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Moes Southwest Grill – Deptford, NJ

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Moe Money, Moe Problems?

Moe’s Southwest Grill
Deptford, NJ
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Meal: Dinner / Weeknight / 730p
Price: $13 (For 2 – After Coupon)
Compare To: Taco Bell, California Tortilla
First Reviewed: February 2008

Back in 2008 we were excited about the first Moe’s hitting the Gloucester County area. If you’ve still never been, it’s a mid-priced slower-than-fast-food casual eatery with a great selection of Tex-Mex with some distinctively ‘American’ portion sizes. In a year plus since we gave them a very good – not outstanding – score, we returned a couple of nights ago with a healthy appetite and some help from Clipper Magazine.

It looks like Moe’s has edged up their prices on most of their items, with their trademark burritos now weighing in at $6.99. To compensate, they are a pretty consistent advertiser in Clipper Magazine and you can usually find a half off or BOGO deal with a purchase of a drink. Their menu is full of the expected burritos and tacos, but we definitely recommend trying their salads, served in a tortilla shell and competitively priced against same-sized portions elsewhere. Speaking of portions, you likely won’t be disappointed. The homewrecker burrito I ordered (with tofu, pinto beans, fried rice, guac, cheese, sour cream, salsa, and onions) looked about as wide as the head of a baseball bat and probably weighed a good pound or more. Naturally, you can opt to get chicken or beef instead of tofu, but doesn’t everyone love tofu? =)

Autumn got her favorite ‘alfredo garcia’ order which basically consisted of your choice of meat/toppings with 3 soft tortilla wraps. Doing it yourself is fun, and let’s you count calories if you’re trying to cut back on all that yummy guacamole. Included with most ala-cart items are tortilla chips and salsa, but on several occasions we’ve had to ask for more chips because we felt we got shorted. There are like 5 salsa choices; we love their signature Kaiser variety which is chunky, spicy, and has a very fresh flavor.

Appetizers, notably the quesadillas, are pretty good but kind of useless if you’re getting anything else (because the standard portions are generally large). Sides of guac or queso are available and delicious but they are substantially overpriced. For a few people, you won’t need anything more than a medium. Sodas are available in help-yourself format at a fountain. There isn’t anything remarkable about the selection.

My issue with Moe’s remains of few of the big C’s: cleanliness, cost, and consistency. The sneeze guard and most of the prep area is usually pretty unappealing. If you come after 7, it seems the crew is on cruise control until the night is over and doesn’t bother to even wipe around the wells where they put the meat and toppings. On top of things, most of the menu items are now right at the $7 mark. For that price, you can get a bunch of Chalupas at Taco Bell and still have money left over. As I said earlier, make sure you hunt down some coupons. And finally, consistency. You’ve got to pay attention or you might get half as much meat as you could. Ditto with the chips. Ask for more if it looks skimpy against the rice and beans. They won’t object, which shows just how open to interpretation each item is. If they are supposed to give you a couple ounces of meat, I wish they’d just measure it out so I know it’s the same each time.

We still go to Moe’s a bunch of times each year, but we wish they’d focus on keeping their ingredients fresh and the prep areas clean. Thank goodness for the coupons, or I doubt I’d be putting up $20 for a burrito, salad, and some queso for the chips. It’s nice to see some diversity coming to South Jersey, and Moe’s is a good choice when we’re not in the mood for burgers, chinese, or pizza. The service is generally friendly, but they’re very young .. I don’t think anyone works there that is old enough to gamble. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but perhaps that’s why they’re not especially invested in improving some of the areas we discussed.

Pros:

– Most items have good overall portion size
– Prepared freshly
– Table service

Cons:

– Employees not the most passionate about their job
– Stop trying to skimp the chips!
– Can be frugal on meat portions

2008 Score: 3.3 Chews
Guru’s Score: 3.3 Chews
★★★½☆
Subjective rating: A slightly healthier meal with an equally healthy premium.

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Moes Southwest Grill - Deptford, NJ, 4.1 out of 5 based on 8 ratings

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