Tag Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery: Good Lunch, Slow Service

If you’re in a hurry, do not try Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery.

Situated just north of fourth south on Main Street in Salt Lake City, Maxwell’s is an obvious stop for the downtown crowd. Occupying the corner of the building, Maxwell’s is lots of polished wood, a central bar, large televisions, and high stools. It’s an attractive place, and, in retrospect, the food was pretty good, too.

Just don’t come in a hurry.

We hit Maxwell’s for lunch, and when the waitress offered, within a minute of our arrival, we jumped at the lunch special–our choice of one of four types of salads and one of four types of sandwiches. For just $5.

Nice deal, eh?

It is. If you can get your food in less than 45 minutes, which we did not. To boot, as we waited, we watched our waitress approach and try to hand us our check…before we had been served our food.

Awkward moment, to say the least.

On to the food. I order a Caesar salad and a chicken parmigiano sandwich. The sandwich was a tender piece of chicken parmigiano with a marinara sauce on sliced Italian bread toasted in butter. It was tasty, and not too large, either.

The Caesar salad was a good side, drenched in dressing, and added a god green to the menu.

Final analysis? Good food, less than average service. I’ll go back at least once more to try their pizza, though. I’ve heard great things.

Service: 5/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Food: 15/20
Parking: 5/10
Eat-ability Quotient (an average of scores):  6.4/10

Check out my other restaurant reviews here. If you have a restaurant you’d like me to try out, please contact me by sending an email to SLCWeekendReviews@gmail.com.

Maxwell's East Coast Eatery on Urbanspoon

Chunga’s: Good Mexican Food, Just Outside of Downtown

The great thing about finding good Mexican food off the beaten path is that you don’t have to wait in line. Walk right up, place your order, and find a seat. Five minutes later, you’re enjoying your enchiladas, heaps of beans and rice, washed down by your favorite soft drink.

You can worry about the calories later.

In the meantime, get off the beaten path and head over to Chunga’s and enjoy that good Mexican food.

Over in Rose Park on 900 West, Chunga’s doesn’t look like much. More than meets the eye, though, and it’s worth checking out. The menu is simple, but looks written for a mixed clientage of native Spanish speakers and local gringos. I ordered my standard enchiladas with rice and beans.

While we waited, we were treated to restaurant style chips and salsa, the kind that you can’t stop eating. At most Mexican restaurants, the chips are long gone, along with my appetite, before the food arrives. Today, though, my order arrived before I could down more than  three or for chips.

And how were the enchiladas? Let me put it this way: not only did I finish them, but I also finished the rice and black beans that came with, as well as the pre-meal chips. It wasn’t quite Red Iguana, but Chunga’s certainly proved itself worthy of a drive away from the usual haunts in Downtown.

Last point: if it’s warm enough, don’t miss the chance to sit outside. There’s a lot more room outside in the patio area on the north of the building than there is inside. Might as well take advantage of it.

Service: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10 (none, really. )
Food: 18/20
Parking: 6.5/10
Eat-ability Quotient (an average of scores):  7.9/10

Check out my other restaurant reviews here. If you have a restaurant you’d like me to try out, please contact me by sending an email to SLCWeekendReviews@gmail.com.

Chunga's on Urbanspoon

Firehouse BBQ: They Have a Real BBQ

If you’re going to go out for BBQ, you might as well go get it right off the barbecue.


I have no idea how I found it, but Firehouse BBQ puts the fire, and the BBQ, back into…well, you get the point.

While my friend and I are sitting there examining and enjoying the sweet and satisfying pulled  pork and beef brisket sandwiches, I look out the window and see our patron pulling out his bbq, a big steam engine looking thing, complete with smoke piping out of the top.


And the food wasn’t too bad, either. Try it out. It’s simple, a moderately large portion, and a good break from the fast food grind.

Service: 8/10
Atmosphere: 6/10 (nothing special, but check out the woodwork in the floor…)
Food: 13/20
Parking: 7/10
Eat-ability Quotient (an average of scores):  6.8/10

Check out my other restaurant reviews here. If you have a restaurant you’d like me to try out, please contact me by sending an email to SLCWeekendReviews@gmail.com.

Firehouse BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Crown Burger: The King of Second South

On the one hand, there are a lot of burger joints out there, and it takes a bit to rise above the pack. On the other hand, how hard is it to mess up ground beef?

Well, I’ll let you answer that latter one for yourself, because I think it’s clear that there are still places that mess up ground beef.

Crown Burger, though, manages to not mess it up, at least not too badly. The fact that I had to wait in line to order must say something, at least about popular demand.

That said, I have little to say. The toppings were fresher than most and lettuce shredded beats lettuce whole, and the bun sure beats  the dry thing Wendy’s they put meat between. By a mile. It’s good enough  for a lunch, but probably overpriced (two combos cost me almost $18). The fries are hefty, somewhere between steak fries and burger fries, and are, like the burger, sufficient.

The last point in Crown’s favor is that it is, if nothing else, consistent. Every burger you order is the same.

Service: 5/10 (because I had to wait on myself)
Atmosphere: 5/10 (atmosphere? Conversations near crowd levels)
Food: 13/20 (gets a double weighting because it matters more)
Parking: 7/10 (surprisingly full parking lot, ya know, but still parking was fine)
Eat-ability Quotient (an average of scores):  6/10
Crown Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Layla Mediterranean Grill and Mezze: “Got me on my knees…”

Not just a great Eric Clapton song. It’s also a great place in Holladay for your next dinner reservations: Layla Mediterranean Grill and Mezze.

And I do mean reservations. It only took me once to learn the lesson, and the second time, a good friend of the owner saved me when I forgot to get reservations, again (and proved the adage–it’s not who you know, but who knows you…). He called in for me at 5:30 PM on my anniversary, and we were seated by 6.

In my defense, I had planned on going somewhere else, but my boss insisted that Layla was the best place for the occasion. After eating there that night, I tend to agree.

Coming in from the hot summer sun, the soft lighting, tile floors, and cool air was a welcome relief. The room was comfortable, but not tight, and full of patrons. After eating, I could tell why, as well as the need for reservations.

We started out with an assortment of appetizers: kibbeh, stuffed grape leaves, and tabbouleh. The kibbeh was crispy and just spiced enough to taste exotic. The stuffed grape leaves were among the best I’ve had, and the tabbouleh provided a light tasting bit of contrast to the slightly heavier kibbeh.

For our main courses, I ordered chicken curry, which was served over vermicelli rice, and My Better-half had the mougrabieh, a soupy dish that is described on the menu as “Lebanese pearl couscous topped tender chicken, pearl onions, chick peas, and exotic spices.” Both arrived piping hot.

The chicken curry was good, but slightly on the bland side. Given that it is a curry dish, I expected a slightly heavier punch. However, I finished it off, and gladly. It was a good recipe, and I’d probably be glad to eat it again.

The mougrabieh was also delicious, and perhaps a good dish for the adventurous eater. My Better-half enjoyed it, taking the left overs home for a warm lunch the next day.

The service was great, our glasses were always full, and the meal was great experience. If you haven’t had a chance, take trip over to Layla, and see if you don’t agree.

Just don’t forget to make reservations in advance.

(All pictures are from the Layla website where you can find the full menu, restaurant story, and join their email update list)

Check out my other restaurant reviews here. If you have a restaurant you’d like me to review, please contact me by sending an email to SLCWeekendReviews@gmail.com.

Layla Grill and Mezze on Urbanspoon