you knew where to look. I’d come back for the decor and genuinely friendly staff; I’m just not sure what I’d order, because nothing I had today was a repeat with the possible exception of the Sushi Pizza.

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