Is it pronounced like what a cow says (mooo-a) or the way you say “me” in French (excusez-moi)?? I don’t know and, frankly, it doesn’t much matter since you pretty much get the gist either way. However you want to say it, Mua is located on Webster Street just next to 25th and Broadway in Oakland. This is one of these in-between neighborhoods that’s slowly growing to add to Oakland’s awesomeness — there are a some vacant building and unidentifiable/run-down businesses mushed in with sweet converted lofts, tiny art studios and chic restaurants and bars. Mua sort of dabbles a bit in all three of these latter fab categories.
Mainly a restaurant space, Mua has a huge, open indoor space with a mezzanine where diners can enjoy the polished concrete floors, super high ceilings and artsy, graffiti-esque wall decorations. It’s a bit loud due to the vast cavern-like nature of the room, but it’s extremely lively and the waiters are all super “hip” with styled hair and posh tattoos.
Let’s talk food. I’ve been here twice and both times I’ve only partaken in the “small plates”. This is because the choices are awesome and I love sharing food. Here are the things I’ve tasted:
- Caesar salad (standard, but yum)
- Fried feta cheese-stuffed olives (as good as they sound)
- Brussel sprouts with brown butter (yum!)
- “Mac and Cheese” made with butternut squash and no cheese (amazing)
- Shiitake mushrooms on crostini bread with herb goat cheese (delish)
- Grilled prawns in butter (good)
Uh, yeah, see where I’m going here? Awesome choices. And I didn’t even get a bite of the tomato bisque and mini grilled cheese or beet salad or crispy tofu in black bean chili sauce yet. Wouldn’t mind swinging back for a nibble on those.
And for the meat eaters there’s stuff like broccolini with fingerling potatoes and bacon, chicken skewers, ahi tuna sashimi, fried chicken, blackened catfish…the list goes on and on. Most of those are main courses, however (although that’s not delineated on their website) not small plates. But still, yum, right? Total yum, as my mom would say.
Oh holy lord, let’s not forget the bread pudding!! I would never order such a thing, but I can’t get my way (read: chocolate cake) every dang time and sometimes I must relinquish. I am glad I did. This bread pudding — admittedly not anything like traditional bread pudding at all — was fabulous. Warm, tender cake with raspberries and sauce sprinkled on top — it was heavenly.
They also have fun drinks and a full bar with a sweet happy hour that has specials on some of the foods as well as drinks. And supposedly they have a live DJ (sooo much better than a dead one, let me tell you) every night but Monday, though I don’t see how I missed this person both times I was there.
It’s not the cheapest place in town, but I think it’s a good deal for the quality and creativity of the food, the lively atmosphere and the great location. If you’re out in Oakland, swing by Mua for a good time and great food!