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Apr 13, 2008 07:47 PM

The Best and Worst of El Paso

Before I rave or slag a place I visit it 3 times. Having said this, I have a revelation for you ...
the FINEST beef brisket I have EVER had!!!
At Mo's Barbecue on US 54 (Fred Wilson) you will lose your mind if brisket thrills you. I grew up in New York City and after 10 years in West Texas I have had every brisket in every style but Mo'z sets them all to shame. Not only is Mo'z brisket softly smoky from the special wood Mo'z pits with, but the brisket is both wet AND crunchy which is the brisket Holy Grail. The pork ribs share this delicate yet heavy magic that Mo'z doles out daily. In fact everything is good but these 2 items are brilliant! Mo'z Mom makes a sweet potato pie that you must try to leave room for, and the banana pudding will take you home as well. The only drawback is the popularity and the parking crunch BUT leave your car for a hand wash car wash next door and get on line. I will promise you a revelation in beef, and a poem of pork. This gem is worth a detour from everywhere south of Mars, as Mo'z mojo's workin' and it'll roll all over you!

Now the bad news ... We have eaten @ The Mesa Street Grill 3 times since the New Year and it has been consistently awful. At these prices they MUST be more than convenient and sadly they are not.From the start you wonder if they are even tasting the food as the calamari was quite possibly the worst I have ever had. Despite my warnings last night a friend ordered it again and it was rubber bands of zero-ness. The tuna tartar was off (old) as well. These problems represent a kitchen where nobody is paying attention. Medium rare seems to baffle those who grill there. I have had a steak medium well and one blue / cold on the inside. At Cattleman prices this is highway robbery, as when they do actually cook it right, it is nothing special. What they do well are deserts and the Bar, but service is uneven and they simple don't sweat the details. Last night it was under cooked rice and over cooked veggies, as well as a chicken marsala where the butter in the sauce has been allowed to burn In March it was mushy salmon and over-cooked short ribs. If you think I'm being picky or cruel you might be on a trust fund or an expense account as the prices are inappropriate for the value you recieve. (A Belvedere Martini was 15 dollars!)
Like my review of Billy Crews Steakhouse in the New Mexico section, this is a convenient ghost of a once good restaurant, which seems to survive on its Bar. So many good places in town never get visited because we throw our money away at old stand-byes. I hope you will visit the new / larger Mi Piaci or 2900 or Danes where cost and value mean something to the ownership. The Mesa Street Grill is just phoning it in.

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  1. Too bad to hear about Mesa Street. I spent many an hour in the restaurant and bar years ago when it was the place to be. I've been gone from El Paso for a couple of years now, and it was starting to go down in quality even then.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hellpaso

      It's still the place to be and it's always sucked. :D

    2. Hi! I'll actually be driving through El Paso in a few weeks on Interstate-10 and I was planning on stopping in El Paso for breakfast, any suggestions? Any advice would be appreciated!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Fetissoff

        For Mexican Breakfast it's the Executive Drive Exit . Right on Mesa Street to Sun Bowl Drive (Right) and on your left "El Rincon de Cortez". It's the real deal!
        For more of an adventure, the Little Diner in Canutillo is as good but has more selection / gringo food. They have a website so Google them but if breakfast amidst locals and cops is your cup of tea "El Rinco" proudly wears the crown. The Little Diner is our "foody" magnet great at any meal. A Rincon breakfast is worth the stop.

        1. re: Fetissoff

          You MUST go to Lucy's on Mesa. Take Executive Drive, turn right on Mesa and it's on your right a few miles down (between University and Executive, closer to University, but harder to give directions from that exit). Don't be scared by its appearance. Highlights are the chile relleno, machaca and Tony's taco.

        2. Can someone tell me what is up with Avilas. We come into town about 4 times a year and my husband always insists that we go. For the past year or so, each time we leave he says that if it wasn't such a ritual, he would never go back. He is convinced that the enchilda sauce comes from a can, and the salsa is completely missing the roasted chile taste that it used to have. They still do a solid business. Or is it just from people like my husband trying to relive his childhood?

          1 Reply