El Gran Malo has been on my list since it’s been hitting the twitter rounds, the idea of infused tequila piqued my interests however my late night run ins with the likes of patron and don julio had be scrambling for the nearest fernet branca or campari based drink.
When we arrived at El Gran Malo the parking situation was horrible, while the valet parking was complimentary, the surrounding areas were all blocked off and we had to navigate the adjacent parking lot to secure our cars. Walking up, the patio was completely full of life, a great sign for me. Walking into the main dining area, there was no one to greet us at the door or take us to a seat. Somewhat confusing and slow at first, we sat down at a 10 person table in the main dining room and waited for a waitress to come to our table while another person sorted out the water situation.
What originally started as a dinner for my girlfriend and I spun into a group dinner with 7 more friends joining the party. Luckily this made it easy to try more on the menu. A quick look over the menu and we decided to order a bulk of the menu. We started off by ordering some infused tequilas, pineapple, strawberry and watermelon with a few tequila cocktails thrown in the mix. As far as food, we essentially ordered the entire menu:
– Guacamole (Avocado, Tomato, Onion, Lime, Cilantro)
– Queso (Roasted Chilies, Oregano, Charred Tomato, House Made Tortilla Chips, Ground Beef)
– Quesadillas (Oaxaca Cheese, Poblano Tajas, Zucchini, Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa, Crema Fresca, Nopales)
– Diablos A Caballo (Jalapeno, Gorgonzola, Goat Cheese, Bacon, Melon Gastrique)
– Tamale Al Chipotle (Chicken Tinga, Steamed Corn Masa, sweet Chili Chipotle Sauce, Crema Fresca, Avocado)
– Empanadas (Smashed Plantain, Black Beans ,Poblanos, Cotija Cheese, Crab)
– Ceviche (Gulf Snapper, Lime Juice, Chili Serrano, Cilantro, Cucumber, Onion, Jicama, Aju Amarillo, House Made Tortilla Chips)
– Tortilla Soup
– Snapper Taco (Seared, Pomegranate Salsa, Shaved Cabbage, Serrano, Micro Cilantro)
– Camarones Taco (Herb Marinated, Picled Carrot, Shaved Cabbage, Jicama, Pineapple Glaze)
– Carnitas Taco (Victoria Marinated Pork, Pineapple Glazed, Charred Scallions, Cilantro, Red Onion)
– Pork Belly Taco (Mexican CocaCola and Lime Braised, Roasted, Peanuts, Pickled Red Onions, Local Bibb Lettuce)
– The Burger aka Torta (100% Black Angus Beef, LTO, Pepper Jack, Poblano, Crema Fresca)
++ Fried Egg
++ Pork Belly
The standout from the small bites section were the empanadas with the diablos a caballo a close second for me. The crust was flaky with a nice mixture of plantain and cheese which, probably the best single bite of the night. The jalapenos, when cut burst with cheese that masked a nice hidden spiciness that came out the moment you swallowed. I had a 5 taco basket of the 5 tacos above, I probably wouldn’t order the Snapper and Camarones which were both surprisingly dry as compared to the pork belly, chicharrone and carnitas tacos. The toppings on all the tacos worked well in all cases but I’d personally go for the Pork Belly Taco time and time again. Cyrus, Mo and Eric all had the burger torta with mixed reviews happening all across the board. Cyrus didn’t enjoy it while Mo said it countered my current favorite burger at Hubcap down the street. I’m sure Eric will chime in with his thoughts soon.
I’m definitely looking forward to coming back for more food.
3/5: Slow and Confusing start leads to some great Tequila, Empanadas and Tacos