Novo Reinforces Moct as a Milwaukee Hot Spot
Fifth Ward lounge adds welcome food menu
(pronounced “most”) opened in 2004, it housed a restaurant named Café Fabrika
that featured upscale Serbian fare updated for current tastes. Café Fabrika did
not last long, and Moct concentrated on its bar/lounge aspects. Recently,
however, food service has resumed with Novo at Moct. This time the theme is
“small plates.” Some Serbian items remain, but the new menu also ventures into
other territories with items like tacos and a Puerto Rican mofongo.
One item practically
leaps off the menu: duck fat fries ($7). This is a generous serving of fine
fries, though you should not expect to notice any fat or duck flavor. The fries
are crisp, not oily at all, and ready to dip in one of six sauces. The sriracha
mayo is a bit spicy, but the garlic aioli is just right.
Start globe trotting
through the menu with the steamed P.E.I. mussels ($10), a bowl of deep blue
mussels steamed with Thai green curry and a coconut kaffir lime broth. This
would be a welcome item at any Thai restaurant.
would not be my fish of choice, but the small pieces in the fish tacos ($11)
have a perfect cornmeal batter and could even be passed off as perch. They are
served with cabbage slaw, avocado crema and chipotle aioli.
I have had shrimp
mofongo ($12) many times in Puerto Rico. The
heart of mofongo is a big ball of plantain mash served with shrimp in a creole
sauce. Here the amount of plantain is reduced and its bland character is zipped
up with garlic and bits of chicharron (fried pork rind). The medium shrimp
surround the plantain mound in a tomato citrus sauce that makes this especially
For Serbian fare,
start with the addictive chevaps ($7), grilled sausages of beef and pork. They
are served in a roasted red pepper sauce and include a small salad of field
greens dressed with light vinaigrette and some farmer’s cheese. With this
menu’s burek ($13), one option is filled with beef and the other with spinach
and cheese. The spinach and cheese is a delight. The amount of phyllo dough is
less than normal, so the size of the burek is smaller than the local norm, but
it rocks. Order this with another small plate, as the bureks take more time to
prepare. The only down note was the Serbian sliders ($7)—they are basically
made with the same meat as the chevaps, but in small patties they seem rubbery.
Warm summer evenings
call for an outdoor table. If the sun is still shining down, potted palm trees
provide a little shade. As the evening progresses, the lounge takes over and
the crowd will focus more on mojitos and blackberry margaritas. Moct remains
one of the hot spots in the Fifth Ward, and the return of a kitchen is very
welcome news, indeed.n
Novo at Moct
240 E. Pittsburgh Ave.
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