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South Trenton's Málaga revisited

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Well, it had been about 15 years since the last time we were at Málaga, so we thought, “what the heck?” and so we went.

I’m not sure whether Málaga is technically within the boundaries of historic Chambersburg, but once you walk in you will instantly recognize the ‘Burg feel of the place. We are not talking “fine dining" ambiance, we are talking a crowded, boisterous dining room with many families and large parties (at least on Saturday night) and a strolling guitarist.

It would be fair to say that Málaga is at heart a traditional Chambersburg restaurant, but with the Italian swapped out for Spanish/Portuguese (e.g., rice instead of pasta). Many of the dishes on the menu would be equally at home at a Marsilio’s or a Sal DeForte’s, (under other names, of course).

The wine list is modest and moderately priced, with about half the bottles from Spain. Strangely, they do not list the region (D.O.C.) from which a wine comes nor, in most cases, the grape. My impression is that their focus is less on wine than on rolling out pitchers of sangria. We ordered a bottle of the Don Pedro de Soutomaior albariño, which was fine, though perhaps a bit “rounder” than is typical for the variety.

Mrs MercerChow started with a salad of sliced peppers, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce dressed with oil and balsamic. I opted for the boquerones special, anchovy fillets marinated in vinegar and dressed with olive oil and parsley. They were delicious, though expensive at $15 for five smallish fillets.

For my entrée, I ordered another special, the broiled bacalao, a huge piece of fish in a sweet pepper sauce with sides of fried potato slices and green beans, carrots, and broccoli. The fish was cooked well, and the sauce and sides were OK, except the potatoes could have been crisper. Mrs MC had the mariscada salsa verde, a shellfish casserole with half a lobster, clams, shrimp, scallops, and mussels in a white wine, garlic, and parsley sauce with a side of arroz amarillo. This was also a lot of food, all cooked nicely (except for a couple of rubbery scallops), but the sauce was on the bland side.

With this much food we opted for no dessert there and instead drove to Princeton for ice cream at the Bent Spoon.

So, overall, when you think of Málaga, don’t think elBulli wannabe, think Chambersburg with a nod and a wink in the direction of Iberia.

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