Jan 20 2011

Malo – Downtown

This evening my friend Amanda and I took a detour from the Silverlake Mexican restaurant Malo and decided to try their new downtown location Mas Malo.

The original Silverlake Malo opened in 2003 and the Downtown Malo opened just a few weeks ago. The building is really cool! The restaurant is tucked into an old jewelry store on the first floor that dates back to the 1920′s.

It’s a little loud inside, Amanda and I were there around 6:45 on a Wednesday, The floor level was about half full and it was pretty noisy. They have a smaller seating area up stairs, I didn’t venture up there to see how crowded it was. Lets call the atmosphere “lively”.

Malo uses seasonal locally sourced ingredients in both food and drink and their bar boasts over 300 tequilas and 20 mezcals. I didn’t know what mezcal was so I’m going to take a stab that a few of you don’t know either. Mezcal, is distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant (a form of agave)

I usually don’t order cocktails because I’m allergic to alcohol (a tragedy to be sure) but the Malo cocktails always sound so yummy, I had to give in tonight and order the “Angelina”. It’s made from Gran Centenario Resposado Tequila, hibiscus, fresh limejuice, and is rimmed with chili salt.

I was most excited about the chili salt rim and it was actually pretty spicy, so good! The lime gave it a wonderful freshness, and the hibiscus just a touch of sweet.

Amanda usually orders the Spicy Cucumber Margarita when we go to Malo, but the muddled chili they used to put in it has been replaced with Tapatio. She said it’s not as good as it used to be so tonight she ordered the Pinata Smash. The Pinata Smash has El Jimador Reposado, serrano chili, cilantro, pineapple, and house made sour. I thought the pinapple might make it to sweet but the cocktail came together with a wonderful balance. I love anything with cilantro and chili. Next time I’ll order that…or have someone else order it and take a few sips ;-)

For dinner Amanda and I shared the chips with Burnt habanero & crème salsa then each got an order of Ground beef and pickle tacos.

We both LOVE the habanaro & crème salsa. It’s more of a cream then a chunky traditional salsa but who cares, and man is it spicy! My perfect spice amount is right at the point where your mouth starts to burn, but you can still taste the flavor of whatever you are eating, in this case the salsa. We both also pile it on our tacos.

Lets hearken back to the days of your…or maybe just 4 years ago (your choice). My first visit to Malo. Amanda had suggested we go, and on the car ride there she mentioned these AMAZING ground beef and pickle tacos. I’m pretty sure I nodded not really believing her, because ground beef…and pickles?? I was imagining some gross take on a hamburger. Anyway, we got there and I ordered them anyway because Amanda knows what I like. I’m so glad I did. I love LOVE these tacos. Not much to them – ground beef, pickles, a little cheese on top of the hard shell. But SO good. They’ve come to be a sort of comfort food for me. Because I live in Orange, I can’t pop up to LA whenever I want tacos so I made up my own beef and pickle taco recipe to enjoy at home. Not the same as these to be sure, but close.

I haven’t been floored by any of the side dishes, I’d venture to say you could do without sides and just order chips and salsa to go with your entrée.

The new Malo (Mas Malo) is cool. The building is really neat but I will say the restaurant has a totally different vibe then the Silverlake location. The Silverlake Malo, is darker, and feels a little more hip (if you are into the hip sort of thing). Both locations serve up good food and great ambiance.

If you are in the LA area and want to go to a cool Mexican restaurant with good tacos, Malo just might be the place.

Malo also offers Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Happy Hour at Malo is 5p-7p Monday thru Friday. Taco night is on Mondays (Specials from the bar – Sangria, Margaritas) and an assortment of Tacos from $1.00 – $5.00

Malo offers reservations via Open Table, I’d highly recommend it if you plan on going to the Silverlake location.

Malo can be found at these 2 locations:

Malo Restaurant – Silverlake
4326 W Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles Ca 90029

Mas Malo Restaurant – Downtown
515 W. 7th Street – 1st Floor
Los Angeles Ca 90014

You can follow them on Twitter @MaloRestaurant

They also have a Facebook page.