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Mad Mexican: New Mexican Place from the people behind Frida's

It's by the same people who do the salsas.

http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/E...

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  1. BOOOOOOooooo. I want one in MY neighbourhood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Googs

      It isn't in my neighbourhood either, but sometimes you just have to go out of your way for certain restaurants :)

    2. Bogus. Still waiting for the real deal.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        The real deal being what, in this case?

        1. re: Kagemusha

          So you've been to Frida and brought Mad Mexican home have you Kagemusha?

          1. re: Googs

            Not impressed with either. Just got my shipment of chiles from PHX. Set for another 6 months.

            "Mexican" food in TO is in a mile-deep rut. Still surprised no one has clued in to tortas yet.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              Or sopes..

              Maybe one day we'll get Vampiros. Turn your $5 tiny taco into a $10 tiny taco, but with a slice of cheese and an extra tortilla!

              1. re: Kagemusha

                Calling Rick Bayless, and his shortrib tortas.

                1. re: dlw88

                  Rick Bayless isn't Mexican. He's southwest, closer to New Mexican. Too bad there isn't a New Mexican place in TO.

                2. re: Kagemusha

                  I thought Agave y Aguacate was mostly Tortas?

                  I would love a Torta Ahogada. Maybe a bowl of goat birria on the side.

                  1. re: bobbob911

                    I crave those torta ahogadas, birria, barbacoa and good pozole.

                    I don't currently live in the GTA, but when I'm in town, I try to eat foods from countries and cultures that are not well represented in Windsor, where I live, or in Detroit, which is very close by. I would not seek out Mexican or Lebanese in the GTA, when it's done well, and is far less expensive, in Detroit. There are many reasons for the price difference, but if I can get a taco al pastor for $1.25 in Detroit, why does it cost $6 at Playa Cabana? Is it 5 times better? Does $1 go for ambience, another for higher minimum wage rates, another for price of raw ingredients and still another for the utilities bill? If I could be guaranteed that the taco will be that much better, then price matters little. Regardless, I'm certain that authentic Mexican recipes are not on many, if any, restaurant menus in the GTA. Until then, I'm not paying inflated Toronto prices for glorified street food.

                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                      Heading down to Windsor/DTW over Christmas - recommendations for Mexican there? And don't say Xochimilco! :)

                      1. re: burningrome

                        I can offer three options in Detroit and none is Xochimilco, LOL. If you don't mind divey places, but love grilled chicken, Taqueria el Rey is a great choice. My husband goes there for lunch and says the 1/2 chicken meal is enormous but great value. They grill the spatchcocked chickens, then use a cleaver to hack them into manageable pieces. You get the usual rice and beans with that, and all the tortillas you could possibly want.

                        Two that I enjoy are Taqueria Nuestra Familia and Taqueria El Nacimiento. These places are frequented mostly by the Mexican community. I personally avoid the cheapie lunch specials and choose from either the breakfast menu or dinner menu for much more interesting options. On one visit to Nuestra Familia, I was able to order huevos machacados (eggs with dried, pounded pork - jerky of sorts) and have as my side whole beans, rather than the standard refried beans and rice. Those beans were the star of the meal. If you are into carne en su jugo, menudo, birria or pozole, they are available daily at Taqueria El Nacimiento.

                        El Nacimiento's address is 7400 W. Vernor. Nuestra Familia's is 7620 W. Vernor and El Rey's is 4730 W. Vernor. It is closer to the Ambassador Bridge, while the other two are several blocks to the west.

                        http://taqueria-elrey.com/
                        http://www.elnacimientorestaurant.com/
                        http://www.ii-1.com/nuestrafamilia/nu...

                        Tacos are popular at all three places, but I notice that the Mexicans that eat there tend to opt for dishes that are cooked to order. Why not try both? There's no shame in packing up your leftovers for later.

                        Call to make sure each place is open, if you're going over the holidays. I'd hate for you to get there only to find that your chosen place is closed for an extra couple of days over the holidays.

                        Windsor's Mexican offerings pale in comparison, but you get the privilege of paying double or more for inauthentic grub, albeit in nicer surroundings than those in Detroit.

                    2. re: bobbob911

                      But Agave y Aguacate isn't actually reopened yet

                      Apparently there were a few soft open days over the holidays and they are now promising a soft opening on January 7th, given his track record only time will tell....

                    3. re: Kagemusha

                      What of Jose Hadad's work have you had Kagemusha?

                      1. re: Googs

                        Frida wasn't universally adored. Find a new chew toy--and visit Detroit sometime and see what life's like beyond "guac+chips."

                        1. re: Kagemusha

                          Oh that's right. I forgot that's all I eat. Detroit isn't my baseline. Mexico is. I can only guess from this you've never tried anything from Chef Hadad. Perhaps his work isn't "universally" enjoyed, but since when is that the standard? Different strokes and all. I've enjoyed the take home Mad Mexican goods which aren't as good as homemade, but certainly do the job better than anything else I've encountered. I also quite like the restaurant, Frida. Perhaps you can try it sometime and let us know what you think.

                    4. re: Kagemusha

                      I like Mad Mexican stuff but I was not a fan of Frida's when I went the one time (seemed "run down", mediocre food, etc).

                      I would give this new spot a shot though.

                    5. I've never been to Mexico.

                      My first real exposure to that style of food was in San Francisco in 1970, followed by Detroit in 1972 and Denver in 1977.

                      Every morsel I ate in those cities was far and away better than anything I have ever eaten in Toronto, and i have been to just about every single Mex place in TO over four decades -- at least once....hoping, praying, gnashing of teeth..

                      But I am continually disappointed. The best dish I have had in Toronto has been posole, and that I can easily make at home.

                      Sorry, did not mean to complain...sniff, sniff..

                      1. I can't remember the (expensive) meal I had at Frida. I stopped bothering with the tacos and burritos I've normally had in Kensington and just have tortas.

                        1. Delicious Sunday lunch at Mad Mexican on Jane Street in Baby Point. I was blown away! I expected mediocre food and instead was served absolutely fantastic tacos of lamb D.F. barbacoa, chicken pibil, pork carnitas, a non-cilantro red condiment, and slightly-too-sweet limeade that got refilled once. Can't wait to return.

                          1. Just had 3 tacos at Playa Cabana in the Junction. Pales in comparison to Mad Mexican.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Food Tourist

                              Wow! Looks like I'm going to have to try Mad Mexican :)

                            2. Just had 3 tacos at the surprisingly empty Grand Electric. Baja fish, scrapple, beef - all pale in comparison to Playa Cabana Junction tacos, which in turn pale in comparison to the amazing Mad Mexican. Mad Mexican for mayor!

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                They're that good? Ok. I have to try MM!!

                                1. re: kwass

                                  Have you tried their salsas? Since I have, I'd imagine the restaurant would be very good. I've been meaning to eat there but it's a bit out of the way.

                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                    I can't recall if I've tried their salsas, but I'm definitely going for tacos sometime in the near future! I'll make sure to report back when I do :)

                                    1. re: kwass

                                      Their salsas are pretty decent, though expensive for something you can make at home easily. The tacos are decent, though unimpressive. That being said, there aren't many "Mexican" tacos in Toronto that impress. Seven Lives doesn't count. It isn't Mexican, and most of the menu is overcooked and improperly seasoned. When they're on, they're on, but... not Mexican.

                                      1. re: yakionigiri

                                        It's true that they are on the pricey side, but the one I enjoy the most is the "Salsa Morita" and that takes longer to make at home than the others, so that is the one I buy. The mild version tastes great with Neal Bros. Organic Blue with Flax Tortilla chips.

                                        1. re: foodyDudey

                                          Don't you just love Neal Brothers Tortilla Chips?! My favourite are the multigrain.

                                          1. re: Food Tourist

                                            If I want tacos, I eat at Seven Lives. It's within range and if you order the right thing, it's delicious. It isn't Mexican, however.

                                            For authentic Mexican? I've yet to have anything as good or even a reasonable facsimile of what I've had in Mexico. I find it's easier to just make it at home.

                                            Places like Playa Cabana, La Carnita and Grand Electric are mediocre-okay at best... but have you ever eaten at the Kogi-plagiarist abomination known as Barrio Coreano? This isn't the kind of food Torontonians deserve...

                                            1. re: yakionigiri

                                              Did you know that Barrio Coreano has the same owners as Playa Cabana?

                                              http://www.playacabana.ca/locations/5...

                                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                                I did, in fact, know that. Doesn't stop the food at Barrio Coreano from being terrible, though.

                                                1. re: yakionigiri

                                                  I didn't say it was not terrible - I have not been there. Anything with "barrio" in it is a poor choice for a name...

                                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                                    I have nightmares about the lamb and lobster there... even if the calamari was actually pretty good.

                                              2. re: yakionigiri

                                                I guess the good thing is that even though you didn't offer anything critical about Mad Mexican's tacos, other than they are decent but unimpressive (it would have been more helpful if you said why). You do state your preference for Seven Lives, so we can get a sense of where your palate is at. Personally I would take La Carnita over Seven Lives any day, because I find them finer with brighter flavours, more exactly cut garnishes and far less grease.

                                                1. re: dubchild

                                                  I like some of the dishes at La Carnita (the beef cheeks are great), but others (generally anything involving seafood) tend to be relatively low on flavour. I also found the flavours more muddled, so perhaps it's more or less a consistency issue. I've been eating their food since they were a pop-up, but I greatly prefer Seven Lives because one or two of their tacos are consistently good. When eating tacos, garnish knifework and grease don't really factor into it for me. What I don't like about Seven Lives is the tacos that really don't work in terms of flavour, and that they frequently overcook fish (especially the fried ones).

                                                  Mad Mexican's tacos weren't necessarily bad. I do like their salsa if I don't feel like making it at home. It's expensive, though. In fact, all of their food was overpriced. I expected more at that price point. Chicken tacos were dry and underseasoned. Pork met a similar fate. I'm not sure if they expect the meat to just be some sort of vessel for carrying the salsa, but it was disappointing. If I were paying less, I'd probably be willing to overlook the mistakes.

                                                  1. re: yakionigiri

                                                    This fleshes things out a bit better. Have others found the chicken and pork at Mad Mexican dry and under seasoned?

                                                    1. re: dubchild

                                                      Hi dubchild. I've been to Mad Mexican on several occassions now, and unfortunately, for some of the things I have eaten, they haven't been as good as the first time.
                                                      First, let's talk about the things I love: the guacamole, the nachos, the salsas, the tortilla soup (my favourite), the limonada. All of these things I have eaten on several occassions and have been consistent and delicious.
                                                      The things that I have had inconsistencies with: the tacos. Primarily, the steak tacos. The carnitas are usually fairly consistent and very unctuous and really yummy. I have had them slightly dry and underseasoned on my last trip there and am hoping this is a one time occurance. The steak tacos, or anything on the menu using "steak" are basically completely overcooked beef cutlets that have unfortunately, never been good any times that I have ordered them and are reminiscent of shoe leather....
                                                      Having said all this, there have been a few changes to the menu since the beginning, and last time I was there, I ordered a small tortilla soup and received a large. I spoke to the waitress (only to confirm because I couldn't even eat the other things i ordered because there was so much food) and she said that the kitchen was still trying to get used to the changes that were being made. I am hoping that is the case for the items that turned out less than stellar...
                                                      I will continue to go to see if it levels out...

                                                      1. re: icey

                                                        I was in a cab last week that drove by this area and it seems vibrant and with a lot of food options. I live far from there. Trying to suss out if it is worth going, I used to like Frida's. Your observations help.

                                                      2. re: dubchild

                                                        I don't usually order chicken anywhere. I loved their pork and lamb. I'm big on juicy and well-seasoned meats anywhere and this lived up to my taste.

                                                      3. re: yakionigiri

                                                        I went last night with some expectations since I really enjoy the salsas. Unfortunately I had a similar experience to yakionigirl, dry tacos, both the lamb and pork, as "if they expect the meat to just be some sort of vessel for carrying the salsa". I didn't find it pricey, we over ordered and it was $55 for two with tax and tip. The room is not really a restaurant proper but more of a take out counter with a few tables and bar stools. At least they had Boneshaker on tap. Given that I get the salsas and chips closer to home, I can't say I would be back for the other items.

                                                    2. re: yakionigiri

                                                      Oh yeah! I keep forgetting to try La Carnita. I must be the only Hound in the GTA who hasn't been to their restaurant.

                                          2. re: Food Tourist

                                            We went back to Playa Cabana Cantina for dinner. Poor service especially the door staff. Avoid the nachos! They took a slab of cheese and partially melted it on top of greasy chips. The result is a tough, unsatisfactory experience. Why wouldn't they use grated cheese at the very least? This isn't raclette.

                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                              None of their restaurants are worth eating at.