Restaurant Review: Mo’s New York Grill (1.5 Stars)

There are three reasons to go to Mo’s. Alas, the food is not one of them.

Mo’s Strikes Out

There are three reasons to go to Mo’s. Alas, the food is not one of them.

Reason No. 1 to go to Mo’s: you love the Yankees. Reason No. 2: you love Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, a k a Mo. Reason No. 3: you are married to someone who meets the criteria for reasons Nos. 1 and/or 2.

And so it was we found ourselves just off the main drag in New Rochelle, walking in to what appeared to be a neighborhood pub or tavern. In fact, given the crowd at the bar, Mo’s would do well as a tavern. But on our visits, it appeared it is doing just fine as a restaurant.

Is it due to the celebrity buzz? Two women getting ready to leave just as we were seated were giggling: “How good a night was this? You got to meet Mo!” Then there were the conversations at our table. Within seconds of someone coming to our table, we would learn if Mo was in that night, whether Mo knew the server by name, the word on the street about Mo’s injuries, scores of the most recent games, and more. Did we start these conversations, or did the waiters? It didn’t matter. It was clear early on that the biggest draw at Mo’s is, frankly, Mo.

It’s doubtful the décor and ambience are much of a pull: the restaurant looks like a hundred other steakhouses and Italian joints littered throughout the county—except for the enormous portrait of Mo, that is.

From the hostess to the busboy to the waiters to the manager, the staff at Mo’s was unfailingly friendly and eager to please. Less than two minutes after we asked our waiter to replace a dirty wine glass, the manager was at our side, apologizing and buying us a drink. The service was not flawless, however: it is obvious rookies are on the floor. Given the prices and the attempts to make this a “fine-dining establishment,” the waitstaff should have been trained on the simple art of opening a bottle of wine, making sure there is appropriate cutlery on the table for each course, and bringing courses to the table in the right order.

Fine dining this is not; the menu should have been the tip-off. It reads like that of an upscale steakhouse, which befits the name (the rest of the name, that is): New York Grill, but not the décor, location, or casually dressed clientele. Nor did serving an amuse bouche; while very nice, it fits neither the concept of a grill nor the vibe at Mo’s. It is an upscale, more formal, fine-dining gesture.

At Mo’s, the gesture proved to be a faux pas for another reason. The rubbery butterflied shrimp topped with what tasted like bottled mango chutney failed at its raison d’etre—to titillate our palates. The next course did nothing to raise our expectations. A tomato and “sweet” onion salad consisted of under-ripe tomatoes and onions so strong they burned. A crab cake was decent but was served over undressed greens and accompanied by a spicy pepper mayonnaise that tasted only of heat. Opt for the golden-brown, crisp and tender fried calamari or the tuna tartare: chunks of sweet tuna lightly dressed with sesame oil sandwiched between fried wonton skins and served with a classic Asian seaweed salad.

Steaks at Mo’s are really good: tender, juicy, and full of flavor. A 22-ounce T-bone was everything it should have been, and cooked to perfection. So were double lamb chops and a special of Panamanian skirt steak. Problems arose when the meat—or anything else, it seemed—was “sauced.” Moist, richly flavored lamb chops were topped with what was described as a port-wine sauce but tasted like thickened bouillon. Oven-roasted halibut was so thoroughly cooked it was hard at the edges. No surprise, then, that it had no flavor. Nope, flavor unfortunately did come from the “smoked tomato sauce,” which tasted like a boatload of smoked paprika mixed into barely discernable tomato purée.

After two meals and our share of problematic fare, our affections were torn: did we owe more allegiance to our beloved Yankees or to our professional assessment of food? Dessert struck out. Banana-mousse cake topped with cold bananas and caramel sauce was sticky and cloying, and a grainy chocolate cake described on the menu as “molten” tasted more like undercooked batter.

Mo, win back our affections. The steaks were terrific, and a couple of appetizers tasty. But the rest…well, do what you do best: come in and save the game.


14 Memorial Hwy., New Rochelle

(914) 632-1442



Tues. to Sun. 5:30-10 pm.



Appetizers: $6.50-$13

Entrees: $19-$40, a la carte steaks: $20-$40

Desserts: $8



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