By Cassandra VanKeuren Special to the Herald
Usually I try to find places to review that are somewhat undiscovered. I love the idea that my friends can enjoy a restaurant that is new to them.
Mongo’s Clearview Urban American Grill, however, is not undiscovered. It would seem everyone has already discovered it before me.
My family visited Mongo’s on a recent Friday night.
Mongo’s is casual dining, very casual. The place has bench seats, communal tables and a bit of Southwest flare. The place was already busy by the time we arrived with not even an open table. We wound up sharing a table with a nice couple.
The food is served fast-food style: You go to the counter to order, grabbing your drinks from the cooler. Then they bring the food out to you in to-go boxes with plastic silverware and napkins. At first glance, it’s a little too much like most fast food restaurants. But after looking at the menu and tasting the food, I changed my mind.
The menu offers starters of calamari and bruschetta, salads like skirt steak cobb and cowboy chicken ranch, and sandwiches like filet mignon sliders and New York strip steak.
The restaurant also offers such salmon dishes as blackened salmon and salmon and chips. The Kataifi prawns and Cajun cowboy chicken sandwich are on their signature dish list. Tacos and fish and chips round out the menu.
For drinks they have beer, wine and sodas in the cooler.
I ordered the grilled skirt steak with fries ($12.95) and my husband chose skirt steak tacos ($12.95). My son selected the kid-size fish and chips ($7.95).
Our food came out fast. My steak was lightly seasoned and cut on the bias to combat the somewhat tough nature of the skirt steak. Cut correctly and cooked to a hair over medium, the steak was very tender and delicious.
The fries were plated under the steak so they could soak up all the lovely steak juices. The fries were neither great nor bad, just a filler for the plate.
My dish was also topped with “frizzled” onion, which was very tasty. The steak was served with pico de gallo and coleslaw. I really appreciated the double helping of vegetables, especially after the richness of the steak and fries.
The pico de gallo was particularly tasty with the addition of lime juice. I just wished they had chopped the onions a little smaller; big hunks of raw onion are not my favorite. The coleslaw was also very good. Crisp and flavorful.
My husband’s meal was similar. It still had the skirt steak, pico de gallo and coleslaw but he had rice instead of fries and two large tortillas, and his steak was topped with a chipotle sauce. Also in the to-go basket was jalapeno and cilantro aioli.
When they say taco, they really mean a burrito. The tortillas are far too big to be called a taco. It didn’t really matter though because my husband enjoyed his meal just as much as I enjoyed mine.
I nabbed his aioli for myself because it tasted so good on my fries. Luckily for my husband, the chef came by and brought us another aioli.
My son’s fish and chips were just the right size for him: two pieces of cod served over a bed of fries with homemade tarter sauce on the side.
I tasted the fish and thought it was perfect, crisp and perfectly coated. The batter was slightly on the thick side, which we both liked.
My only gripe is that I wish there was some sort of fruit or vegetable offered. Other than that, the meal was perfect.
Mongo’s is a great place to take your kids after a game or just for a quick dinner out. Even if you have to wait a little while for a table — or share one — it’s well worth it. Or you have the option for take out. We definitely will go back.
6510 Highway 9 SE, Suite 101, Snohomish; 360-668-4433; eatatmongos.com
Specialty: American cuisine
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday.