Friday, August 17, 2012

Chef Mo delivers incredible Latin inspired cuisine


During his childhood in Mexico City, Mauricio Abreu found respite from his four older siblings' shenanigans in his mother's kitchen. There, he absorbed the Latin culinary traditions that would later become the backbone of his restaurant's menu. Though he planned for a career as a graphic specialist, Mauricio's steady transformation into Chef Mo was as fortunate as it was fortuitous.
Dining Room
As a young adult, he moved to the United States working in the printing business but also worked in a restaurant kitchen as a dishwasher for extra money.  With assistance from a charitable employer, Abreu registered at Johnson & Wales University.  He eventually opened four restaurants in Des Moines, Iowa for his employer.  In 2001, Chef Mo moved to Asheville to work for Rezaz, later opening his own place, Chef in Motion, in 2004.  He opened Chef Mo’s Restaurant & Bar in the last year with simple Latin inspired comfort food as his focus.
Bread is soft and delicious offered with roasted garlic in olive oil
Mo crafts many of the platters and all of the desserts himself, labeling his signature additions as "Mo-made." He is also found in the dining room regularly to converse with guests and ensure each has a delightful experience.  His creative fusion of Latin flavors with traditional Italian, French, and American dishes has coupled with the spot's friendly atmosphere to earn two OpenTable Diners' Choice awards: Good for Groups and Neighborhood Gem.
Enpanadas al Pipian
ENPANADAS AL PIPIAN ($8.) STUFFED WITH ZUCCCINI BLOSSOMS, POBLANO PEPPERS, ONION, GOAT CHEESE

This was a favorite for my wife.  A perfect blend of flavors and texture that excites the palate.  Two enpanadas come with the plate so order a couple apps and share.

Spinach & Artichoke Fusion
SPINACH & ARTICHOKE FUSION ($7) RICHLY BLENDED FONTINA, RICOTTA & CREAM CHEESE, CRUSTINI

This is a large portion and I honestly thought we wouldn’t eat it all so we wouldn’t stuff ourselves.  Nope.  We polished off the entire order and loved every bite.  I have never had spinach and artichoke that tasted as scrumptious as this one.

Braised Lamb Shank
BRAISED LAMB SHANK ($18) CLASSIC RISOTTO, ACHIOTE SAUCE, GREMOLATA

I don’t often order lamb unless I know the Chef understands how to cook it.  Chef Mo knocked it out of the ballpark.  Phenomenal flavor.  I devoured every bite without a second thought.

The wine list is small but offers variety of items that pair beautifully with the menu.  We started with the Las Lilas Vinho Verde Rose from Portugal ($6./glass).  While it offers a gorgeous dark pink hue and floral nose.  It was a little lighter on the palate but the strawberry and floral notes were perfect for us.

I ordered the Spanish Tapena Tempranillo ($6./glass) for my wife which she loved.  While the price is low you still get your money’s worth.  Velvety fruit with violet, rose and cherry that is gratifyingly married together.

For me I chose the Spanish Tarima Monastrell ($9./glass) that offered darker fruit, a little more alcohol and polished tannins.  A great alternative to the Cabernet drinkers out there.

Chef Mo takes the time in the kitchen to prepare food well.  That makes the difference in what comes to you at the table.  Food prepared well.  Take the time to visit Chef Mo and find out for yourself why it’s a good thing for us that he left the printing business!

Contact Information
Chef Mo’s Restaurant & Bar
(828) 274.3533
900 Hendersonville Road, Suite #201
Asheville, NC 28803

Chef Mo's Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

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