Such an exclamation had been heard ringing throughout the house upon the discovery of this newly-opened eatery in Markham. A second glance at the name alerted me that my body was in dire need of a few more z's, for it was named Moji - a totally different vowel.
It was a Japanese-themed establishment nonetheless; according to the rife reviews on Yelp, they offered standard but supposedly yummy rice and udon dishes. In addition, visitors that make the effort to dine in before the end of January 31st would receive a coupon for free ice cream. Well, that makes decisions easier doesn't it?
It was strange. Moji seemed strange.
We pulled open Moji's flimsy white door and set foot into the eatery just two minutes after they had opened. As predicted, it was still relatively barren.
An older member of the serving staff greeted us immediately, and gestured towards a table near the entrance. We opted for a window seat instead, and thank goodness we did.
The older waitress appeared to be a tad absent-minded (read: lost in her own world). Rarely did she ever turn in the direction of customers - she was either facing the kitchen or delivering food items, blocking out her peripheral view of other tables. Thankfully, there was a younger girl maintaining the drink bar and soft serve machine; she noticed my raised hand and imminently made her way over to provide assistance.
No frills whatsover, their menu was straightforwardly presented in a grid-like fashion in both English and Traditional Chinese (oddly enough, not a speck of Japanese was spotted anywhere). Along with typical izakaya appetizers (takowasa, karaage, ebi mayo, etc.), they also offered mains in the form of udon bowls or dons (aka rice bowls with toppings). With every udon or donburi order, drinks could be added to form a combo for an extra two dollars. It's important to note that cold and hot drink additions were priced equally, unlike your average cha chan teng.
Likely the most popular and safest bets on the menu (as deduced from Yelp), we selected the Buta Mayo Don and Avocado Crabmeat Don. Takoyaki also proved to be a fan favourite, and for a good reason: it was fried after cooking to ensure a crisp exterior and piping hot, fluffy interior.
The Avocado Crabmeat Don was, essentially, a deconstructed California roll: imitation crab meat, fish roe, and a not-so-properly-sectioned ripe avocado half were coated with a watery mayonnaise dressing and topped with thin strips of nori seaweed. While by no means outstanding, the donburi was flavourful and satisfying - characteristically comfort food for lovers of the Westernized Asian cuisine scene.
Previous Yelpers had had apple slices included in their bowls, though I suppose the type of fruit varies by seasonal offerings (or whatever is on sale at T&T). I personally enjoy the consumption of fruit after a meal, as the acids act as a palate cleanser. My only complaint would be that the slices were not of uniform thickness - the Buta Mayo Don boasted 1 cm thick pieces as opposed to the Avocado Crabmeat Don's 3 mm ones!
That being said, there are still numerous kinks in its operational procedures. Attentive customer service would be a valuable factor in improving their rating; in order to attain this achievement, I would suggest either increasing the number of staff during peak hours, or opting for more efficient methods to perform operational procedures. I also found their prices a tad steep for mains, but appreciated the amount of detail in their presentation. Placing the bowls on trays also meant that they could easily be slid across the table if customers decide to switch seats, and even make table clean-up a swifter process.
No, it's not me. It's you.
Regrettably, CoCo New Kennedy's one redeeming factor was the presence of their mouthless blue mascot in plushie form.