We got to Mad Mex on a Friday night, and the place was buzzing. The bar was packed wall-to-wall with people trying to forget their work week; huge margaritas were being served by the bartenders along with Coronas, Dos Equis, and other Mexican-drink concoctions. Finally, we were able to steal a seat at the far end of the bar. As we waited for the waitress, the restaurant continued to fill up- Mad Mex is obviously a popular destination during the weekends. My dinner guest and I ordered Coronas (with limes of course) and looked over the menu. The appetizers all looked good; Guacamole and Chips ($5.50), Nachos Grande, (chips, jack cheese, jalapeno peppers, black beans, sour cream, salsa and guacamole $7.50). You can add chicken, steak or taco beef for $1.95. Also available, Potato Taquitos; (mashed potatoes, black beans and jack cheese $5.00), and Shrimp and Fun Guy Taquitos; (sautéed shrimp, portobellas, and red peppers $6.00) Finally, our Coronas arrived. The bottles were ice cold as we squeezed the lime in the beer. The first sip of a Corona is always the best- it’s crisp and not to hoppy; the lime adds a magic taste to the cervesa making it refreshing and fulfilling. Nachos and guacamole would be our appetizer. A basket of chips and mashed avocados arrived. Eagerly, we dipped the salty homemade chips into the guacamole and smiled; a perfect combination to go with our ice cold beers. This was good guac., the avocados that were used to make the dip were oily, not watery; very important when making this dish. There was a hint of lime juice and just enough salt and pepper.
The hostess informed us that our table was ready, and showed us to our booth. The dining room and bar are similarly decorated. There are many oranges and red colors on the walls creating a warm atmosphere. The walls are decorated with Mexican masks and murals. The lighting is extremely dim; we had a hard time reading the menu. Our booth was comfortable and intimate, allowing us to have a nice, private conversation. Mad Mex has a myriad of choices on the menu. There are Burritos, Enchiladas, Chimichangas (deep fried burrito), Enchiladas, Tacos, and Fajitas. Any of the following can be ordered with chicken, beef, pork or shrimp. If you want to try a few different items, you can do that as well. Let’s say you want a Chicken Enchilada, Beef Taco, and Shrimp Tacos-no problem. Also, you get to choose between white, or whole wheat tortillas. Most combinations come with Mexican rice, beans and jack cheese. I opted for the Carnitas Burrito ($9.50), or the Notorious P.I.G.- slow roasted pork with sweet garlic, cilantro, blue cornbread and pico de gallo (defn. a fresh uncooked condiment made with tomatoes, onions and sometimes chiles). The pork was juicy and tender with just enough cilantro. The blue corn bread was moist and chewy; a nice accompaniment to the pork. My dinner mate opted for the steak fajitas ($14.50). The fajitas arrived sizzling and hot with warm flour tortillas. We made a few soft tacos with the tender meat; delicious.
We were too full for dessert, but heard good things about the ice cream burrito with cinnamon-sugar and drizzled with honey.
If you consider Taco Bell to be good ethnic cuisine, give Mad Mex a try, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.Mad Mex Monroeville
4055 Monroeville Boulevard
Monroeville, PA 15146-2522