* The place: Mocha Restaurant & Music Lounge, 3116 Brainerd Road.
* The dish: Blackened tilapia over orzo, steamed broccoli, sweet potato fries.
* The cost: $12.95.
Mocha, on Brainerd Road near the Missionary Ridge tunnels, has been around for almost two years as an evening jazz club and restaurant, and it recently settled into a lunch schedule and menu.
I've been inside the restaurant a couple of times, and I'm always struck by how big and nice the space is. The exterior reveals little about the interior. In addition to the stage and dance area, there are two good-size dining rooms and a couple of smaller spaces for seating. It's as warm and friendly as the staff. Parking is in the rear, and the entrance is in the front.
The lunch menu features a range of foods, including the Miles Davis Chicken and Waffles, chicken Marsala, alfredo, a chef's special, stir fry, crab cakes and the Mocha burger. Soups, salads and desserts are also available.
I ordered the tilapia to go, along with broccoli and sweet potato fries. The portions and the price were both dinner-size.
The fish was blackened and served over orzo. The tilapia was a fairly good-size piece of tender filet. It and the orzo, flavored with bits of zucchini and red bell pepper, were covered in a slightly sweet soy-based sauce, like a hoisin sauce, that for my taste could have been left off or served on the side. It wasn't bad; it just overwhelmed the other flavors.
While I prefer crunchy sweet potato fries, these were on the softer side, but they were tasty. The broccoli was just about right.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...