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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mas Malo: Hold the Ceviche and Guac Fries, Good for After-Work Cocteles

I've never eaten at Malo, but checked out Mas Malo, which is an offshoot and wasn't blown away. The space was gorgeous, similar in vibe and decor to Bottega Louie down the street. The service was appalling and most importantly, the food was average.

Ok, the carne asada and al pastor tacos (had to specify "soft tacos" as opposed to hard ones -- who in her right mind gets hard tacos these days? Ok, I won't judge or hate.) were actually good and one of the spicier salsas was the saving grace. But overall, I'd say it's more of a happy hour-kind of place than it is a fantastic eating experience.

The shrimp and seafood ceviche on tostadas was just a notch above average. The seafood tasted fresh enough but there wasn't too much flavor there.

There were a few salsas and I must say I'm not a huge fan of pico de gallo. I'm a roasted salsa-kind of person who likes her salsa smoky with bits of black roasted pepper and tomato bits floating -- although I know they are carcinogenic and I should reduce my consumption but they're so darn good... One of the spicier roasted salsas was interesting but not quite at the excellent level.

The guacamole fries held so much promise on the menu but alas, the guac was bland and the cheese sprinkled with some cotija-type cheese was the only flavor I could detect.

I looked up the menu online and it looks like it doesn't offer the ceviche or fries anymore, unless it's not publishing its happy hour menu. If it discontinued them, it may be good news as they needed to go or get some flavor infused. Guac fries was a great concept but it failed in its execution. Of course, that didn't stop me from eating the fries, which were decently fried but I dipped them in the salsa out of desperation for some semblance of flavor.

The desserts weren't all that impressive either. The churros weren't as good as the ones I had at Ortega 120, which had crispy, airy churros accompanied by the gooeiest (not sure this word exists but whatever), most intense chocolate sauce. These were just meh.

The drinks were interesting, using different kinds of tequila and mixing it with hibiscus. Given I'm virtually addicted to jamaica, it was a great pairing. I had The Senorita, that doesn't come with salt on the rim.

It's worth a trip just to see the amazing space. I would return to try other cocktails but not before it stops charging for chips and salsa, which is like charging for kimchi or bread and butter -- OUTRAGEOUS!

Park in the lot behind Bottega, which is like $3 after 6pm or something so it's reasonable and walkable.

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