I finally made my way to Moxie. Those who know me know that I've been dying to get there for months, so my expectations were high. I always loved what Lauri Carter did at Matt's in the Market with just two gas burners and an oven, so I was eager to see what she could pull off in her own digs. I was anything but disappointed.
Cocktails were unusual and unusually good. The table favorite was the Lily Pond, which is a concoction of gin, lime, cucumber and radish that balances nicely. I had a very Pimm-y Pimm's Cup, which really hit the spot. We also brought a bottle of wine with us, which our server was happy to accommodate.
We started out with the manila clams, calamari, and mushroom tart. The clams came with linguica and tomatoes, and I had to restrain myself from using my cocktail straw to suck up every last drop of the white wine broth. The calamari was not your usual preparation of rubbery rings breaded and fried to death, but rather was unbreaded and flash-fried, so it was still quite tender and didn't taste like onion rings. The mushroom tart was good, but strangely I liked the mizuna that came with it even better.
For entrees, we had the buttermilk fried chicken, the lamburger, and the ribeye. The chicken was HUGE to the point of obscenity (1/2 chicken), and was both perfectly crispy on the outside and falling-apart moist on the inside. We'll be eating the leftovers for weeks.
The lamburger is the sort of food that you wouldn't want to get on a date, UNLESS your date is already married to you and can no longer get out of the deal when he/she sees you grinning at him/her with basil aioli and lamb grease all over your nose and chin. In addition to the aioli, it comes with a smear of tapenade and a 1/4-inch slab of feta on top. I imagine that young burgers hope to grow up to be lamburgers, much like I wanted to grow up to be an astronaut when I was six. The fries are also phenomenally good--perfectly crisped with a tender interior.
The ribeye was very tender, and my brother-in-law was unable to stop eating it, even after he passed well beyond the threshold of bursting. It also came with a gigantic pile of perfect fries.
Desserts were mercifully small after the feat of consumption we'd just managed, but were no less tasty. House-made huckleberry ice cream and a raspberry-nectarine cobbler were both excellent, and the root beer float was made with house-made root beer, which is unique in my experience.
Service was both competent and warm, with a much-appreciated zing of personality, and we were well taken care of even though they were coping with a substantial dinner rush and a table of loud drunks.
Our dinner lasted about three hours, but it should be clarified that that was three hours of relaxed savoring and pleasant digestion, rather than three hours of wishing I had more bread and trying desperately to find a waiter to get the check. I don't think I've had a longer and more unrushed dinner anywhere else other than Harvest Vine.
Overall, everything was clever without being too precious, and all dishes were well-executed. I highly recommend it.