*** Update - Mo is back at Homestyle Hawaiian.
*** Mo's Island Grinds has closed
I was just about to do this post last night....when I encountered Internet connectivity problems. I was left hanging and I realized that I've become used to doing posts, and now that I was unable to post I felt kinda lost.....like "what the heck am I going to do now......"
This post is a few months late. Back in November of last year, Mo told me that they were going through with an amicable split with the Da' Kitchen franchise. Mo showed me the updated banner you see on the right. In December, Mo told me that the name change and all of the paperwork was going to be a long process. He wasn't kidding, I'd drop by every so often and Mo would smile, shake his head, and say, "I hope this is done soon...I hope."
So around April of this year all the paperwork had been completed, and viola, you have Mo's Island Grinds.
The sign on the street still says Da' Kitchen, which I'm sure will be updated soon. Of course, everything from the food, to the people, to the menu is the same.
There have been a few items added to the menu, I'm also pleased that since my first post back in December of '05, combination plates have been added.
Of course all the favorites are still available, like the Korean Chicken($7.95):
This sweet-soy-crunchy-mildly spicy, marinated, and deep fried chicken, along with the accompanying sauce is a winna'. Don't take my word for it, here's the Best of LA(aka BoLA) post. In a way, this one dish symbolizes the plate lunch as "melting pot" cuisine. It is called Korean Chicken, but the flavor is an amalgamation of traditional flavors. The batter seems to be Mochiko Flour based, and the sweet and soy sauce combination tips its hat toward a combination of Teriyaki-Soy Sauce-Bulgogi flavors. The dipping sauce here is very good, in fact the Missus will often eschew the Mac Salad, and just get extra shredded cabbage, and use the sauce as a dressing of sorts.
We've only had one not so stellar plate at Da' Kitchen/Mo's. On one Sunday, when Mo wasn't in house, I ordered the Korean Chicken.
Though the chicken was nice and crunchy, it was very light, and had not been marinated long enough. It was very bland. But of all my visits, this was the only time the Korean Chicken was not up to par.
Nowadays, I often get various combination plates. I usually can't finish them, but leftovers are a great thing, aren't they? Here's a Teri Chicken - Chicken Katsu combo plate($8.95):
I've come to the conclusion that my photos don't do the size of these plates justice. The "two scoop rice" is placed one on top of the other, and there were 4 pieces of well marinated boneless chicken thighs. The teriyaki is on the sweeter side, but I still enjoyed it. I always enjoy the Chicken Katsu.
In the theme of the world on a plate, here's the Kalua Pork-Chicken Katsu Combo plate:
There's the Chicken Katsu(Japanese), the mildly smoky and moist Kalua Pork(Hawaiian), and don't forget the Macaroni Salad(Caucasian - aka Haole). Of course, rice is very much a necessity....to the extent that some of my friends back home love Chili-Spaghetti....on rice!
On each of my last few visits, the lines at Mo's has been fairly long, a very good sign that Jocelyn's and Mo's hard work has paid off. They've done it without advertising, mostly by word of mouth....just like "back home". I've always had very friendly service at Mo's, the food may take a while sometimes, but it is always worth the wait.
Mo's Island Grinds (Formerly Da' Kitchen)
9823 Carroll Canyon Rd.
San Diego, CA 92131
Postscript - I've had some interesting questions regarding Plate Lunches, but there is one question that keeps popping up; "Is plate lunch Hawaiian Food?"
Unlike describing someone from Oregon as an Oregonian, "Locals" consider a Hawaiian to be someone of Hawaiian blood. The rest of us are "Locals". Likewise, for me Hawaiian food are items that are traditionally Hawaiian in nature, such as Poi, Lau Lau, Kalua Pig, etc.... So you can have Hawaiian food on a plate lunch, but a plate lunch is not Hawaiian food per se.
Here's an example of a local style menu.
So go get one of these......