One of Echo Park’s newest restaurants, Mooi, has attracted attention not only for its raw vegan menu but for a curious ritual. At dinner, when patrons approach the main entrance off the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street, a sign on the double glass doors direct them to a side entrance, where a flight of stairs climbs up to a corridor that leads to a hostess table on a second floor mezzanine overlooking the dining room. From there, the diners walk down a grand staircase to the first floor, where they find menus tucked into copies of Dr. Seuss books.
While some folks enjoy the entrance ritual, others are not pleased, including a person named Sandra M. who left his comment on Yelp!
“Once we reached the top of the stairs we encountered signs of decor-in-progress, and we headed to an open door which led to a darkened room void of people, a kind of dining area loft, stiflingly hot, apparently where the hostess table is situated. As we entered we heard shouting from the bottom of the stairs we just climbed. A very attractive and hip French couple was confused as to how to get into the restaurant, and we told them that they had to come up the stairs, the way we were headed. So, back through the dark room and sauna-like heat, down a set of stairs and into the adorable main dining room of Mooi.”
Restaurant owner Stephen Hauptfuhr said patrons can still use the front doors but entering Mooi from the side doors allows them to explore the interior of landmark Jensen’s Building before descending into the dining room.
“Some people are really into it. Some people don’t understand it. That’s the way it is.”