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September 26th, 2006

Restaurants: Mocca Lounge

by Lorraine Haughton

78 Reade Street (at Church Street)
By Train: Take A, C to Chambers Street

Please don’t just label this an espresso shop-because Mocca is so much more. Equal parts coffee shop, restaurant, and lounge, Mocca is truly all things to all people. Whether you’re hungry for a quick, early morning takeout, or in the market for a sexy, late-night locale, Mocca’s got what you need. From the funky neon green chairs in the dining room, to the flat screen TVs that adorn the bar area, to the hip DJs playing the latest house, hip-hop and pop-the vibe that greets you is welcoming like an old college sweater. And while this 3 year-old establishment might be best known for its variety of gourmet coffees, lattes, and mouth watering sandwiches, the cocktails are nothing short of fantastic and available at incredible discount prices: $5 for mixed drinks and house wine, $7 for specialty cocktails, and $3 for domestic beers Monday-Friday from 4-7, during their bustling happy hour.

It was during this timeframe that I recently popped in for a quick visit. With a thunderstorm brewing outside, Mocca became the perfect oasis from the storm as I sipped on their signature drink, the Mocca Martini, which consists of fresh espresso, Khalua, white swiss chocolate, cream, Godiva chocolate cream and hot milk froth. Although I don’t consider myself much of a coffee drinker, I still had to fess up that this was a special treat. Other cocktail highlights include the Raspberry Mojito, Mango Martini, and Strawberry Coco, made with strawberry puree, pineapple juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, Bacardi coco and coconut shavings. The food was also delightful, as I sampled appetizers including Buffalo wings and Viennese chicken cutlets. Another menu highlight: a variety of platters perfect for sharing with your buddies, such as the Mocca Platter (an assortment of meats & cheeses, olives, traditional Greek stuffed grape leaves, Italian style roasted red bell peppers, and roasted eggplant, served with a mixed green salad), as well as a cheese platter, and their in demand fried platter consisting of mozzarella sticks, spicy French-fries, yam wedges, Viennese chicken cutlets, and tortilla chips–all reasonably priced in the $18-$24 range. If you’re searching for a unique event venue, the upstairs VIP lounge is also perfect for birthday parties and other special functions. For more information, visit www.moccalounge.com

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