Monday, June 4, 2007

Mario's Peruvian (ooohhh...there's a parking spot...quick!)


5786 Melrose Ave (but is located on what is Vine where Rossmore changes into Vine)
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323)466-4181
Everyday 11:30AM-8PM

I wish Mario's Peruvian was closer to me. I always have such long periods in between my trips there for one reason or another. Maybe it's the location. Maybe it's the wait you sometimes deal with. But in the end I always, and I do mean always, come back. Why? The food is insanely good.
To get the small things out of the way. Parking here is, to say the least, some of the worst in LA. I'd say about 10 spots or so in a very small corner strip mall, meaning 10 spots for more then one business. Once inside there's usually a wait... in fact almost always a wait. I don't frown too much upon this though cause it means business is killing. Pizza Mozza anyone?

Every time I go I am surprised at why I forgot to come back. The food really is that good. As I've said previously on this site, when I was younger I fell in love with Peruvian food. Mario's reminds me of the my first taste of Peruvian which is why I have such a natural love for it.

Our party was on a schedule as we were catching "Daywatch" (which by the way kicked so much butt) at the Arclight up the street after our meal. I was hopeful that we'd have plenty of time to get there as long as there wasn't too many parties in front of us. We scored parking cause God was looking out for us and only had a 15 minute wait. Our party of 6 sits down and orders immediately thanks to getting the menu while waiting to be sat. Considering we all had dates and for some strange reason most girls don't like to show that they can put away food in front of other guys, we all shared from 3 plates total. We scored an awesome plate of saltado de pollo, lomo saltado and chicken milanesa. A good percentage of their plates have french fries on it. I don't think french fries when I get them though. I think saucy potatoes that don't get soggy unless sitting in the essence at the bottom of the plate. The overall flavor is a salty/citrussy base that's great on just about everything.

The chicken was tender and flavorful (no grissle bits) with nice size chunks of onion that acted as the glue of the entire meal blending all the flavors into a singular taste. It comes off as being a very large homecooked meal which is big points in my book.

The lomo saltado also had mouthwatering pieces of meat that were devoid of an grissle or toughness and once again the potatoes made the entire plate come to life with hints of zestiness. Great portion size as well. I could rate this plate as a high 8 to a 9 on how often I could go back and get it.

The milanesa while not the most outstanding was decent and I can't really complain about it at all...though it was unexciting. The meat wasn't dry and there was a good portion of it.

While I won't say take your dates here if you're trying to impress them, I will say that what they lack in decor they make up for with great food and fast service. In the beginning I mentioned that we were on a schedule to catch a movie. We made it with plenty of time to spare. The entire ordering process from sitting down to paying was about 45 minutes. This, of course, included talking about what a great place Mario's was after we ate.

Free Drink Refills: I always get Inca cola when I come here and it's by the can so I don't actually know about the fountain but they probably do have free refills for the fountain sodas.
Entree Price Range: $9 to $11 (good size plates of food so it's a pretty decent value)

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