Lifetime members of the Clean Plate Club.

Cincinnati Bites
Banh Mi from Pho Lang Thang

Posted Saturday, January 16, 2016

There was a time when we were hard-pressed to find good, independently-owned Cincinnati restaurants focusing on breakfast. Standouts included the inimitable and recently-demised Tucker's in Over-the-Rhine; Norwood's 75-year-old Sugar n' Spice; and a smattering of Cincinnati chili joints and Frisch's restaurants around town. Nowadays breakfast is big business, with a number of places offering a wide breadth of options to the morning milieu, from the divey to the upscale.

One of the most long-lived of these restaurants is Mokka, which has been around for at least a decade in Newport, Kentucky, having moved from York St., to 5th St., to their latest location at the corner of 5th and Monmouth. While Mokka's menu offers a varied array of lunch and dinner items, it's best known as one of the better breakfast havens, with special nods to their frittatas, French toast and goetta selections.

My girlfriend and I have only managed a few visits to Mokka over the years, the latest of which being on a recent early Saturday afternoon jaunt. Parking around Newport always seems to be at a premium and, although Mokka does offer its own small parking lot, it's nearly always full, forcing most patrons onto the metered streets. Today was no exception.

Mokka's entrance reveals two yawning dining rooms and a spacious bar. We were greeted at the door by a woman who asked us to choose any seat we liked. A tiny nook between the two rooms offered a small, lone table overlooking Monmouth, so we sat there. The restaurant offers two different menus --an abbreviated version for the weekend crowd and a much larger, tri-fold menu during the week.

The first priority was my steaming mug of coffee, served with a large tray brimming with single-serve containers of half & half, not the fake creamers I hate. From the special weekend menu, I chose the Goetta Avalanche: a cheesy frittata layered atop an English muffin with lettuce, tomato, roasted red pepper dressing and a heaping slice of crispy goetta. My girlfriend chose the turkey sausage & spinach frittata, a cheesy, open-faced omelette with hunks of turkey sausage, tomatoes and spinach. Both entrees were served with a side of home fry-style potatoes (fruit cups are also an option).

Goetta Avalanche Goetta Avalanche
Frittata Turkey Sausage & Spinach Frittata

My Goetta Avalanche arrived wonderfully presented and living up to its name, as there was so much food that it seemed to cascade off the plate. The Avalanche appeared to be intended as a sandwich, with the enormous fillings stuffed between two slices of English muffin, but it would have been impossible to do so. Eating it with a fork and knife proved the prudent course. The crispy outer layer and creamier interior of their goetta made it one of my favorites in the area; and the egg was perfectly cooked. The roasted red pepper dressing was a interesting condiment, a mixture of sweet, savory and spicy thoughtfully applied with a light touch.

My girlfriend's frittata was a thin, satisfying assortment of egg and turkey sausage whose heaviness was cut by the fresh spinach leaves and good but slightly-out-of-season tomatoes. We both very much enjoyed the home fries, crispy cubes of potato that were not underdone and still yielded a fluffy, starchy center.

Mokka remains on a short list of our favorite breakfast spots in the Cincinnati area. If you've passed the place dozens of times as we have while trekking through Newport, now's the time to give it a try.

Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 3.0 out of 43.0 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. A Mediocre Lunch at Firehouse Grill
    -posted Sunday, October 8, 2017
  2. Southern Indian Impressions: Udupi Cafe
    -posted Saturday, September 23, 2017
  3. New Downtown Korean Restaurant: Haru
    -posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017
  4. Pleasant Ridge Impressions: Nine Giant Brewing
    -posted Monday, August 7, 2017
  5. Mediterranean Musings at Milya Cafe
    -posted Sunday, July 16, 2017
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
  • From Tabitha about Tickle Pickle:
    Haha, love your comment: " If you were deemed "different" in high school, dressed "weird" or regularly got beat up only to go on to have a decidedly higher net worth and confidence level than the rest of your abusive, judgmental peers, Northside is your home away from home." I know I saw a Groupon for Tickle Pickle recently - might have to check if that's still available!
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:33 PM
  • From Tabitha about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    This is definitely going on the list. Thanks for posting. Do they also have margaritas?
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:23 PM
  • From holly may about Urban Grill on Main:
    This is Israeli couscous, the super tiny stuff is Moroccan. I personally prefer the Israeli (also known as "pearl".)
    posted: Fri., Mar 24th, 2017 @ 4:28 AM
  • From Sommer about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    We really love having Chilango so close to us in the Kings area!!! We have gone a few times and you are right - the Chicken Tinga is the best chicken taco you can get in Cincinnati!!! Thanks for reviewing this little neighborhood gem!
    posted: Tue., Mar 21st, 2017 @ 9:12 AM
  • From Tabitha about Lalo: they have margaritas?
    posted: Thu., Jan 12th, 2017 @ 12:32 PM
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Swad Indian:
    @MJ: I heard family members of those who'd run Dusmesh now work out of the former Amol India in Clifton. It's called, Grill of India (
    posted: Thu., Dec 29th, 2016 @ 11:45 PM
  • From mj about Swad Indian:
    It seems Swad has changed hands. Have not see the former Dusmesh owners in my last visit (10/1/2016) and the food is just ok. Wonder where they went this time?
    posted: Wed., Dec 28th, 2016 @ 8:22 AM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design