Finally dragged myself past Mission Cantina and El Chavo to visit Malo tonight, because some people here, unless I remember incorrectly, like it.
I could not have been more disappointed.
Opening impressions: Great room. Sat upstairs in a corner, where it was rockin' but not oppressively loud. I love to make my own chips at home, so I loved the idea of ordering them "to order," and "chewy."
Menu looks great.
Then food started arriving. Chips were not chewy... just not cooked. Absurdly greasy (like, "we need many more napkins" greasy) and approximately the texture of very tender shoe leather.
We thought the 4-variety "salsa flight," at $12, (after paying $4 for the greasy soggy chips!) was overpriced. Really, who charges for salsa? But at four bucks a cup, it should be amazing, right? So we got the two "medium" versions: one a serrano/tomato, which, fresh ingredients aside, was nearly flavorless, and the chile negro/chocolate, which, fresh ingredients aside, tasted like a canned mole sauce. Prolly shoulda gone for the habañero/cream, but there was a sensitive tongue in our group.
Wife ordered lobster tacos: so exciting! But what a horrible thing to do to lobster...crimp it into a tortilla and deep fry it "crispy," a la Jack in the Box? But, I kid you not, Jack in the Box does it better: These came out greasy, GREASY. Greasier than the chips. Another round of napkins please! (And mind you, I like both deep fried things AND grease). The lobster filling was rubbery, bland, and tasted off. Just a horrible idea, horribly executed. I will also point out that Jack's tacos are 99¢ for two. These (lobster, really?) tacos are $12 a pair.
I had the Al Pastor, which had nothing to do with actual Al Pastor. It was Carnitas, tossed in a skillet with some BBQ sauce. It was dry, bland, and, worst of all when served in an iron skillet: lukewarm. At best. Got some watery pinto beans on the side. And some elote "Silverlake" corn on the cob.... just smothered in goop (cheese, crema, whatever), disguising overcooked, watery corn. Much better at Pinches.
Margaritas? Small; expensive; fussy; weak.
I wanted to love it, but at the end of the evening there was NOTHING on the table that I liked. (Not exactly true... the guacamole was not-ruined. Neither was the Sour Cream.)
If "Mas Malo" downtown is mas of this? Count me out.
Seriously, Mission Cantina, just up Sunset, does the same idea with infinitely better results. And the (much better) chips and salsas are free.