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Mar 19, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Café Mochi’

First Look: VP Square in South Grand

Thursday, March 8th, 2018



VP Square, the latest eatery from the family of restaurateurs behind Café Mochi, is now serving up pan-Asian fare at 3611 Juniata St., just off the South Grand strip.

Like sister restaurant Café Mochi, VP Square is run by three siblings: Victor Pham (the VP in the name) handles the business side of things, while Duncan Pham helms the kitchen and Mina Pham oversees the front of the house. The restaurant boasts a varied menu of dishes from all over Asia: bibmibap from Korea, ramen from Japan, a Sichuan spicy hot pot from China and banh mi from Vietnam. Beverages include bubble tea, and a selection of sake, wine and cocktails.

The building dates back to 1927, and was most recently split into a salon on one side and apartments on the other. After a year-and-a-half gut rehab, the dividing wall is long gone, and the space has been completely reimagined. The interior spacious interior seats 32 on the first floor and approximately 100 upstairs. Soft colors, wood floors and details like unique light fixtures and the building’s soaring ceilings make it airy and bright.

VP Square is open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Here’s a look at the latest international offerings in South Grand.


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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Monday, October 19th, 2015

We Scooped up a storm last week with new eateries getting ready to feed hungry St. Louisans and the return of a hometown chef. ICYMI, here’s the latest in the STL food scene:




{Tara and Michael Gallina}

1. After 12 years away from his native St. Louis, Michael Gallina, chef de cuisine at Dan Barber’s famed Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and his wife Tara Gallina, are returning to the Lou in November. Click here  to learn about their STL culinary plans in the Sauce Scoop.

2. Craving gyros and baklava? Classic Greek fare is heading to St. Louis Hills with the opening of Dados Cafe. Click here for the Sauce Scoop.

3. The Civil Life Brewing Co. has purchased the vacant building next door with big plans – to tear it down. Click here for the Sauce Scoop on what owner Jake Hafner has in mind for the future of his brewery.




4. Cafe Mochi owner Victor Pham has begun renovations for a new international fusion restaurant in South Grand. Click here for the Sauce Scoop.

5. The first St. Louis-area Louie’s Wine Dive is coming to Clayton, taking over the former Tani Sushi Bisto location. Click here for the Sauce Scoop on this new wine bar, set to open in early 2016.




6. When you taste the Shrimp Scampi at Peppe’s Apt. 2, you’ll remember why this dish is an Italian-American treasure. Click here to find out why you should Eat This dish now.  8.

7. If you did a happy dance the moment butternut squash hit produce shelves, these Fall Tacos made with butternut squash, kale and pepitas tacos are for you. Click here to get the recipe for this Meatless Monday dish.

-Peppe’s Apt. 2 photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Cafe Mochi owner to open new restaurant on South Grand

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015



The ever growing and changing landscape of South Grand will include a new international fusion restaurant next spring as Cafe Mochi owner Victor Pham prepares to renovate a building at 3609 Juniata St. “It’s going to be a very inviting space,” said Pham, who owns the space. “It will be very modern and open.”

Renovation is still in the design stages, but current plans call for opening up part of building’s second floor for an atrium-type feel for first-floor diners. When complete, the restaurant will accommodate around 100 diners.

Although the name of the restaurant and menu are still in development, Pham’s brother and Cafe Mochi chef Duncan Pham described the concept as international fusion. “We will have Vietnamese sandwiches,” Duncan said. “Also some ramen, but some fusion, too, like a tuna burger or salmon burger.”

The Phams hope to open in May 2016.



Happy Hour Like a Boss – Part 2

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

When the whistle blows at 5 p.m., there’s nothing like a strong drink to wash away the pains of the workday. You can find happy hours at any neighborhood bar and at watering holes near office buildings and factories. All of them will settle your fix for a cheap drink just fine, but a few get high marks – whether for the top-shelf drink selection, awesome food options or the duration of the deal. Our July issue features 22 places to unwind after work, whatever your reason for grabbing a seat at the bar.



 { The pear, prosciutto and fontina pizza and local draft beer at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta }

For pizza and beer: Katie’s Pizza & Pasta
Happy hour: Daily – 3 to 5 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m.

Pizza and beer were meant to be together, but you won’t find pounds of Provel and generic suds at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta. There are five kinds of 6-inch pizzas, including the pear, prosciutto and fontina, as well as the Margherita drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil ($6). Pair your pie with a local draft, say a 4 Hands ($3), grab a friend and a seat on the sunny patio, and enjoy an elevated yet affordable version of a classic food and drink combo. – K.S.


For the all-day drinker: Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge
Happy hour: Mon. – 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tue. – 3 to 7 p.m., Wed. to Fri. – 3 to 6 p.m.

Whoever said happy hour starts at 5 p.m. hasn’t been to Frazer’s on a weekday. This Benton Park spot has the kind of cozy charm and mustachioed irony that will make you want to ditch your day job and take up residency on one of its leather stools. The neighborhood watering hole has all the makings of a full-day affair with breaks on domestic bottles ($2.50), wells ($4) and vino ($6), and loafer-clad locals who will slap you on the back, order you a beer and convince you to “stay a while.” Behind the bar, hipster bartenders freeze martini glasses with liquid nitrogen, and on Wednesday, check out the vintage cocktail specials ($6). The best day to play hooky at this never-too-crowded hot spot? Thursday, when freshly shucked Blue Points ($1.50) and big-as-your-fist boiled shrimp ($1.50) are served up for hours of happiness. – S.S.



{From top, speciality cocktails , spicy octopus roll and salmon nigiri at Cafe Mochi}


For the sushi lover: Cafe Mochi
Happy hour: Tue. to Thu. – 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The half-price happy hour at Cafe Mochi might be one of the worst-kept secrets in St. Louis. Sushi pilgrims flock to the pink neon sign outside this South Grand destination and wait anxiously, hoping to place their orders before the 6:30 p.m. deadline. All 15 non-specialty rolls are half price (less than $10), meaning you can dig into a classic California roll or a spicy octopus roll filled with tender bits of the cephalopod, kaiware (daikon radish sprouts), hot sesame oil and eel sauce, and even Futo Maki, filled with crab, shrimp, cucumber, sprouts, egg and roe. But the real sushi-phile steals are the 15 half-price nigiri options, succulent pieces of raw salmon, ruby-red tuna and more draped across a small mound of rice. Hot sake for two ($6) is available, but on hot summer nights, we unabashedly order specialty cocktails (two for $6) like the lurid Tropical Melon, a fruity sugar bomb of melon liqueur, vodka and orange and lemon juices. No shame, people. – C.K.

-Katie’s Pizza photo by Greg Rannells, Cafe Mochi photo by Elizabeth Maxson



This week, Catherine Klene is obsessed with…

Thursday, November 21st, 2013



{Usually, one of my sushi cravings can be sated with a fresh spicy tuna roll and quality sashimi. But when I crave Cafe Mochi, nothing but a Volcano Roll will do. A shrimp tempura roll corrals a hot tangle of broiled crab, scallions and noodles in a spicy mayo. True, it deviates from the traditional definition of sushi, but after the first bite of warm, crunchy, crabby goodness, I couldn’t care less.}



{I never understood why my boyfriend, who is a Turkish citizen, was never satisfied with any restaurant’s baklava. Then he gave me a piece of Özel Kare Baklava from Aşina Baklava, a friend’s family shop in Turkey. A sweet, sticky layer of verdant ground pistachios is sandwiched between thin, buttery pastry that is so light, it melts the moment it touches my tongue. Since I can’t find Aşina in the U.S., I try to ration the pieces he brings back as long as possible. You know, like a day or two.}




{I keep claiming I’m not a fan of IPAs, but I may need to rethink my position. The “drink my words” moment came at Eclipse when I tried a sample of Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail. This unbelievably smooth American Double/Imperial IPA was bright with hops, but they didn’t assault my palate as I expected a strong IPA to do. Words of caution: At 13 percent ABV, this beer isn’t called a Molotov Cocktail for nothing.}

This week, Julie Cohen is obsessed with …

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

{Over the past 38 weeks, I’ve ordered some pretty decent mocktails, rediscovered my childhood love for lemonade and volunteered to be DD countless times. But enough is enough! In the twilight hours of my pregnancy, (besides thoughts of the actual baby), I can’t help but obsess over the food and drinks I’ve been missing.}

{A happy hour where I can’t eat the food or drink the alcohol sounds more like the definition of sadness. Therefore, I’ve been avoiding Café Mochi’s Tuesday through Saturday hour of joy for months now. With a great patio walking distance from my house, half price nigiri and sushi rolls, and beer and cocktail specials, spring weather (and this baby) couldn’t have come at a better time. I can almost taste spicy tuna being washed down by a cold Sapporo.}

{Attending a Cardinals game is one of my favorite summertime activities; sitting in the center of a row and having to self-consciously squeeze through people’s knees every time I get up, is less fun – especially when I’m nine months pregnant. Why is beer delivered to your seat but not nachos and ice cream? I can’t wait for the moment when I can summon an ice-cold Schlafly brew without even moving a muscle.} 

{Don’t get me wrong, pregnant women can eat steak, but not how I like it: medium-rare so that when I slice it, blood oozes out all carnivore-like. A center bite of a filet mignon followed by a sip (or, let’s be honest, two or three glasses) of a rich and spicy cabernet sauvignon causes me to viscerally groan in anticipation.}

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