Moe's (Mounds View, MN)
Who would have thought you could find culinary perfection in Mounds View? At Moe's, it's on the menu. In several places.
There are a lot of hot spicy wings out there, but only one true Buffalo wing. It's not breaded, mildly hot, and served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Moe's has them, and they might just be the best wings in the metro.
Moe's also serves the excellent and deservedly famous Mayslack's garlicky roast beef, piled high on a dark rye bun. No need to drive all the way to Nordeast for this feast; we love this sandwich.
The late great Lincoln Del was another Twin Cities institution. Moe does a good job with deli classics like the reuben, and they're even called "Lincoln-Del Style Sandwiches."
The menu also includes a variety of hot and cold sandwiches. The "Mustang" chicken sandwich, with bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce, is excellent. We also liked Moe's signature burger, with onions, bacon and cheese on the inside. Tasty, especially if you can get it with their bourbon barbecue sauce.
If you have the choice, we prefer the thin-cut French fries to the Jo-Jo potatoes. And you'll be offered a cup of their red pepper sauce, which is good but not great. Avoid the onion rings, which weren't improved by the fish batter.
Salads are good, too, with fresh ingredients and tasty dressings. Some vegetarian, and some with meat or chicken, these salads are big enough to make at least one meal of.
The spinach and artichoke dip was delicious, but would be better with more artichokes. The crispy flatbread crackers served alongside were unusual and tasty.
Moe's serves larger entrees, including several different steaks. We liked the cedar plank walleye. The maple and brown sugar butter was a surprising and satisfying flavoring, and the sauteed vegetables and seasoned rice were the classic, and well-done, complement.
The only clunker we found on the menu was the meat loaf. We have no idea what Grandma Moe was thinking, but nothing about that dish tasted good: not the meat loaf, not the mashed potatoes, not the gravy. Avoid at all costs.
We also weren't thrilled with the barbecued ribs, which were tender enough, but too dry. The barbecue sauce wasn't as good as the bourbon barbecue sauce, which would be welcome here.
You might not expect that large portions are something to complain about, but every dish was much too large. The leftovers were nice, but we'd be happy with smaller portions.
Much as we loved the food, the service needs a kick in the pants. On a quiet night, waiting more than 30 minutes isn't acceptable. Happily, this doesn't seem to be a problem every night. And they try to please; when one of our dishes came out undercooked, they immediately cooked a replacement, didn't charge for the dish, and offered a soup or salad to ease the wait.
We do wish they would turn off the television sets.
If you Go: Moe's
Location: 2400 Hwy. 10, Mounds View
Contact: 763-786-1800 , www.moesonthego.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thu.-Sat., 10 a.m.-midnight Sun.
Atmosphere: Family restaurant with attached bar
Service: Friendly but slow
Sound level: Not too loud, unless the televisions are on
Recommended dishes: Mayslack's roast beef, Buffalo wings, walleye
Prices: Sandwiches $7-10, entrees $12-16
Children: Children's menu available