New Tapas Restaurant Offers Tasty Fare at Hotel Piccadilly
As someone who loves trying new restaurants, I often search Yelp’s “New and Hot” section and scan the Fresno Bee for anything Bethany Clough writes. I’ve learned there are a few menu items that particularly appeal to my personal food tastes, and when these items are featured, adding the restaurant to my must try list is a given. My personal menu favorites are anything with a balsamic reduction, homemade bread or pasta, generous use of a variety of cheeses, garlic or better yet — roasted garlic. I love any sort of mac n cheese that offers a modern ingredient twist as well.
Recently, when searching for a new restaurant to try for a date night with my husband, I came across a “New and Hot” restaurant on Yelp with few but exceptionally high ratings. Mochuelo (Spanish for “Little Owl”) is a new tapas (small plates) restaurant located in the lounge of the Hotel Piccadilly on West Shaw Ave.
In the images posted online, I immediately spotted an awesome mural that no doubt was created by talented local artist Quinn Bowman. (Using a local artist always scores additional points in my book.) The menu also featured Brussels sprouts (My second favorite food next to elegant Mac and Cheese) with balsamic reduction and multiple cheese dish so, the decision to go was finalized.
The hubby and I walked into Mochuelo on a Saturday night during the busy holiday season around 7pm, but had no trouble getting a table. The walk from the parking lot was a little lengthy compared to most restaurants, simply because the restaurant is in the lobby of the sprawling Hotel Piccadilly grounds, and it was clear multiple large parties and events were taking place, so there was only room in the far back part of the lot to park.
The beautiful Mochuelo mural is located on the exterior side wall of the restaurant, in the patio area – which looks like it will be an amazing place to hang out, grab a bite and a drink or two with friends, come warmer weather.
Once you enter Hotel Piccadilly’s lobby, to the right is the large mirror bar that serves as the back wall of the restaurant area and sleek black and white cushioned chairs set around glossy, black table tops serve as the dining area in front of it. A bright and shining chandelier like fixture hangs above the entire area and is made up of gold utensils hanging from a giant branch. It’s a statement piece for sure, and though now actual lighting is part of it, it reflects light from around the room and catches your eye. To the left if the hotel’s front desk, which is visually separated by a line of planters and taller snake plants.
Though the aesthetics were upscale, the vibe was comfortable and relaxed. The bartender was making friendly conversation with several patrons at the bar and three other tables were seated. (The entire dining area is on the smaller side, though as I mentioned before – I think the patio seating will be a big draw in the warmer months of the year). Our server was professional and helpful but did not linger and all the food we ordered came out relatively quickly.
For our first round of ordering, we tried the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with goat cheese crème fraiche, balsamic reduction and shaved Parmesan cheese (very good), the Patatas Bravas fried potatoes with spicy Parmesan sauce (excellent, a little spicy and reminiscent of good breakfast potatoes) and the Egg Yolk Ravioli made with house made pasta dough, spinach, ricotta white wine cream sauce and a fresh yolk filling served at exactly 63 degrees (my husband’s favorite dish).
For our second round, we ordered the Grilled Flank Steak with smoked paprika and cumin rub and cilantro lime chimichurri (the chimichurri was SO good and the steak was tender and perfectly cooked) as well as the Potato Croquettes which were made with Havarti cheese and herbs and served with a poblano pepper and crème fraiche dipping sauce (crispy, not at all greasy, but not quite as flavorful as the Patatas Bravas – if you prefer less spice you’ll like them a lot).
Other menu offerings receiving rave reviews on Yelp include the paella, roasted carrots with burrata and the sous vide filet mignon.
We chose to finish our meal by sharing the Salted Caramel Bread Pudding, which was delicious. It was drizzled with just enough caramel, crispy on the edges, soft in the center and not at all mushy or soggy. It reminded me of a perfect Christmas morning French toast.
For drinks, I enjoyed a glass of Prosecco (I’m boring, I almost always order that) and my husband had an Old Fashioned and a signature cocktail “Blood and Sand” (I do not get the name, but he really enjoyed the drink!).
Overall, we really enjoyed the food and drinks, and the service was excellent. What was a little challenging was the atmosphere, as there was a large party in a banquet room behind the Mochuela dining area, and the music and noise from that group filtered into the otherwise quiet dining area.
If you’re looking for delicious tapas, you’ll no doubt enjoy Mochuela. And come spring and summer, you’ll definitely want to go back and enjoy their patio – I know we will!