Friday, April 12, 2013

Another Feast at Moe's Place

This post is dedicated to Cathy Moore, in which without her would not exist

All thanks to Cathy, a regular customer at Moe's Place who read my blog and suggested Moe to invite me over to the restaurant for a meal, that I was able to experience my first food-tasting event.  Cathy was supposed to join us for lunch on that day, but she passed away two days earlier because she was ill. May she rest in peace. 

I would also like to thank Moe, the owner of Moe's Place, for giving me the opportunity to experience a wonderful casual dining like never before

✈   ✈   

Moe and me

Last Saturday, I went to Moe's Place - a restaurant specialize in ribs and steak located in Kemang - to attend my first ever food-tasting event. The owner of the restaurant, a.k.a. Moe, invited me over for lunch, saying that he has plans to serve new menu in his restaurant and would like to have me and some companies as his honored guests to try them. I, of course - because why wouldn't I, accepted his invitation wholeheartedly. 

I was greeted by Moe himself the first second I set my foot into the restaurant. "Hi, I'm Moe," the man said, "I've been expecting you Kinan." The three of us - my Mom, a friend of mine, and me - was escorted to our table at the the second story of the building. There were nobody up there other than us. "This place is usually used to hold an event, or a gathering," Moe explained. 

The interior of the restaurant was simple, yet cozy and lively. There was this black board with a set of menu written on it with colorful chalk, a shelf decorated with retro toys and daily-life objects, and also hanging lamps with a line of empty liquor bottles on them. It's a restaurant-version of Dexter's laboratory and I was Dee Dee. 

"Welcome to Moe's Place"

The lovely interior of the restaurant

Empty bottles to decorate the lamp with

Retro thingamabobs; dibs on the milk container!

One of my favorite display

"I already prepared something special for you all, but first, let's order some drinks," said Moe, whose actual name is Bimo (bee•moe) Aribuwono. Back then, when Moe lived in New York, his American friends found it difficult to pronounce "Bimo" properly. Then, he took the liberty to nickname himself "Moe", so that it would be easier for his friends to call him.

There was this routine of his to cook Indonesian dishes every weekend, at his flat in New York. He, then, would invite his foreigner friends for a meal, whilst introducing his homeland cuisine at the same time. It became a custom to dine at Moe's flat every weekend, until at some point, his friends would invite themselves to his place by saying, "Let's go to Moe's place.". And that is where he got the idea to name his restaurant.

My drink was personally, and magically, chose by Moe himself. "I know Kinan wants to have a glass of Iced Lychee Tea," Moe said. I actually did, I have no idea how he figured that out! On the other hand, my Mom ordered herself a glass of Lemon Water, while my friend Gita had herself a glass of Mocktail named November Rain.

Moe explained it to us beforehand about how November Rain is like a non-alcohol Mojito - a drink in which consists of lime juice, sugar syrup, and mint leaves. Gita described her Mocktail as sour, but had a hint of sweetness in it.

The Iced Lychee Tea tasted different compared to every Iced Lychee Tea I have ever tasted before. It had this different kind of sweetness in it that gives you the idea of eating Lychee-flavored Nutrijell (a brand of Jelly that Indonesian consume), unlike the sugary and syrupy sweetness that you usually encounter in most Iced Lychee Tea. Chilly and very thirst-quenching nonetheless, and it had this flavorless foam on top that simmered down by the hour.

Clockwise: November Rain, Lemon Water, Iced Lychee Tea

The first dish that we have was a plate of Nacho. Unlike any other Nacho, this particular Mexican dish had French Fries hiding beneath the crunchy pile of Tortilla Chips. Topped with melted Cheese, Sour Cream, Bolognese, Jalapeño, and fresh Salsa; this Nacho turned out to be an idea that Moe's son, Dimas, had.

A brilliant boy, Dimas is. Even though I have never meet him, I can tell that he has epic ideas for food. The Nacho that we had was what Dimas' vision of the Nacho that he want - with French Fries and Bolognese. The Sour Cream used to garnished the dish with was personally picked by Dimas himself. "He tasted every Sour Cream and chose which one is best to top the Nacho with," told Moe. All that I can say that every component used to make this appetizer worked swell!

The Salsa is what I love most about this starter. Made immediately after an order was put up, you can expect the the Salsa to be FRESH with capital F-R-E-S-H! It was juicy. It was refreshing. It was sweet. It was sour. It was the best Salsa I have ever tasted! It had that 'kick' that made you want more.

"Compliment on the Salsa," said Mom to Moe, "it is very very fresh, juicy, and delicious!". Mom figured that the Nacho tasted Javanese, which then replied by Moe with a, "How did you found out!".

Man, those Salsa sure tasted awesome!

That Jalapeño is killing it!

We chat as we dine. Moe share about the history of his restaurant, which was very interesting! Before it was a restaurant, Moe's Place was actually Moe's Catering that serves only one dish, the famous Baby Back Ribs. Moe's Catering gained customers, who eventually become fans. The business was so good, until one of the customer said, "Hey, Moe, why don't you open up a restaurant?". And that is the beginning of Moe's Place. 

"We shall continue our meal with a bowl of salad," the chubby man said. He told us that the next dish that we were going to have was an idea came from his wife, Melissa. 

The healthy plate consisted of Lollo Rossa, Romaine, Rocket, Cherry Tomato, Olive, and Cheddar Cheese, then garnished with Crackers and Parmesan Cheese, which then glazed with Honey and Reduced Balsamic Vinegar. A mouthful of those would give you an explosion of flavor inside your mouth! It tasted sweet from the honey, sour and tangy from the balsamic dressing, salty and savory from the cheese, and leafy from the greens.

For those who are on a diet, you might want to get a plate of this juicy salad

Simple, yet beautiful presentation

Moe's Place is well-known for its' Baby Back Ribs, which many customers said was highly pleasant to the taste. My Mom and I were very lucky to be able to have that particular dish as main course during that day. Unfortunately, Gita could not join the fun because Baby Back Ribs is made of pork (one of the food that is forbidden to be consumed by Muslims), but lucky for her -it's a plane! it's a bird! No, it's Moe to the rescue!

Moe prepared a special main course for Gita, which is steak. "Today, you will be having steak," he said, "and you have the liberty to chose which part you would like to have.". He mentioned the beef cuts that they have in the restaurant - which were Sirloin, Tenderloin, Filet Mignon, and Rib Eye - which then followed by Gita settling down for the Filet Mignon. "Would you like it pink, or bloody," he asked. And pink was the answer. 

While we wait for our food to be served, we had a "Beef 101". Moe taught us a lot of things about beef and steak, which was waaaaaay more fun compared to Chemistry!

One of the lesson that I learned that day was to be cautious when we order steaks at restaurants. The fact that there are not many who are aware about beef cuts trigers the corruption of beef. Some restaurant would just misused our ignorance about the physical appearance of steak by giving us false beef cuts. For example, changing Tenderloin with shoulder cuts. If the chef is handy enough to use knife, he then would easily cut and shape them shoulder cuts looking like Tenderloin. And we wouldn't figure it out, because we have no idea how the fudge Tenderloin looks like! Plus, if we are not familiar by how the texture and the flavor of the steak should be, we would ended up paying more for low-priced beef. You don't want that to happen, do you?

The other thing that I learned was that the period of time and the environment to store the beef affect the condition and quality of the beef. Beef is at its' prime condition during the first 3 months of chilling. Then, it gradually sags, but still great at its' 3 months freezing time. After those 6 months of chilling and freezing, the quality of the beef will not be good to be used to make steak. Again, some corrupt restaurant would just abuse our ignorance about beef by giving us ugly quality beef. 

During our "Beef 101", Moe took out the beef cuts that he had and gave us a quick look on how they supposed to look like. He also suggested us to order Rib Eye whenever we dine at a steak restaurant, because then we would get ribs, beef tenderloin, and savory fat in one plate. Those beef were very huge, some of them were as big as my thighs and shank! I occasionally poke the beef out of curiosity. 

Then, two waiters came to our table and handed us our main course. I saw Gita's and hers was gorgeous! The presentation of the Filet Mignon was very beautiful and pleasing to the eye, it had that fancy glow surrounding it. It made me feel like as if I was seeing a celebrity on the red carpet. And at the center of the meat was perfect pink in color! If I were Gordon Ramsay, I would be very pleased with the steak.  

"Gita made the right decision in choosing to have her steak pink," said Moe, "because it is when the meat tasted best!". I took a bite of my peer's steak and it really tasted great! The steak was very juicy and tender, the meat would just cut off right away when you penetrate your canine into it. 

The steak was served with Potato Wedges, some greens, and a bowl of Mushroom Sauce. Unlike any other Mushroom Sauce, Moe's Place's was orange-ish in color and slightly watery. It tasted slightly peppery, not the slightest bit creamy, and unique. "Our Mushroom Sauce is not gray like the general Mushroom Sauce, because we get rid of the part that make the sauce gray in color," explained Moe while chopping down a mushroom to half and showed the exact part of the fungi. 

Gita's gorgeous Filet Mignon

A close up look on the steak

P stands for "Pink" and "Perfection"

Moe, showing the anatomy of the mushroom used to make sauce for the steak 

The black part was disposed, hence resulting on a pink colored Mushroom Sauce

My Mom and I, and also Moe, shared a plate of Baby Back Ribs. Needless to say that the ribs were ECHO PAPA INDIA CHARLIE! Why wouldn't they be? Those ribs were Hickory smoked for 6 and a half hours long, smothered in honey and sweet Barbeque sauce, then grilled to perfection. The meat was very tender and it was very easy to detached it from the bone. Even though the ribs were smoked for more than 5 hours, the meat didn't get sloppy and fall off from the bone, yet still soft and tender. 

Moe's Place's Baby Back Ribs was seved with a handful of Potato Wedges, Corn on the Cob, and some greens. Other than the amazing ribs itself, I fancy the wedges as well. Unlike any other Potato Wedges, that would make your stomach full and make you feel sick if you eat it too much, this particular Potato Wedges was light and well cooked. I don't have any idea what cooking methods the chef used, but I'm sure it's a good one! Just imagine, the skin of the potato was stiff and slightly rubbery in a good way, the potato itself slightly shrunk, which explained why they were lighter than regular Potato Wedges. Seasoning were used to give them Potato Wedges flavor, slightly salty and peppery, you will love it!

Moe was very understanding by serving a bowl of sambal, or chilly sauce, for the ribs to go with. Typical Indonesian, we can't survive a day without sambal. Now, this particular sambal was sweet and hot, a personal favorite of mine. Mom said that Moe has to add some more chilly into the sambal as it was not tongue-burning enough. On the other hand, Moe's foreigner customers were in pain when they eat the chilly sauce. But, I prefer to have my ribs solo, without any addition of seasoning or sauce, because it tasted best that way.

Moe quickly dashed to the kitchen, then came back with a bottle of seasoning. It was a secret seasoning, but we were able to taste it, lucky us! "Try this with your steak," said Moe, whilst pouring some onto the plate. I cut my ribs off, dipped in in the seasoning and, boy, does it tasted great!

Moe's famous Baby Back Ribs

Glazed with honey and Barbeque Sauce, the ribs is the definition of foodporn

Served with Potato Wedges and Corn on the Cob

Plus greens, glazed with Balsamic Sauce, on the side

Moe, slicing the ribs to share it with my Mom and I

Just look at them tender meat!

Dare to try this sambal?

There was this side dish that we have, which was a plate of Potato Wedges. But, this Potato Wedges is very different compared to any Potato Wedges you have ever eaten before, even with the one served with the Baby Back Ribs. "Potato Wedges are, well, Potato Wedges. They are American food. So, I tried to experiment with some cooking style, and I finally succeed with an outcome that I'm happy with," shared Moe. 

Moe told us that he used a French cooking method to cook the potato. "It's still Potato Wedges, but I made the cooking method so complicated until the taste and the texture of the potato is completely different than the usual Potato Wedges. But it's still Potato Wedges," he added. Listening to Moe's story about how he experiment with ingredients to make something new gave me the idea of him being the human version of Remy from Disney's Ratatouille. 

I ate a piece of this French-style Potato Wedges and, boy, did Moe just bring Potato Wedges to a whole new level! It was very unique and one-in-a-million. The skin was very stiff, thick, slightly rubbery, and nicely seasoned. If you bite into the Potato Wedges, you will find yourself the inner potato that shrunk and clumping together that tasted like potato but with a kick of flavor into it. They were sprinkled with garlic and Rosemary, and boy do they smelled great! The texture combination of the rubbery skin and mushy potato merged well with one another. They were bite-sized and very light, making it suitable to be consumed as appetizer! Definitely must try this side dish, you will beg for more!

A cup of Yogurt was served as dipping sauce for the Potato Wedges, unfortunately the flavor of the yogurt ended up dominating the potato, making them not suitable for each others. But, the Yogurt itself tasted great! Basil and lemon were added into the yogurt, making it tasted fresh and slightly citrusy. 

The French-style Potato Wedges

Beautiful color plain crunchy!

The delicious Yogurt

Man, were we full. But it was not over yet. Moe still had one more dish to serve, which is. . . Ice Cream! Who wouldn't love Ice Cream after a big meal, right? 

The dessert that we had was a big scoop of frozen Vanilla Ice Cream dashed with Cinnamon, topped with toasted Walnut, poured with steaming hot Espresso, then drizzled with a spoonful of Coffee. It was a combination unlike any other!

It is very hard to describe the flavor of the ice cream. It was hot and cold, creamy and watery, and also sweet and bitter. It had a unique flavor as the component inside the dessert combine with each other. Me and Gita devoured the Ice Cream happily because it was very very delicious! We constantly add some more coffee into the cup and continued indulging. "You know the flavor of every ingredients used to make this dessert, but when you combine them, they create a new indescribable flavor," convinced Gita. Yes, you should definitely give this Ice Cream a try!

A scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream, topped with toasted Walnut and Cinnamon

Pour the Espresso into the cup

Add a dash of Coffee and voila! dessert is served

After we finished our dessert, Moe took us on a quick tour around the kitchen. The kitchen was not that big, it was rather compact and efficient. Cooking utensil were placed on one side, while ingredients and seasoning were put on the other side. There was a big metal table at the centre of the kitchen to garnish the dishes and to prepare the ingredient as well. 

One of the cooking tools that impressed me was this big oven where they cook their steak. Can you guess what feature that the oven came out with? Touch screen! Yes, you didn't read that wrong, touch screen! Have you ever find any oven that has touch screen? I don't think so! There were numerous cooking methods installed to the oven, such as "Pink Steak" and "Bloody Steak". "The steak that Gita had was cooked inside this oven," explained Moe, "and when we press the "Pink Steak" option, then the outcome of the dish will be exactly the same." Very impressive, huh?

Moe took out four kinds of beef cuts that he stored in the fridge and displayed them on the table. "Big, aren't they?" It was a sight that I have never seen before. A desk bell would drown in the sea of beef cuts!

All in all, the kitchen was very clean and neat. There were no left over ingredients scattered around the floor, nor the table. Things were stored accordingly, even the ingredients and seasonings were organized. It was pleasant to roam around the kitchen, especially when there were no cockroaches, nor rats, around. 

The sight of the compact kitchen

Cooking section

Decorating the plate with Burger and Fries

High-tech oven to cook the steak with

Seasonings and spices to give flavor to the ingredients

Left to Right: Rib Eye, Sirloin, Tenderloin, Filet Mignon

Taking out some veggies

The kitchen that doesn't have too many spaces

And thus our lunch came to an end. We bid each other goodbye and hoped to see each other again soon. But, wait, Moe didn't let us go just yet! He took out a glass of red icy beverage and told us to take a sip before we leave the restaurant. "It's Pink Sarrah," he said, one of the cold beverages served at Moe's Place. 

Fun fact: Pink Sarrah was named after Moe's daughter, Sarrah. It turned out, some of the dishes served in the restaurant were named after Moe's family member. There was this dish that was named after his son, and another which named after Dimas' grandfather. 

I took a sip and I twitched a bit because the drink was bubbly and fizzy. I'm not a big fan of soda, and the drink definitely had some in it. A mix between Strawberry syrup and Lychee syrup, Pink Sarrah really was a suitable drink to be consumed during a hot day. The ice gave a kick to its' fizzy effect, which was very tiring for me to drink, yet somehow I ended up being the one who finished it. For those who fancy sweet and fizzy drink, you ought to try this particular beverage.

Pink Sarrah

If I were to rate Moe's Place well-being, I would give the restaurant an Oscar. Excellent food, friendly service, great ambience - you will be greeted as a family at Moe's and it felt as good as it sounds. So, the next time you can't decide where to go for lunch, just go to Kemang Selatan and park your car at Moe's Place. Order yourself some Baby Back Ribs and indulge!

Moe's Place
Jalan Benda Raya 1
Kemang Selatan, Jakarta Selatan

Phone: (021) 7135 5555

Opening Hours:
10 Am - 10 PM


  1. Now now.. It took quite a while reading this post until finish. man, i don't even regret it.. this post is fabs!

    those beautiful photographed and tempting pictures of yours made me droollll over my key..

    1. Congratulations for surviving this super long post! Thank you for your positive feedbacks, I appreciate them. :D