Doing double duty as a hat maker to the stars, with his chapeaus topping the crowns of Eva Longoria and Charlize Theron, Naftali Abenaim possesses an artful eye. This aesthetic touch helped him in his time working as a pastry chef in Manhattan hotels and led him to open Mocha Bleu, where he uses his skills to appeal to diners’ tendencies to “eat with their eyes first.” To this end, Abenaim designed the restaurant to get people excited about his food before they even sit down, with transparent Philippe Starck seating, walls coated in silvery-blue mosaic, and crisp, white napkins at every table.
His kitchen constructs pescetarian- and vegetarian-friendly dishes with European flavors in what Abenaim calls generous, “American-sized portions,” as opposed to those scaled to Luxemburg. Presentation plays a large part in the appeal of his food. A French patisserie welcomes patrons upon entering, a comfortable lounge sports WiFi, and a cherry-wood burning oven stands in the center of the dining area, where chefs put a golden-brown edge on pizzas and calzones loaded with nonmeat ingredients, such as savory mock pepperoni and mock chicken or mock crabmeat and shrimp. The poutine embodies the regional cuisine of Abenaim’s Canadian home by presenting tables with a freshly baked pile of julienne fries topped with rich gravy and mozzarella.:m]]