Oscar Chen, owner and proprietor of Mochi Teriyaki, a new Japanese restaurant at the corner of Gusryan St. and Eastern Ave., invites Baltimoreans to enjoy an under-represented style of Asian cooking.
“Teriyaki is very delicious and popular in Japan,” says Chen, an upbeat 28-year-old from a cooking family.
Chen is originally from the Fujian province of China. He and his family came to America when he was 16. After moving to Baltimore from New York City, the family opened a Chinese restaurant, Won Xing, on Holabird Ave. Mochi Teriyaki is Chen’s solo venture.
“I think Japanese cooking is very new in Baltimore,” he says. “I want the whole neighborhood to try a new food.”
Chen is working very hard to make that happen—most days he at the restaurant from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The menu features mostly Japanese specialties: teriyaki, obviously, in chicken, beef, and shrimp combinations. There’s also salmon, miso soup, edamame (roasted, salted soybeans), and tempura (fried with a crispy batter) dishes.
For the less adventurous, there is a generous selection of American dishes, like chicken nuggets and fries, fried mozzarella sticks, fried scallops, and even steamed shrimp with Old Bay.
Chen says that his personal favorite is beef teriyaki. Chicken teriyaki is very popular with customers, he adds.
Chen opened on Sept. 3.
“The hard thing when you start a new business is that you need to go hard on advertising,” he says. “You’re giving a discount to the whole neighborhood.”
Feedback has been positive.
“Customers tell me my food is great; I’m happy to hear that,” Chen says.
Mochi Teriyaki is open for lunch and dinner, both takeout and eat-in.
When he’s not at the restaurant, Chen can be found indulging in his hobby—fishing.
by Erik Zygmont