Tapas places are dime a dozen, but Moosehead has a lot going for it, including an unpretentious vibe, well-informed staff and thankfully brief sets by talented musicians. The short menu has plenty of good choices (for vegetarians, too). The best dishes are executed with interesting, subtle twists—most successfully exemplified by the grilled avocado ($16), which comes topped with a garlicky ajo blanco and textural thrills in the form of crunchy, browned quinoa and wet pops of salmon roe. The burratina cheese and Turkish bread ($21), too, is made complex with a pleasing juxtaposition of char marks and the sweetness of grilled tomatoes. And the dense pistachio cake ($14) gets some zing with a yuzu crème fraiche topping. Our gripes: gloomy lighting, limited cocktail options (they wouldn’t make us a Negroni!) and puzzling garnishes, like burned cauliflower bits on the cauliflower and salsa verde ($14)—why not just char the actual cauliflower more? In some cases, the accompaniments were simply a let-down—our umami ecstasy, induced by perfectly seared wagyu chuck ribs ($38 for 150g) with bonito flakes and teriyaki mushrooms, was rudely interrupted by the heavy sprinkle of sea-salt and the pedestrian sweet potato chips on the side. Prices here aren’t much cheaper than Esquina, so we expect a more pitch-perfect experience.
Eat this at Moosehead: Grilled sea bass with anchovy butter and eggplant caviar. It’s one of I-S Magazine’s 50 things to eat before you die (2013).