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Murray’s Morelia friendly, generous, efficient

Many of eatery’s Mexican offerings are simply superb

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We went Mexican this week. You probably already know about this one, though. It's been around for a while and seems to have gotten a lot of attention over the years. It was recommended to me as the best in Salt Lake. Best in Salt Lake? We'll see. I consider statements like that a challenge, since I'm kind of tough to please.

I'm talking about Restaurant Morelia in Murray.

Heard of it? Great. Then you'll at least agree they've got the best chile verde in the world. Just the right kick, tender chunks of pork, perfect consistency. Ay chihuahua!

Larry Miller seems to have heard of it. They've got a platter named after him.

Well, if you haven't heard of it, don't sweat it. Hey, it took me this long to get there. And though I went on a challenge, I would go back again. That's partly because Morelia's makes it so darn easy to take your family. The kids platters are generous and cheap. There's more food and more nutrition than any Happy Combo your local drive-thru can churn out.

They also serve your order fast enough that even if your crew is stark-raving mad with hunger, they'll make it 'til the plates arrive. And, the servers attend to things that make a huge difference when you're out with kids, such as lidded cups that aren't too tall.

My son had the Panchito Plate, which came with a hefty bean-and-cheese burrito, and beans and rice.

Backing up a little, though, we started with complimentary chips and salsa, and the nachos supreme. Morelia's house-made salsa has a fresh tomato taste, much like a gazpacho. I've said before that I'm a real wimp when it comes to fire, but on the whole I wished Morelia's offerings had more not less, and the salsa is a good example of that.

The nachos supreme is generous and comes melting hot. The cheese, that is. Real cheese. Coating every tortilla chip. With mounds of ground beef, sour cream, beans and guacamole on top. Is your mouth watering yet? I wished there were a little more house-made guacamole, but other than that, this plate was decadent. I heartily recommend it.

I'm a sucker for a good chimichanga, but I like them just the way I like them, if that makes any sense. The chicken filling in mine was flavorful, though it lacked a little kick. The deep-fried tortilla was perfect. I didn't care much for the sour cream and lettuce topping, but overall, the chimi is still worth having.

I nibbled (excessively) on my husband's No. 1 combo platter: one chile relleno (suitably gloppy and tender), one beef taco (a real taco, nothing like the Bell) and the piece de resistance, one chile verde burrito. Put it this way: next time I'll make up my own platter of only chile verde burritos. It was that good.

Be sure to try a margarita. The virgin strawberry is quite zippy. And for dessert, best to pass on the flan, it's too stiff. Better instead to sink your teeth into the generous serving of hot cinnamon-and-sugar-coated churros: You won't regret it.

The dining room isn't huge, but it is very clean and festively decorated. The service my family and I got was efficient and friendly. I felt taken care of. That's a big deal to me.

Best in Salt Lake? I'm not sure just yet.

But now I'll put the challenge on you. Send me your bids for the best Mexican food in town — and be sure to say why. If there's something being done exceptionally well, I want to know about it. Maybe we can put this issue to rest.

Prices for starters range from $1.75-$5.95, specialties and entree platters $4.50-8.75, individual entree selections $1.75-$6, children's plates all $2.85, desserts and specialty drinks $1.25-2.95.


Restaurant Morelia

*** 1/2 (out of five)

Location: 6098 S. State St., 265-8790

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Payment: major credit cards, checks


E-mail: stephanie@desnews.com