With the variety of intricate Southeast Asian flavors and textures on Mecha Noodle Bar's menu, the restaurant's beverage team had plenty of inspiration. Cocktails ($11) feature Japanese shochu melded with citrus; sweet yet dangerous blends of rum, fruit and spice; and even freshly brewed bubble teas, spiked with mezcal, tequila, pisco or bourbon.
"We want our cocktails to be really interesting and awesome and have a lot of flavor, but [also] to pair well with our bowls," said Daryl Wells, general manager of Mecha's newest location in New Haven. He credits the creative work of Mecha's beverage director, Jason Snopkoski, and beverage manager, Jonathan Rodriguez.
Shochu appears in the Lotus Flower Bomb, a take on sangria with citrus juices, five-spice, red and plum wines, and again in the Love Potion No. 9, blended with Aperol, lychee, lemongrass and lime. The Way of the Warrior, a shochu and sake cocktail with St. Germain and Velvet Falernum, is served in a diminutive wooden box.
Mecha even veers into tiki territory, with the Farmer's Rhum (Cement Select rhum agricole, Creole shrub, white rum, lime, orgeat) and the large-format The Scorpion ($33) meant to serve two or more drinkers with Diplomatico rum, cognac, lemon, orange, mango and almond cordial.
The cocktails are "not supposed to be super pretentious or over the top," Wells said. "They're drinkable, they're crushable, we want you to have a couple of them and say 'Man, that's amazing.'"
Draft beers are joined on tap by Bushido sake and Riesling from New York's Finger Lakes region, and Mecha's carefully selected spirits collection features nearly a dozen Asian whiskeys. A weekday happy hour runs from 3 to 6 p.m., with specials on cocktails, pony beer drafts, steamed buns and spicy miso ramen.
Mecha Noodle Bar, 201 Crown St., New Haven, is open Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. 203-691-9671, mechanoodlebar.com.