515 W. 7th Street - 1st Floor
Los Angeles Ca 90014
After striking out at SugarFish Saturday night, we strolled down 7th Street to check out the newly opened Mas Malo. I was taking C out for a belated birthday dinner and ultimately the venue is less important than the adventure, so we were game. Mas Malo was packed but they got us seated within 10 minutes sans reservation. Nice work! In case you haven't heard, Mas Malo is the downtown offering by the same crew who've provided us Silverlake's Malo all these years. I stop in at Malo a few times a year; for birthdays, happy hour or sometimes when simply strolling by on a Los Angeles walkabout. They're famed for their tequila collection and slightly white washed Mexican food. Never been unhappy with anything at Malo. Pleased to have Mas Malo downtown in a great partying neighborhood, with my house more or less equidistant from both right smack in the middle.
We were digging on our margaritas. We tasted two kinds: on the left is the Spicy Cucumber with Casa Nobles Silver tequila, cucumber, organic lime, agave nectar and Tapatio hot sauce and on the right is the Puro Organico margarita with organic lime, 4 Copas Blanco tequila and agave nectar. Both were outstanding. I will return just for a drink.
Of the menu items we sampled my favorite was the salsa flight. Five kinds of salsa with your choice of crispy or chewy tortilla chips. We requested chewy and they brought us both. In the very top left corner of the photo you can almost see the Chile Negro y Chocolate (mole) salsa then clockwise from top left are a Pico de Gallo, Burnt Habanero y Crema (my favorite), Serrano Chile y Tomato, and Tomatillo. The mole and habanero salsas were both a lot of wow on the tongue. Woot! The tomatillo and chile with tomato nowhere near as hot but I found the tomato salsa to be pleasantly reminiscent of a ranchero sauce. The pico de gallo was fresh and picante!
C and I both ordered the red snapper sauteed in a light brothy sauce. Generously portioned, as you can see. The menu offers sides such as yummy organic vegetarian spanish rice with delicious organic pinto beans as well as organic refried and black beans. The one criticism I have is that the protein on my plate could have been a lot smaller and for less money than what it cost to portion out that massive amount of fish they could easily have plated some rice and beans for almost no cost. Maybe the intent is to eat family style. Next time, C and I decided, we will share a main and a couple of the veggie sides. I am dying to try their Elote 'Echo Park Corn on the Cob'.
I really enjoyed Mas Malo, the food, the drinks. But the stand out hit of the night was far and away the excellent service. This is casual service in a casual restaurant. No one is going to set your place with three sizes of forks, two spoons and two crystal drinking glasses or linen. You might have to ask for extra napkins. But. Every need and whim we had was very well attended to. Our server was adept at handling several small tables and two large (one very) parties at the same time. A bus person checked in with us frequently and even took D's food order when he showed up late. A cocktail runner came by when my drink was almost empty asking if I needed a refill. I said, "No, maybe in five minutes". Literally, in four minutes and fifty-eight seconds she came by again asking if that was the right amount of five minutes. And so it was. I like that every person working at Mas Malo acted like serving us was their job no matter what the task.
Brilliantly done, Mas Malo. Welcome to DTLA.