By: Shaina Wizov Contributing Writer
MoBu Fusion Cafe is a breath of fresh air to the East Boca Raton community, with its chic outdoor patio, gorgeous presentation of food and a chef with a clear culinary talent.
Executive Chef Monique Buchbinder earned her degree from the French Culinary Institute in NYC, then brought her talent to South Florida where she honed her craft at Nobu in Miami. Yes, there is some irony in that the restaurant name rhymes with Nobu, but it really stems from the first two letters of her first and last name.
Chef Monique decided to leave the commercial restaurant world and dabble into private catering and hosting dinner parties in Manhattan, Naples and Miami. She began cooking for a man, Bruce, who moved to South Florida from New York. Her skill in the kitchen was too good to keep all to himself, so when she expressed interest in opening her own restaurant, he was right there to back her up. Bruce’s daughter, Brooke, is the General Manager and Marketing Director, and holds down the fort while Chef Monique makes magic in the kitchen.
Since she is well-versed in cooking for individuals in their homes, she is able to cater to any and all dietary restrictions. The menu is extremely user-friendly, with labels such as P (pescatarian), L (lactose-sensitive), V (vegan), O (organic), Ve (Vegetarian, and GC (gluten-conscious), which refers to the fact that some ingredients are sourced from suppliers that the restaurant cannot vouch for. When dining at MoBu, simply let your server know about your allergens or restrictions, and Chef Monique will make any alterations that may be needed.
There a couple ‘MoBu Must-Tries’ on the menu, signature items that must not be missed. The first of which is the Avocado Pepper Stack with roasted sweet peppers, bacon onion jam, and a choice of lump crab or tuna (omit the jam for a pescatarian version). If there is one thing that Chf Monique excels at, it’s presentation. Her love and passion for cooking shows through her attention to detail in both plating and preparation of her food. Another dish that keeps guests coming back for more is the blackened scallops. Four beautifully plump 10/20 scallops are bathed in a citrus-butter sauce and served with a potato galette. These two appetizers are great for sharing.
The seafood is abundant at MoBu Fusion Cafe, with a lot of entrée options when it comes to fish. However, once you’ve tried the crab-stuffed salmon, there’s no going back. It’s definitely a big enough portion to share, but after tasting it, you may not want to. The crab stuffing is made with MoBu’s gluten-conscious breadcrumbs, with a well-balanced stuffing-to-salmon ratio. There is a taste of crab in every bite of perfectly seasoned and cooked salmon.
The brunch menu offers a variety of egg dishes, including three preparations of Benedicts — traditional, lobster and crab cake — as well as a tuna poke bowl with sushi-grade tuna loin, quinoa and brown rice, sesame seeds, avocado and cucumber. Although not a typical brunch menu item, poke bowls are a hot commodity right now, making it a welcome twist on brunch fare.
Satisfying those who are vegan and/or gluten-free when it comes to dessert can prove to be a tough feat, but Chef Monique takes the challenge and runs with it. She offers a gluten-conscious chocolate cake and the Bananarama, which consists of gluten-conscious banana bread, bananas foster, fresh cut bananas, and wine cream — and even better, it’s sweetened with Medjool dates so those looking to cut out added sugars are also taken care of! The Bananarama is also available for brunch as ‘Banana Bread French Toast.’ While most French toast platters are heavy, with thick bread such as challah or brioche, MoBu’s is a much lighter dish, with thin bread that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the ingredients and flavors.
MoBu is a foodie haven, where each meal can be made different from the last, but the poise, presentation and preparation will never cease to amaze you. It’s great for an intimate dinner date, girls’ night out or even a small gathering on the patio — ideally on a Wednesday night when bottles of wine are half-priced.
MoBu Fusion Cafe is located at 1159 South Federal Highway in Boca Raton. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and dinner from 5-9 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.