With just a small stall squeezed into a South Central mini-mall, Ricardo Zarate briskly burst into a national phenomenon when he opened Mo-Chica, his matchless paean to Peruvian cooking, while moonlighting from his executive chef position at Venice's Wabi Sabi in 2009. Following widespread accolades, a win for Food & Wine's people's choice best new chef, the opening of trend-setting Test Kitchen and Beverly Hills' perpetually packed Picca, Zarate is currently preparing to open his second location of Mo-Chica on Downtown's booming Seventh Street. Zarate's team tell us all permits have been approved and Mo-Chica's second home is eyeing the first week in March to make its debut, and offering us a quick look inside of the almost finished, but still developing space that plans to stay open seven days a week and offer specialty punches on a cocktail menu. Photos reveal a sharp and expansive hive bearing subtly cool accents, from a graffiti burner screaming the restaurant's name on the wall to tables topped with the cross-section of chopped trees. Check out Mo-Chica's brand new digs in our slideshow and watch for an opening early next month.
Mo-Chica, 514 W. Seventh St. Downtown.
Update: A rep for the restaurant tells us the menu won't be the same as the original Mo-Chica, but that a few familiar dishes will be served.BEGIN SLIDESHOW