Had we bothered to look around the neighborhood before we asked to be seated at an outdoor table at this authentic looking Irish pub, we might have looked elsewhere for lunch. Next door to Mo’s Irish pub is Mo’s Cucina. Across the Street is Mo’s Steak House, and on the opposite corner is MOcha – Mo’s coffee shop. Mo apparently can’t make up his mind what nationality – or what specialty – he is. I later found out there is also a MOcean – Mo’s seafood place. He’s a busy guy.
Having already been seated and glanced at the very authentic looking menu, we decided to stay and enjoy downtown Milwaukee’s street life with our curbside table. The host, a super nice guy, seated us and immediately moved away a chair that was at the shadiest part of the table so I could pull the stroller with the sleeping Granuaile into the shady spot. Withing minutes of sitting down, a friendly waitress came to take our drink orders, and seconds later, we had glasses of soda and iced tea.
The host, again a super nice guy, I wish I had gotten his name to share it with you, came over to explain to me how they could adjust some of the meals to suit Eilis, as there is no children’s menu. He suggested some changes to the grilled cheese sandwich and the club sandwich to make them more kid friendly, and suggested substituting the chicken soup for the tomato soup as a side with another dish. He was really helpful.
The soup of the day is an Irish staple – Italian Wedding Soup. I’m tempted to order it, but we’re in an Irish pub, and I think maybe they must have to share the soup of the day among all of the Mo’s restaurants at this location, and today it’s Mo’s Cucina’s day to supply the soup. I decided on the shepherd’s pie, after debating how much I would eat and figuring this a safer bet than the salmon, which also called out to me. Eilis ordered the Pub Burger with cheese, and Brighid, after hearing about the grilled cheese sandwich and how it could be altered, opted for the sandwich without tomato and a side of the chicken dumpling soup.
It really was a pleasant afternoon for an outdoor lunch, and we had just enough time to sip our drinks a bit and soak up some of the atmosphere and our food came. The Shepherd’s pie is served in it’s own black kettle, piping hot, with a mound of crispy topped garlic mashed potatoes. The pie itself was a bit of a departure from the shepherd’s pie I grew up with, having all Irish grandparents. I am used to more of a firm, with a little gravy, pie made from ground lamb or beef. This was more of a beef stew – a tender, savory stew type beef in a stew type gravy, cooked with peas and carrots. The flavors were very good – but it was beef stew, not really shepherd’s pie.
Eilis’ pub burger was huge – a 1/2 pound burger, cooked to well done perfection (I always order the kids’ meats cooked well done). It came with a crisp slice of purple onion, tomato, a pickle spear, and a beautiful piece of lettuce – green, healthy, crunchy, and fresh, as opposed to some of the limp, brown, sorta white with green edges lettuce you sometimes get. There was a nice pile of french fries with it as well, and a really nice bun – sturdy and tasty.
Brighid’s sandwich was a 3 cheese grilled cheese – American, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, wrapped around pieces of bacon, and topped with avocado. It was served on a thickly sliced sourdough bread, and was nicely grilled. It came with a tomato soup, but Brighid asked to substitute the chicken and dumpling soup, which they happily obliged. Brighid declared the soup “really good”, although I would have liked for them to skim a little more of the oil off the top. The chicken broth was light in color, and there was a bit of a spice to the soup. There were nice chunks of chicken in the broth and small dumplings.
We were too full to order dessert – even though the selections were tempting. Our drinks were refilled without request, and our waitress came by often to check on us and see if we needed anything else. She was quick to bring things back to our table – ketchup and artificial sweetner for the iced tea – and when we asked for boxes, she whisked away our leftovers and returned them promptly wrapped to go.
The lunch bill came to $28.55 – not bad for a big lunch in downtown – but she did not charge us for the drinks, so factor in a few dollars more for the drinks. I had not noticed the error until I sat down to write the review, otherwise, I would have brought it to her attention.
Overall, the whole lunch was really nice. We felt like we were well attended to, had a good meal, and enjoyed the atmosphere. We might be tempted next trip to visit another of Mo’s fine – if confused – establishments!