I finally got to Mario's last week, and I wasn't disappointed as I was with Don Felix during my last visit. What we didn't realize was that Mario's doesn't have alcohol so I asked and they allowed us to bring in our own beers, though with a wink, so I didn't want to be so obvious that we had a 6 pack with us (bought at the liquor store across the street).
Unlike other hounds who talk about the meat dishes at Mario's I thought the fish/seafood dishes were the better part of the meal. We ordered the ceviche de pescado (fish ceviche), papas a la huacaina (potatoes with an egg/cheese sauce, considered a national dish of Peru), the lomo saltado, the jalea (assorted fried fish/seafood), and shrimp fried rice. The sauce on the papa a la huacaina was nice and rich and as good as most that I've had. And the ceviche was a nice suprise with large chunks of fish just marinated enough to give that citrus tang. Only disappointment was there was no chocolo corn (the cobs of the big corn) but regular yellow corn. I was disappointed with the lomo saltado. This was a good version, though I've had better versions in NYC. The jalea was also quite good, but it lacked variety (too much calamari) but well fried. (If you're ever in NYC, get the jalea from Pio Pio in Queens -- it's my current benchmark). The biggest suprise of the night was the fried rice (arroz chaufa con camarones). This wasn't the heavily soy sauced stuff that you find at most Peruvian joints, but more like something you get in good Cantonese banquet halls. Well seasoned, and lots of egg white, and the white color was preserved throughout with flecks of scallion, and generous portions of good quality shrimp. Compared to the fried rice I got at a banquet at Empress Pavilion last week, this fried rice at Mario's was so much better.
The winners were the fried rice and the ceviche. Next time I'll try the saltado de mariscos, which seemed to get a lot of orders while we were there. And the tallarin too.