Friday, March 16, 2012

Tacoquest Pittsburgh: Mad Mex

I swore that I wouldn't go back. I didn't want to. I knew that all that there was for me was pain and disappointment. No matter how many times I tried, the result was always the same. When I left, I had to take that familiar walk of shame out onto highland avenue, bloated with indigestion, ethanol emanating from my pores . But I had nowhere else to go. I had to go to Mad Mex. I continue to go there, even though I don't want to. I have an abusive relationship with Mad Mex.

As far as the standard tex-mex fare goes, I think one thing Mad Mex really nails is that perfect combination of sour cream and salsa [/sarcasm]. Their exectutive chef must have been a highschool cafeteria lady at one point. It's boring, and slightly too expensive. When you take a concept like tex-mex fusion, you have a lot of room to do some really creative things like putting something other than sour cream and salsa on your tacos. Mad Mex just drops the ball. They load their burritos with so much rice that you can't taste anything.

This is what the tacos look like

This is what the tacos taste like

Like any abusive relationship, I try to convince myself to ignore the bad, and emphasize whatever few good qualities exist. While Mad Mex's main offerings (tacos, burritos, enchiladas) are categorically disappointing to me, I've eaten there enough times to find some gems.  The "Pennsyltucky Tofu" is a cheap appetizer consisting of fried tofu, sprouts, sweet soy, cilantro and peanuts. It's simple, but completely satisfying. Mad Mex's wing sauces, for the most part, are pretty great, and seitan wings are available for vegetarians or people who don't want to eat two pounds of chicken. The beer selection is always very good, and the cocktails are adequate.

As a place for to get tacos or any of the taco's delicious cousins, Mad Mex is not good. When you take into account other factors like the bar, friendliness of the staff, and good happy hour specials, Mad Mex is a pretty good place. If you're hanging out with me and you hear me fart, I swear it wasn't Mad Mex. I walked into a door.

Rating: two and a half beardholes out of four