Dining out: Mo's Neighborhood Grill

Published: Friday, March 31 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

Mo's Neighborhood Grill probably is best-known to Salt Lake music lovers as a spot to hear live music or comedians. I confess I've never been there at night, but I imagine it's energetic, loud and fun.
In the daytime, though, things are different. The vibe at Mo's shifts way down, resulting in a lunch spot that's relaxed, mellow — and still fun.
The weather was overcast when we visited Mo's for a recent weekday lunch, with soft light filtering in through the huge arched windows that line the restaurant's front. The decor is just what you'd expect for a pub of this sort: sports pictures, neon beer signs, local memorabilia, comfortably arranged on the walls. A couple of small stages attest to the place's evening role, and there's obviously a plant lover somewhere on the premises, judging by the healthy specimens cascading over the bar partition, lining the entrance and even making a brave show in the small outdoor courtyard north of the building.
We started with the "brew buddy" onion rings, which the menu says are beer-battered. I was surprised, therefore, when they arrived with a crumb coating, as I'd been expecting the thick, yeasty coating I'm used to. They were tasty, however, grilled a nice golden brown and juicy-sweet inside. They were sprinkled with grated Parmesan and came with a cup of marinara for dipping.
We ordered chicken tenders and seasoned fries off the appetizer menu for the kids, and they were presented with huge portions of both by our considerate, energetic server. As for my husband and me, I admit that we ignored several yummy-sounding portions of the menu — sandwiches, salads, grilled items, pizzas — and homed in on the "brewpub fare," which sounded nice and comforting on that blustery day.
We weren't disappointed, as both of our lunches were obviously made from scratch. I had the chicken pie, which reminded me of nothing so much as a British meat pie — and that's a compliment, as those folks are serious about their savory pastries. It had a flaky, buttery crust surrounding a melange of shredded poached chicken, onions, peas, carrots and celery in a mellow gravy. Filling and very tasty.
But my husband's lunch, the meatloaf, stole the show. If you're a meatloaf lover, Mo's is worth visiting for this dish alone, which is firm, meaty and oniony, with a great chewy crust. It was served with decent mashed potatoes, brown gravy and mixed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. The veggies were undercooked, but it hardly mattered.
Also on the menu at Mo's is a meatloaf sandwich, served on sourdough bread with fries, that would make a fabulous lunch.
Appetizers $1.99-$6.49, sandwiches and burgers $5.79-$6.99, soups and salads $3.99-$6.99, grill specialties $6.99-$10.99, brewpub fare $6.99-$9.99, pizzas $7.79-$15.79.

Rating: ** 1/2
Where: 358 S. West Temple
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-1 a.m.
Friday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-4 a.m.
Sunday 7 p.m.-close
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Phone: 359-0586
Web: www.mosbarandgrill.com

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com

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