You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? --Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tw/T Exclusive Review: MAD MEX, Wynnewood, PA

I'm going to keep this review semi-short because I'm still pretty burnt out from writing my lengthy last post on peach cake! This coming Monday (August 11th), famous tex-mex chain "Mad Mex" from Pittsburgh, PA, will officially open a brand new location in our very own Wynnewood shopping center. Last night, I was lucky enough to dine at the restaurant early at the soft opening with my good family friends the Russells (hi George!)!

Arguably the most exciting part of Mad Mex is the decor--the restaurant looks BEAUTIFUL. Decked out in not-too-cheesy Mexican dolls, masks, and pieces of artwork, the restaurant's colors are vibrant, the layout of the restaurant is physically appealing to walk through, and the central bar appeared well-stocked, showcasing colorful bottles and margarita machines extravagantly. Additionally, the restaurant is just spacious. Currently, it has seating for up to 300 people, including what appeared to be multiple sizes of private rooms set apart from the general dining room. Overall, the appearance of the restaurant was incredible; it just looked great.

Addressing drinks and the aforementioned bar, margaritas are churned out by the barrel they should be at any Mexican joint. The menu offers a plethora of flavors, like the three seen below that are (L to R) classic, mango, and peach. The drinks weren't exceptionally strong, but that may be a small issue to be worked out for future dinners. The salt rimmed onto my glass was stylishly dyed blue and the general flavor of the drinks was otherwise superior, disregarding liquor content.

Appetizers were, for the most part, tasty. Guacamole was a tad spicy for my liking, but the habanero-pineapple salsa was deliciously fierce and the tomatillo blend salsa was a perfectly cool medium. All three dips are below.

I also sampled the San Francisco Wings (below) and the Potato Taquitos. The sauce on the wings was sweet and spicy; I could've lapped it up by the bowlful. The wings themselves were fairly average--they had no fry on them (they were just seared/baked) the mark of a good--but not perfect-- wing. Sadly, the Taquitos were forgettable. The texture of the mashed potatoes, cheese, and the tortilla melded together in a less than ideal way.

EntreƩs came out looking great--plating was obviously stressed, with colorful purple radishes and milky white queso fresco galore. I had the Barbacoa Tacos, shown below. The tacos themselves were delicious: the meat was cooked well, the queso fresco blended nicely, and the tortilla was neither tough nor doughy. However, the sides lost me a little bit. Each plate came with a flat square of regular ol' rice and beans. My rice seemed a little overcooked and my beans were just kind of underwhelming. They had no frills, no "wow," they were just black beans. That being said, when I put both with my tacos they still played their parts adequately. Overall, the entreƩ was good--just good.

My mother ordered the Mole Enchilada seen below. The dish tasted fine, again, it was just missing a little bit of the strong flavor expected from a mole. A mole is generally a darker sauce than Mex's, packing a strong chocolate flavor but also hinting at the classic Mexican combination of spicy-sweet through some sort of pepper which counteracts the chocolate. Mex's mole was more of a one note feel--it didn't raise my eyebrows sweetly or spicily and I didn't get enough strong flavors. However, if you aren't expecting a classic mole, the dish is still worth ordering. All the flavors worked together even if they weren't strong enough and the meat was well cooked. Other dishes, like the steak fajitas (farther) below, were also hits with diners.

If you're curled up in a ball wondering if Wynnewood will ever get a good new restaurant at this point--stop worrying! To be clear, most of the problems I've recounted so far are small problems with easy fixes. Adding a few things here and there to jazz up plates, tossing another ounce of liquor into the drinks, etc. Mad Mex showed well for a restaurant still in its pre-opening stage. What's more, it still has some points to win in the dessert category...which it definitely won! Below is the dessert burrito, followed by the brownie sundae. The dessert burrito was as yummy as it was cute and definitely a nice way to end the meal.

As I said, Mad Mex only has a few kinks to work out for it to become a truly great spot. Hopefully all goes well when it opens on Monday. I wish all the best to Mad Mex and I'm sure I'll be back soon to see how things are coming along!

No comments:

Post a Comment