Back in January we brought you a First Look at Harlem’s new hot spot, Mojo on 119th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. Last week the bar/restaurant finally opened full-swing. Now with a full menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes and varied list of premium drinks and a top-notch staff, Mojo seems to have even more charm and appeal. (So much appeal that even in this recession my cheap behind went twice in one week; luckily, the prices are reasonable).
While the drink prices are a bit on the high end for uptown, it reflects the more top-shelf line of liquor Mojo’s skilled bartenders use in their cocktails. They also carry a number of quality wines with typical NYC prices, about $8 a glass, and $30+ for a bottle. The dinner menu has a good mix of healthy and indulgent appetizers and desserts in the $8 range, and the main courses also reasonable in the $13-21 range.
For those prices one would expect decent quality, and Mojo more than delivers. My friend ordered a cocktail from the special drinks menu. When he realized he didn’t like that particular cocktail, our waitress kindly offered for him to switch it for another drink. He went for a tried-and-true vodka martini, which he deemed to be “very good.” He forgot to ask what kind of vodka they used, but he said it was very well made drink and worth the price. For dinner I had the roasted chicken. It was excellent, full of flavor. I switched my side for the garlic fries which turned out to be a good choice. My friend ordered the lamb chops, also very good. When I returned on Tuesday I had the grilled skirt steak; it was well-seasoned, a quality cut and made just right. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve had a decent steak in Harlem. Too bad it wasn’t one of my preferred cuts (NY Strip, filet mignon, whatever) but I’ll take what I can get! Clearly the people in the kitchen know what’s up… and as time progresses and business picks up maybe the menu can be expanded from this already strong start.
When we went on Saturday, we were surprised to find a good-sized crowd had already discovered the place. It was a good-looking and diverse crowd (staff and patrons), and we were greeted at the door by enthusiastic and professional staff. The place was definitely happening and live. Mojo offers more intimate table settings — very good date spot – as well as an intimate bar, a cozy windowed corner with comfy sofas for lounging and drinks with a small group of friends and/or colleagues, as well as some larger table settings larger groups. On Tuesday of course it was pretty quiet, but still enough going on given the space’s comfortable and intimate scale. The owner, Moun (pronounced ‘moon’) is friendly and makes sure that his guests are comfortable and in good spirits. The staff are attentive and friendly in delivering true service and style that matches Mojo’s decor and vibe, complete with some chill and pleasantly familiar yet eclectic music. It’s a good and welcome complement to the collection of places up and down the FDB/8th Ave Corridor — Society, Melba’s, 67 Orange, Moca, Billie’s Black, 17 Below, Nectar, etc.
I will be a frequent patron, and encourage everyone to try out Harlem’s newest spot for dinner and drinks to see for yourselves. We’re told that they will offer a brunch menu as well in a few weeks.
So, it turns out Damaa was right in her earlier post, Harlem does have its mojo back!
119th and St. Nicholas Avenue