Monday, January 25, 2010

Mosa Asian Bistro

Neel beat me to the punch and posted the first official "review" of a restaurant on our blog. Now it's my turn, and Mosa: Asian Bistro will be my initial foray into the world of being a restaurant critic. We picked up from Mosa last night when we ate with Neel's parents while watching a great NFC championship game. This review will not be based entirely on that one visit though. My parents really like Mosa, so I've been there numerous times.

Mosa was started by the owners of Formosa, a well known Chinese Restaurant in town. Mosa is a bit of a mix: Chinese restaurant meets fast food but with much higher quality. A similar idea has surfaced with Mexican restaurants like Swanky's, Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Moe's, etc, etc. Before I give the good & bad, I do have a confession. I've realized the more I eat Chinese food (meaning the American version served in Memphis), the less I like it. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it, but I rarely (if ever) crave it. Probably it's just too salty and heavy for me. Not the lightest and not the "freshest" style of cuisine for sure. I wanted to get all my cards out on the table.

So, the good first. Every time I go to Mosa the service is great and everyone is friendly. Everything is clean and it seems well managed. Another huge plus is the cost. The price is very reasonable, and I feel like you get plenty bang for your buck.

On the negative side, the first few times I went, I didn't like the food at all. However, after couple of trips, I "figured out" the menu, so to speak, and I found something I enjoy: the Hunan Shrimp Rice Bowl (prepared mild). It's basically brown rice with shrimp and vegetables prepared with a brown sauce. I've also had the Hot and Sour soup. For what it is --- Chinese food made cheaply for Americans --- it's pretty good. Serving portions are good but not over-sized. Everything is pretty tasty. But here's the rub. In the word's of Dennis Green: "They Are who We Thought They Were!!!"

All this means is that I just don't like Chinese food made cheaply for Americans. I think no matter how well it's executed, I probably won't enjoy it that much. This is not Mosa's fault. I'm sure there is a large demographic of people who really enjoy heavy/salty meals and can eat it frequently with no reservation. But I'm not one of them. It simply "sticks with me" for too long. So I think my predisposition against the style of food served at Mosa somewhat undercuts my appreciation for their quality in achieving their goal. So, where does that leave us? For me, it means that I couldn't handle going to Mosa frequently. It also means that I would never suggest it as a place I would like to go. But if someone else wanted to go there, great. I would go and could get something and enjoy it. Indeed, I've gone back numerous times at the suggestion of others and have appreciated their reasonable cost. For what is is, it's good. I just can't handle what it is. This leads me to give Mosa 2.5 Stars.

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