Restaurant review: Mo’s Best Eatery in Arlington

Mo’s Best Eatery

4004 Little Road



Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Posted 10:45am on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014

Mo’s Best Eatery is more Northeast than North Texas, which may be the very reason some people are making the place a habit.

The first time we dined at the tiny, mostly takeout joint, a couple coming in interrupted our conversation with the chatty Mo Zaben to say they’d read about the restaurant on Yelp. When we returned the next night, we laid a sheepish “We’re back” on Mo.

“So are they,” replied Mo, pointing to the couple from the previous night, who were seated in the corner, tucking into burgers.

Big burgers are big business these days, and we’d heard that Mo’s big burger is juicy. Well, juicy doesn’t begin to describe this six-napkin job. Mo is proud of the blend of meats — New York strip, brisket and two other cuts — that goes into his grind. He also grinds in fat and a mix of spices for flavor and tops the cooking patty with butter for even more flavor — now we’re beginning to understand the ooziness.

Our 1/3-pound, single-patty burger ($6) was cooked exactly medium, as we’d requested, and served on a toasted bun that had been brushed with, yes, more herbed butter. It was served with fairly tame fixin’s — shredded lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and American cheese — but with all that seasoning and flavor, we had no quibbles with the product. Customers can also order double and triple patties, but I’m not sure how you’d get your mouth around a triple.

Mo’s burger is good, but it was the piled-high pastrami that made us return the second night. Mo hails from Connecticut, but that’s close enough to New York City that he knows from pastrami. He’ll proudly tell you that he makes it himself, smoking it, then steaming it, then air-drying it, then cooking it again and, finally, drying it one more time. The whole process takes about three weeks.

Well done, Mo. Well done. He serves his pastrami grinder ($8 for a half-pound sandwich, $15 for the 1-pound version) on a crusty roll with shredded lettuce, tomato and your choice of mustard or mayo. (Please, please, choose mustard.) If Mo sizes you up and asks you if you’d prefer rye bread to his grinder roll, stick with the roll. It’s more substantial and holds up better to that mass of meat.

We also liked the appetizer of baba ghanoush ($4.50), prepared by Mo’s mom. Unlike most baba ghanoush, it hadn’t been completely blenderized but, rather, had discernible chunks of roasted eggplant, and a nice, lemony zip.

If you order pizza, do not expect a bendable Big Apple-style slice. His “Northeast Style” is a crispy-round-the-edges, floppy-in-the-center creation with a nice balance of sauce and cheese. Mo makes his own pizza-topper sausage from the same blend of meats that goes into his burgers. Order it topped with just veggies and you’ve got yourself a light-ish meal.

Our only letdown during our visits was the eggplant Parmesan ($8.99). Rather than getting a gooey casserole, we were served three, egg-shaped, lengthwise slices of eggplant that had been battered and fried. These were then topped with a splash of sauce and cheese. Disappointing.

Mo’s is so small, the dining area offers just a half-dozen two-seater tables, one of them pressed up against the cash-register area. Ambience consists of Mo himself. You can watch him work, and he’ll be happy to chat.

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