Clearly we all have our own taste buds, and it’s not surprising when friends or family members occasionally disagree about a seasoning, spice, dish or even food establishment. This is what happened when I ventured out to Moochie’s: my guest and I crashed about what we thought of the place: he liked some of it and I disliked all of it.
You might be getting ahead of me and thinking, “This is a dive, not a very snobbish place to dine,” but the truth of the matter is that I have been to numerous holes in the wall, and just because they lack sophisticated decorations or service doesn’t mean they can’t execute amazing food.I wanted to try out Moochie’s because of its reputation. I’m now wishing that I had realized that they haven’t won any awards from any outfit in the last eight years for good reason.
We entered Moochie’s and quickly took note that it’s indeed a complete hole in the wall, with six or so booths in the main building and about six free-standing old 50′s- looking cafe tables that surrounded the raised open kitchen. The place isn’t the most pristine, but for what it is, they kept it decent. I was amused by the artwork on the wall, like the Mona Lisa with meatballs.
There weren’t any servers, but it seemed like I was a bother to the cashier when I asked a number of questions about the most popular dishes and how big and filling the portion sizes were. There was a feeling that the staff’s job was to get the order, make the food, call you when it’s done and do a sweep through the dining room every once in awhile: that’s it. All the employees had a lack of pride, except for maybe the dude cleaning the tables who was friendly and asked us and the other customers how the food was.
It was go-time. My guest and I ordered the large meatball sandwich, but we made different side and dessert choices, which included zappy potato salad, bread-pudding and a brownie.
The meatball sandwich came wrapped in foil and wrapped again in paper. It was really unnecessary that we were asked if we were going to dine in or take out, because either way the sandwich came double wrapped – attempting to keep all the marinara sauce from the sandwich from dripping out. The sandwich was about a foot long and had about five meatballs inside. There was plenty of marinara sauce, which made my guest happy. It made me cringe at how soggy the bread became. We used a lot of napkins. Along with the marinara we found a disappointing layer of provolone cheese. The sandwich could have benefited more cheese!
The zappy potato salad came in a small plastic cup. It looked kind of like a sludge, more liquified than chunky. But it was tangy and almost a little spicy, which crazy as it seems, my guest liked.
The brownie came wrapped in plastic wrap. All in all, it was dry and my guest wasn’t impressed. The bread pudding had almost the same consistency as the zappy potato salad and a bunch of canned whipped cream topped by the plastic lid – it was strange. Dang, we should have tried their baklava instead. On second thought – why was there baklava there? Nope, we should have gone for one of those hard to find Philly original, Tastykakes, that look like something from Little Debbies or Hostess all wrapped up in cellophane. They probably have a longer shelf life than a Twinkie; certainly a longer life than the brownie.
After finishing my sandwich, I wanted to go wash my hands and was informed that the bathrooms were in the next building. I didn’t realize that there was an “overflow” building, but upon approaching it I nervously walked into the space, which felt eerie because nobody else was in there occupying any seats. I entered the bathroom cautiously and there it was – a bathtub full of dirt and various plants. I thought to myself, “well isn’t this magical?” I had a chuckle and then decided it was time to go.
Anyone can make these dishes. But the thing is that Moochie’s might be riding on the coat tails of their previous award exposure, because no way are people going there for the quality of food, but perhaps for the reputation, fame and convenience. The food was bland and boring with a side order of mushiness or sogginess in everything we ordered, minus the dry brownie. I wouldn’t go back even for hangover food. I just don’t get the impression that Moochie’s invests in itself. Where’s the passion? The only reason why I would be willing to go back would be to see if Jimmy Hoffa is buried in the bathtub*. However, if disposable forks, cups, containers, soggy or mush food is your thing – then this may be your go to place.
Rating — They should be the next contestant on Kitchen Nightmares