dinner at moto
Cafe Moto @ 394 Broadway
Pros: Convenient (if you’re going to Bedstuy & Bushwick), Charming Decor (if you’re into feeling nostalgia for a period of time (olden) and a location (something European but not the pretentious kind, but the genuine bohemian kind - you feel me?)) that you’ve actually never experienced asides from in the movies, Live Music (so I hear), and their Date Cake with toffee sauce (deelish!)
Cons: No Air-Conditioning, mediocre food with ambiguous ambitions (por ejemplo: ’Aepler Macronnen’ Swiss Alps Mac & Cheese with bundnerkase cheese, onion & homemade apple sauce)
And the card attached would say....
What, may I ask, is better than seeing an old friend? There are not too many feelings in the world that compare with a good reunion or a long overdue reconnection. And I am not, in this case, speaking of a coincidental run in with people who have briefly walked in the corridors of the building that is your life. No, I speak here of the dear old friend that when absent from your life a hole is left behind. The pick up where you left off instantaneously type of friend. The I’ve missed you more than words can express type of friend where that reacquainting embrace is as much relief as joy. Where the *#@* have you been? I have missed you.
Cafe Moto is the restaurant reincarnation of a good old friend to me. This is due to the fact that I lived within a stones through of the mis-shaped building that houses Cafe Moto for some time, and I could be found there frequently. We became close. Time, a desire to acquaint with other restaurants as well, and a move to Manhattan pulled us apart for a spell, but I always had the feeling that Cafe Moto would still be there for me when I returned. A recent trip to Brooklyn to visit my old friend reaffirmed what I knew would to be true. It was there for me, with open arms, and not a thing about Moto had changed (Thank all that is good). We picked up exactly where we left off.
Cafe Moto can be found in Williamsburg under the rafters of the JMZ train on Broadway (394). It is a true gem, one of my favorite restaurants and this has as much to do with the food as the atmosphere. Walking into Moto is walking back in time into a depression era speak easy. It’s small but comfortable and my type of restaurant/watering hole. The owners, John and Kevin McCormick (Freemans, Beatrice Inn) and Billy Phelps, were documented in the film “Eat This New York” and the elbow grease that went into the creation of Cafe Moto is on display in the film, and their efforts are greatly appreciated by this Junkie. They created a spot with a throwback atmosphere which serves modern French cuisine that makes you feel cozy and warm, like sitting by a warm crackling fire. Bands can be found after 9 (noon for weekend brunch) tucked into the corner (River Alexander and the Mad Had Jazz Hatters are one of my favorites which frequent Moto) further enhancing the atmosphere and the overall dining experience. My old friend has got it going on.
It has become tradition to order the same starters when dining at Cafe Moto. All the small plates they offer are exceptional but the marinated mushrooms with capers and sherry vinegar, the warm lentils with fig and queso fresco, and the whole steamed artichoke with saffron mayo (if the time of the year cooperates) serve as the beginning of my Moto experience…always! That initial warm embrace from an old friend.
The entrees are also all splendid and although I truly enjoy the steamed mussels (with fresh fennel, garlic, and cream), and I love the rotisserie pork ribs ‘herbes de provance’, I cannot return to Moto without indulging in the “aepler macronnen’ swiss alps mac and cheese with bunderkase cheese, onion and homemade apple sauce. A dish whose warm rich flavors will linger in your thoughts for hours, days even. That perfect time spent visiting and re-acquainting with that close friend. Not a beat was missed.
The closer at Moto is, and will always be, the grilled donuts with cinnamon and sugar. I can’t say enough about them so I will say little, except that I will never know what the rest of the dessert menu is capable of, and that is fine with me. The extra long and fulfilling good-bye embrace.
Moto, Thank you for being you. Thank you for being a friend….