Mas Malo Restaurant: Mas Mucho More Tequila Downtown

— by Caroline on Crack

Mas Malo's Red Eye by Caroline on Crack
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    Mas Malo's Red Eye

The new offshoot of Silver Lake’s Malo Restaurant, Mas Malo, is mas in every way — space (9,700 square feet), menu, style and liquor. The new restaurant, which opened last Friday, shares the same downtown Los Angeles building as a certain whiskey bar and the same entrance. Booze fans rejoice, especially since Mas Malo boasts a tequila list with about 260 bottles and growing as well as a special tequila tasting vault and a speakeasy-esque basement cantina that can fit you and 80 of your closest friends.

Eggplant and potato taquitos by Caroline on Crack
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    Eggplant and potato taquitos

I had a chance to check out the new restaurant at a hosted preview dinner where we were fed a series of Chef Robert Luna’s menu items ranging from basic Malo staples like the salsa flight and beef and pickles tacos to the Lobster Diablo sautéed with garlic, red chiles, lime and white wine. S’OK stuff. If you’re a fan of Malo, you’ll find something you like.

But the big thing for me is all that booze and the fact that this new space features three bars on each level. That’s six wells and about 15 bartenders on any given night plus 10 specialty cocktails that were created by Mas Malo’s bar manager Fred Warner (formerly of Chateau Marmont), Malo’s bar manager Kevin Harper and some of the bartenders.

Here are the cocktails I tried during the preview:

  • Angelina: Gran Centenario Roseangel Reposado Tequila, hibiscus, lime juice, chile salt rim. If you couldn’t tell by the name this one is a girl drink. Pink, drinkable and lightly sweetened.
  • Old Fashionista: Kracken Black Rum, Falernum, bitters. Potent and a bit more syrupy-sweet  than the traditional Old Fashioned.
  • Pinata Smash: El Jimador Reposado, Serrano chile, cilantro, pineapple, housemade sour.
  • Red Eye: Fortaleza Reposado Tequila, float of red wine. This one was an accident. I had meant to order the Rooster and got this in return, so I only took one sip. The red wine float was all I tasted. Bar manager Fred says the beauty about this drink is that the float remains on top while you sip the drink so that you’re sure to get a taste of red wine each time. It was OK, but a bit dry for me.
  • The Rooster: Ora de Oaxaca Mezcal, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, lime juice. Who wants to get drunk? Here you go. The mezcal with the bourbon makes it one smokey mixture. Fred called it a smokey gimlet. It was fine but just had a bit too much lime for my taste.

Basement cantina by Caroline on Crack
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    Come and knock on my door, we've been waiting for you...

Most of the drinks were on the sweet side for me, especially that Old Fashionista and The Angelina. Although I do appreciate The Rooster. But I think I’ll stick to Malo favorites the Medicina Latina and the 100% Organic Puro Margarita next time I stop by. Or take my pick of the hundreds of tequilas they have in stock.

Speaking of which, if you want a straight tequila tasting experience, the much-talked-about and still-under-construction tasting tequila vault will have shelves of ultra-premium tequila, an L-shaped table and be able to seat about eight to 10 people. They’ll have Tequila Appreciation night once a month featuring different vendors and focusing on different tequila types like Reposado Night or Anejo Night. Odelay!

Tip: The best seat in the house has gotta be the one in the corner of the mezzanine level, overlooking the main dining room below.

Hours are lunch 11am-5pm, dinner 5pm-11pm, open til midnight on Friday and Saturday. Saturday-Sunday 9am-2am. Basement 10pm-2am. No happy hour yet but soon.

More details about Mas Malo can be found on my LA Weekly Squid Ink post.

More photos of Mas Malo after the jump.

Mas Malo
515 W. 7th Street
Los Angeles, California 90014 (map)