mario's peruvian cuisine
Mario's Peruvian & Seafood
5786 Melrose AveLos Angeles, CA 90038
Neighborhood: Mid Wilshire
Mon-Thu. 11:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
so this is a restaurant that my friend j and i had tried to eat at awhile back...do you remember the post on los balcones peruvian food? well, i believe i mentioned that we had tried to eat at mario's and as we pulled up and parked it was 8:00 pm. the "open" sign was still lit and by the time we got out of the car and walked to the door, it was 8:01pm and the sign was off and the door was locked!! the shades were pulled down so we couldn't even peak in and look jealously at the patrons who made it in before the doors were locked!
because of our mistake, i am now giving you the hours of this extremely popular restaurant. so, you cannot get mad if you don't get there in time. and seriously, you need to arrive early, because i went on a weekday, i think it was a monday, and because i didn't want to get locked out two times in a row, i made for damn sure i went early! i made my friend "A" go with me at 5:30 pm! (i am sometimes viewed as having the eating habits of senior citizens because i like to eat early. i like to eat early because it allows the food to digest properly before i go to bed! but most of you know i have insomnia so truly, it makes no difference because i get hungry again late at night and always have another snack! haha) anyhow...sufficed to say, we got there early and luckily got the last two top!
this table of course was way too small for us, because i knew we were going to order at least four items. but i was just thankful we got a table right away...
first up! they brought us our rolls, butter and that oh so deliciously spicy green sauce, ají de huacatay.
the rolls they serve are not some fancy schmancy rolls, they are just basic white dinner rolls...and i love eating the warm rolls with the melted butter dipped in that super spicy green sauce! i have to eat it with the butter because it adds that element of creaminess that i like to think helps cut that spicyness. but honestly, that stuff is HOT! so perhaps...i think i just try to convince myself that the butter helps because i have freaking love eating butter on my bread! if i couldn't eat butter anymore, i seriously think i'd die. butter makes me so happy! i could not begin to imagine having a piece of bread without sweet, creamy butter!!! ok, back to the aji sauce...great flavor with a terrific amount heat!
raw fish, shrimp, squid and octopus cooked in lemon juice with onions and spices and served with boiled potatoes. simple, light and refreshing. a nice way to start the meal...besides the rolls of course.
a special breaded steak served with lightly seasoned rice or fries. this was A's dish...sadly it was a bit dry and tough, not my favorite. i doubt i would order this in the future.
bisteck a la chorrillana...
a juicy pan fried steak smothered with onions and tomatoes. served with lightly seasoned rice. this was my dish...the steak is hidden underneath, but it was really juicy and was great with the onions and tomatoes. there was also the option of having this with pasta noodles...which i actually wish i got. i would see tables around us who ordered it with the noodles and it looked so good. it reminded me of chow mein, which i absolutely LOVE! but this was really delicious...again, just good simple flavors and it was well cooked. i would get this again.
milanesa de pollo...
a special breaded chicken steak, served with lightly seasoned rice or fries. my friend A chose this dish...it was nicely breaded, crunchy and moist inside. as much as i enjoy eating things like chicken tenders, i really preferred my steak with the sauteed onions and juicy tomatoes.
overall, i really liked the simplicity of the food and thought that it was well seasoned. i never picked up the salt shaker once...that says a lot to me. i would definitely go back again, but next time i'm going to get the pasta with whatever meat dish i'm going to order. i want to make note of many of the patrons that were there as well. it was a very diverse group, but i noticed a very large number of asian people eating there as well. hmmm, i'd say the restaurant was about 50% asian. i never knew how popular peruvian food was amongst the asian community...i learned something new!
so, remember, if you plan on checking out mario's, go early or at least make sure you give yourself plenty of time to wait, or get there before the doors get locked!