No, this is not a review, per se (no score will be given). Even I do not review fast food. Those who frequent the various Facebook groups and pages will know the out-and-out hysteria that surrounded the coming of Moe’s Southwestern Grill to Middletown last month, and the [delayed] promises of free burritos for a year at their opening to the first 100 people to venture into the place. They have now been open several weeks, and I have seen steady crowds in the parking lot every time I pass by. Was it now time for Justin and I to “Go to Moe’s”?
The moment happened this week. We had just done some grocery shopping at the nearby Shop Rite. We were hungry, but not starving. We figured we could get something light at Moe’s. The interior is very well-done. The style, booths, and lighting is a little more upscale than your normal fast food joint. You are immediately smacked in the face by someone screaming “Welcome to Moe’s!” from the across the room. Each and every person/group gets one of these, and while this is a staple of the chain and appears cute and humorous at first, by the fourth or fifth time someone enters, it gets quite forced and tacky.
We decided to split an order of two tacos since we wanted to eat light. I got mine soft with chicken, while he asked for his to be done like a chalupa (soft around the outside of a hard shell taco). His request miffed the person behind the counter, and it took two of them to figure out what he meant—at first, they thought he was asking for two tacos. Finally, a third worker said, “Oh, a chalupa!” and his order was understood. He also had chicken in his. Judging by the quality of the meat, it looks fresher and more “real” than Chipotle, the obvious and most lateral comparison. As a whole, Moe’s is light-years ahead of Taco Bell, but I don’t think you need me for that assessment. A can of Cat Fancy would be better than Taco Bell.
We had our tacos identical: some cheese, corn, and a little sour cream. There is a salsa bar which you can visit for unlimited salsa after you order. They had different heat levels from mild to hot, and a pineapple one. The cost for two tacos was $7.99, which is a little high when you consider there are authentic sit-down Mexican restaurants which are cheaper. But this is not too big of a deal, and the inclusion of complimentary chips with each order rounds out the meal and makes it feel like you are getting your money’s worth. I give them props for making their own tortilla chips, which you can see them frying behind the cash register.
The line moved smoothly and the tacos were decent. The staff, while new, is efficient. I am not much of a fast food guy, but I am torn on if this is better than Chipotle? I am inclined to say the chicken is, but the other ingredients and composition of the meal were not. There really was not much flavor, and given how fresh and enticing the salsas look, fell flat in their taste. The tacos were also wrapped sloppily in foil, which is the reason why there are no pictures for this write-up: it was just too messy!
Overall, I thought Moe’s was pretty average. At least it did not suck. Perhaps for a quick bite such as what we did here, I would go back. But for something larger like a bowl or full meal, I would stick to Chipotle or make it myself. There is such a congestion of fast food in the area, and Moe’s adds to that, but does not add anything worthwhile to stand out.