Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails is the first non-chain restaurant to be built from the ground up at St. Johns Town Center. Chef Tom Gray, formerly of Bistro Aix in San Marco, has lovingly designed this latest creation from scratch. The two-story building has a modern shape overlooking a fountain, and can easily be seen from Butler Boulevard.
As a big Bistro Aix fan, I was excited to sample the fare at Moxie. The menu was overwhelming with options. Seriously. There’s a lot to take in here. Better start with a craft cocktail and take your time. They also have a great selection of wines by the glass, as well as several local craft beers. We decided to try an appetizer: PBR-Battered Cheddar Cheese Curds with a spicy ranch dip. I didn’t know what to expect when ordering fried cheese curds, but they were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and delicious inside and out.
For my entree, I selected the short ribs with a Dr. Pepper glaze (PBR? Dr. Pepper? what is this?), and they were melt-in-your mouth tender. I used the creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes to mop up every last bit of the tasty juices. The shaved vegetables served on the side actually appeared to be shaved, however, I think I’ll spring for the salad next time. Chef Gray chooses fresh, local and seasonal vegetables, so the choices this season include a kale salad with candied pecans, beets, apple, aged goat cheese and pomegranate vinaigrette and the fall salad with leafy greens.
My companion ordered the rainbow trout with smoked almond salsa, seared broccoli, charred lemon and sunchoke puree. It was flaky and moist, with a smoky flavor enhanced by the salsa. What is “sunchoke puree” you ask? It looked a lot like Hawaiian poi. It’s actually a trendy, gourmet side made from pureed Jerusalem artichokes (see this article about sunchokes to learn their interesting nickname).
We saved room for dessert, which was quite fortunate, as it was amazing. We shared a peanut butter mousse stack with peanut brittle and brulee bananas. The peanut mousse was creamy and rich. A good cup of coffee served as the final touch.
Moxie Kitchen is a fabulous addition to the Town Center, and a foodie’s dream come true.