Weekly Wing Wreview #16: Moca Lounge

  • Presentation
  • The Sauce
  • The Wing

The Hot Take

“They’re tasty and a good snack, but that’s about all I can give them.”

Life has been a little crazy for me in the few weeks since we wrapped up the last wreview, which is why I ended up having to skip a week. Also, getting back into the sWing of this again left me in a place where I was playing catch-up, so there will be spots in here (at least as of publication) where I don’t have all the facts, but will hopefully be able to amend them in the coming days.

I had walked past this place a few times, and had been enticed by the word “Wings” emblazoned across one of the signs on the building, but I was finally sold when I noticed on their street board the words “Live Erotic Poetry Tuesday Nights.” While I never need an excuse to eat wings anywhere, the promise of some sort of live entertainment to follow is always a great way to entice (read: trick) people to come out on a weekday night to eat wings with me. It is with this in mind that leads us to this weeks wreview of…

Moca Lounge

2210 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Harlem)

This trip I managed to get Jeremy Frank and Janna Cisterino out on a weeknight, and also tricked a couple friends from my weekly D&D night, Gabe Pasco and Sarah S who I’m fairly certain had no idea what I’d gotten them into. Sarah by the way is also a freelance artist who does some pretty cool work, check it out and maybe buy yourself a commission HERE.

The Venue

True to it’s name, Moca is a cozy and really chill lounge. It has what I would guess is a 10-12 seat bar, the opposite wall lined with low candlelit tables and comfortable benches from wall to wall, with the far wall having a couple of booths elevated a bit off the floor. It’s a classy and cozy room, and succeeds at pulling off a relaxing vibe.

The Menu

The fare here is bar food, but served with more of a high-end feel. The price-tags are a touch higher than most bars, but from the look of the dishes coming out of the kitchen, it’s because they put a little more time and effort into them.

I don’t recall exactly how many wings come with an order, but I believe it’s 6 per order, putting the PPW up to $2, which is definitely higher than I like.

What We Ordered

On this visit we got both the Wicked Buffalo and Honey BBQ wings, and sadly they were out of Blue Mountain Jerk this night, which I had really been looking forward to.

The Presentation

The wings looked really tasty here, served on a nice heavy white plate, carrots and celery, and a heaping portion of thick-cut fries. Everything was clean and well-stacked, and we had plenty of app plates, napkins, and wetnaps to keep us happy, earning them an easily deserved 4/5.

The Sauces

Honey BBQ:

JF found the Honey BBQ to have “little of either [flavor]” and thought that there was “thin sauce coverage.” GP echoed this, saying the “sauce was pretty mediocre” and “kinda dry.” “OK” was all SS could add, while JC added that she “liked the vinegar” in them. I mostly agree with my friends here, but in spite of this I will say that I actually really enjoyed these. The flavor was really subtle and blended well with the chicken. There was a nice vinegar tang in front of the honey sweetness so that neither flavor overpowered the other. I won’t say that they were over-the-top in any way, and it’s a very safe sauce, so it’s an easy call of a 3/5.

Wicked Buffalo:

SS really enjoyed these, and GP found them to be “tangy and hot, [and] not overwhelming.” JC said it was the “perfect level of heat” for her, while JF was unconvinced it was actually even Buffalo, calling it a “mix of BBQ and hot sauce,” but also adding that it was “moister than the Honey BBQ.” I disagree with the assertion these aren’t Buffalo, but they are for sure a different take on the sauce. Similar to the Honey BBQ, there is an up-front vinegar, which is followed by a low heat that does stick around for a couple minutes. It does have a sweetness that’s hard to place, but not at all out of place and a really interesting addition. The flavor is a little all over the place, and though it diverges from a traditional Buffalo quite a bit, I wouldn’t say any particular part of it was an improvement. A new twist on a classic flavor, but not so twisted that most wouldn’t enjoy it. 3/5.

Two threes? I bet you can’t guess the overall score!

The Wing

Though there’s something to be said about the little inconsistencies, the wings here are a little bigger than most and do have some weight to them. They serve them up cooked a little extra, so be ready for some serious crunch in these, especially around the ends. The flats were really the star of the show, as even the ones that got cooked a little harder still ended up with quite a bit of juicy meat inside, while some of the drumettes seemed to shrivel a bit under the heat. Cooked as much as they are, they could really be improved by a larger wing, as some of the smaller ones don’t stand up to the process. Tender and delicious wings they may be, but the inconsistency does leave something to be desired, the wings themselves hurdle just barely into a 4/5, because when they’re good, they’re succulent and crunchy and a hit.

The Hot Take

Moca lounge is a super cool place to be, and I will definitely come back time and time again (I mean, it’s like a 5 minute walk for me so duh.) When I do, though, it’s not going to be because of the wings. They’re tasty and a good snack, but that’s about all I can give them. The price is a little high when compared to the overall quality, but at the same time when you’re here, I’d still tell you to grab an order of them. For really decent wings at a kinda high price, I still have to find a score to land on, and for Moca Lounge, I have to call a 3/5.

Additional Info

That said, this place does Live Erotic Poetry on Tuesday nights, and it’s a must experience. It gets loud, it gets wild, and it gets crazy raunchy, but the energy is not shaming, instead it’s celebratory. To get up in front of a crowd and say the things these people do takes real guts, and so when the crowd is laughing, it’s to ease the tension, not heighten it. I’ve never been much of a person for shows that involve the audience a bunch, but this was a blast, and if you are sitting in this crowd expect that they will talk to you, sometimes to roast you, but never to make you feel unwelcome. My only warning would be that it is pretty hetero-focused, at least on the night we attended, but I’m almost positive that if any of my LGBTQ people wanted to mix that up, the hosts would be down with that.

As always, the Weekly Wing Wreview and MaxFun.nyc are not affiliated with Maximum Fun or its associated products or brands. But we’re pretty big fans.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Recommendations? Want to join the elites of the WingSquad and eat wings all over NYC? Send an email to wings@maxfun.nyc