This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Salt Lake diners have always been fascinated by mole. They seek it out with laserlike focus, then compare and contrast the merits with voices (and forks) raised. Recently, La Casa del Mole, a new mole contender, has joined the scene in Cottonwood Heights.
Mole (pronounced MOH-lay) is a generic term for any number of sauces originally used in Mexican cuisine. They all contain chile peppers, but can vary from sweet to sour to spicy depending on what other ingredients are added. Fruit, chocolate, spices and nuts, for thickening, are the most common. But traditional moles can have 20 or more ingredients, which gives them complex flavors and spice levels and leads to those heated discussions.
At La Casa del Mole, try an order of the Holy Mole Enchiladas ($14.99) featuring three types of mole. Although the menu suggests all chicken enchiladas, we requested one each of the chicken, beef and pork paired with the mole the kitchen felt most appropriate.
While wowed by the white chocolate mole, we found the fruity mole xico too sweet and the red mole wholly unremarkable.
The mole blanco (listed as mole of the bride) was spotlighted in the alambres con mole de novia ($16.99), which left us sweating and salivating for more. The entrée featured tender top sirloin sautéed with bacon-laced jalapeños and onions, topped with a nutty, creamy mole and garnished with fresh avocados. Warm, housemade flour tortillas, served in an embroidered cloth napkin, helped us enjoy every drop of this perfectly balanced mole.
The guacamole an unassuming avocado mole sauceis plentiful at La Casa del Mole. Simple and fresh, it is studded with just a few diced onions and tomatoes, bringing out the creaminess of the fruit, with just the right amount of salt and lime. La Casa del Mole's guacamole is available as a generous appetizer ($9.99) served with thick and crispy tortilla chips. It also garnished an order of dried chile guajillo-seasoned tacos al pastor ($9.99). Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save the overly dry pork slices in their small flour tortillas.
Similarly, the naked white fish taco delivered as part of the seafood combo plate ($16.99) was lacking in moisture and sauce. Fortunately, the accompanying shrimp tostada hit every culinary high note with plump grilled shrimp, fresh avocado slices, a drizzle of cool crema and crispy shell crunch. A crab-filled enchilada slathered in slightly sweet green tomatillo sauce completed the trio.
Less successful was the egg-battered chile relleno ($10.99), a poblano pepper stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and covered in bland tomato sauce reminiscent of a store-bought sauce without discernible flavor. Yet the sides refried beans and rice were filling.
A basket of chips with creamy bean dip and salsa verde is complimentary with every meal, which meant I never walked away from La Casa del Mole hungry.
For the less ravenous or price-conscious, try the Monday through Friday daily lunch specials for $6.99 featuring a rotating entrée of burrito, enchilada, tostada or street tacos paired with either rice or beans.
La Casa del Mole doesn't have a liquor license, so guests looking for a cerveza or tequila cocktail will be disappointed. The restaurant does have a variety of fruit-based virgin margaritas ($3.50) . Better yet, try the aguas frescas ($3.50), a healthier way to cool down on a hot summer evening. The refreshing fruit flavor of melon (cantaloupe) and strawberry earned rave reviews around our table.
Overall, prices seem high for Mexican food, but given the Cottonwood Heights neighborhood and the quality ingredients in the moles and avocados La Casa del Mole could become a midvalley favorite for the non-price-conscious diner.
Heather L. King also writes for http://www.slclunches.com and can be found on social media @slclunches
La Casa del Mole
Food • HH
Mood • Hhj
Service • HHhj
Noise • bbm
A menu of Mexican favorites, including mole, arrives fresh from the kitchen six days a week.
Location • 2477 Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights; 801-733-6653 (MOLE)
Online • lacasadelmoleutah.com
Hours • Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Children's menu • No
Prices • $$
Liquor • No
Reservations • No
Takeout • Yes
Wheelchair access • Yes
Outdoor dining • Yes
On-site parking • Yes
Credit cards • All