Mo Rocca's Favorite Greenwich Village Eats
Mo Rocca claims to be a creature of habit, so when we caught up with this jack-of-all-trades (actor, satirist and journalist are all fitting), he happily shared his favorite Village spots. He's been in the neighborhood for about a year and jokes that he moved out of Chelsea when his favorite sushi restaurant, Momoya, "ended up on some Bravo reality show" and became too crowded. As the host of My Grandmother's Ravioli on the Cooking Channel, which just debuted its second season, Rocca has been spending some time in the kitchen cooking these days. Here are his favorites when he's not cooking at home.
Tacos: I love the tacos at Oaxaca Taqueria. It's really their specials that I like. They have a headmeat taco, for instance. I think the first time I had a cabeza meat and eyeball taco was when I did a piece on Mexican hot dogs for CBS This Morning. I remember loving it but not the eyeball tacos. They also have these Korean tacos that are spicy and delicious. To get my vegetable in when I'm there, I get these cactus tacos. And I get a horchata with it.
Burger: I like the burger at Julius, the oldest gay bar in New York. Normally I don't like eating in bars—a lot of the time the food is gross, but it just works here. Maybe because it's just such a warm atmosphere. It's so old and great. The fries are more potatoey than fast food fries, too.
Crepes: I love Elephant and Castle. I like a lot of their food there. They have these great dessert crepes. The Grand Marnier one is really terrific. There's also the Normandy with sliced apples and caramel.
Eggs: I've always loved deviled eggs. There's something very comforting about them. At the French Roast they have these deviled egss with smoked trout on top. They have three in one order and I'm tempted to order a second—with a cocktail. For more—and this isn't in the area—Cookshop deserves an honorable mention. I once did a piece with the chef on the difference between breakfast and brunch. Brunch is the slutty version of breakfast. I'm not a brunch person, but I guess deviled eggs are more brunch than breakfast.
Bagels: Lenny's. I usually get the 6 or 9. It's the one with the Nova lox if I want something more substantial. The vast majority of the time I get a toasted sesame bagel with butter.
Fried chicken: I think people mention this a lot, but I was there early at Dirty Bird on 14th Street. Usually when given a choice between fried chicken and and rotisserie chicken, it's usually a choice between what's healthier. The fried chicken is very moist. I don't like the word moist except when you're talking about this fried chicken.
Bar: I like the bar both at French Roast and I guess Julius. I'm not there that much. I don't really go bars to drink. If I'm going, I'm going to the bar at French Roast for a glass of wine or a cocktail.
For a date: For dates, I like to sit at a bar. If you're ever at restaurant with me and we're at a bar, we're on a date. I had a bad breakup right after eating the lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar. I haven't been there since. It's a great date place and a terrible breakup place. So I haven't been there in a while, though it's a great lobster roll. Kin Shop could be a good place. The thing about Kin Shop is that if you sit at the bar, there's not enough room for your knees. That's my memory of it.
Falafel: I remember seeing a play near Mamouns, and I was ravenous. That falafel was really good. I just remember the guy was super friendly. I thought all those NYU students would try his patience, but he was always nice.