Last Updated on July 7, 2020 by Angie
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Mola in East Liberty is a sushi-focused restaurant, although the Asian menu has much more than just sushi if that's not your thing. The menu also includes small plates, bao, and rice bowls. We recently tried takeout from Mola and were very impressed with the food and that they executed a wide variety of dishes so well.
Mola's Sushi Platters are a Must Try
We love sushi but we also love variety. Therefore, Mola has been on our radar for quite a while since they do more than just nigiri, sashimi, hand rolls, and cut rolls.
Small plates include dishes like dumplings, veggies, shrimp tempura, salads, and soups. There are a variety of bao, too, like pork belly, steak, chicken, and vegetarian. A decent number of rice bowl options are available as well including poke style bowls as well as cooked proteins like hot and spicy chicken, pork shoulder, chicken teriyaki, and steak.
As always, we had to try a bit of everything. We started with a sushi sampler (the “regular” size) which included 6 pieces of nigiri (2 each of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail), one tuna and avocado roll, and a blue crab hand roll.
Maybe it's just been a while since we've had good sushi, but we thoroughly enjoyed every bite. The rice was cooked and seasoned perfectly, and the fish was all incredibly fresh. Don't miss the blue crab hand roll which was such a delicious surprise – chunks of real crab were mixed with a light mayo sauce to form a sort of seafood salad. The crab was so perfectly and delicately sweet that after it was all gone we pined for just a few more bites!
Round Out a Meal with Bao or a Rice Bowl
We tried two different bao, the pork belly and the crispy chicken. The pork belly came with crushed peanuts, pickled cucumber, and cilantro while the chicken came with a cabbage slaw and sriracha mayo. Both of these bao fell a little flat for us. The buns themselves were a little tough and the flavors just weren't there – both bao could have used more seasoning and sauces.
The Berkshire pork shoulder rice bowl, however, was a slam dunk. The meat was rich and tender with a good amount of fattiness, and the bowl was punctuated with tons of thinly sliced shishito peppers, sliced garlic, and a Lao Gan Ma sauce full of umami and spiciness.
There is a surprising dessert menu at Mola, too, including cheesecakes, dessert bao, and mochi ice cream from MochiDoki in NYC. We love mochi and these little ice cream bites exceeded our expectations. The outer rice cake layer was thin and tender, while the interior ice cream was creamy and packed full of fruit flavor – try the mango!
Sometimes sushi is just sushi, especially in Pittsburgh, but Mola sushi goes above and beyond in terms of quality and flavor. We also really appreciate the other menu items on offer and plan on returning soon to try more rice bowls and small plates, as well as sushi, of course!
Mola is located at 6018 Penn Avenue in East Liberty.
Looking for more great restaurants in East Liberty? Click the previous link to check out our neighborhood guide!
The following are a few frequently asked questions about Mola in East Liberty. Please note that these were based on our visit and may have changed.
Metered street parking is available on the roads around Mola. The closest paid lots are at S Beatty St and Tamello Way near the Ace Hotel as well as at Broad St and Sheridan Ave across from the Target.
Yes. At the time of our visit Mola accepted credit cards.
Yes. At the time of our visit Mola accepted limited reservations. Note that the restaurant space is fairly small and advanced reservations are recommended.
The menu at mola is primarily East Asian with the focus on seafood in the form of sashimi, nagiri, and sushi.
Excluding drinks, guests at Mola should expect to pay about $25-$30 per person for a decent spread of sushi based on prices during our visit. Spending could go up significantly if you buy a fair bit of sushi. This excludes tax and tip.