Mad Mex serves up top notch Tex Mex for Philly
Issue date: 11/6/09 Section: Arts & Entertainment
The owners of the restaurant have put a lot of effort into making the place look like an artistic southern bar and grill. The long vibrant red and green light illuminating some tables, the spaciousness, and the warm wood colors do some work in transporting you out of Philadelphia to somewhere a little hotter and dryer. There are Mexican-American style murals on the walls and abstract statues placed around the restaurant as well as other interesting items such as a mannequin in a kayak that was drifting above our table. The two times I have been there they had a very solid classic rock playlist drumming in the background. They have outdoor seating as well, however it is not nearly as interesting to look around at your surroundings.
The well-written tongue-in-cheek menu is a comfortable asset to the restaurant. For instance, the full description under the Mad Mex Burrito which usually would save space for a description of how it was made instead contained: "You know, you could've had this burrito for free by joining our mailing list at madmex.com. Just sayin'."
I thought the food was really good but it might be-a little spicy for some people. I'm sure they would make the spice level to order. I had a great cheese dip made with beer and chunks of slow cooked vegetables that was unique, peppery and satisfying, and much better than the greasier cheese dip you can find most places. They serve big flavorful burritos containing the regular meat and bean fillings as well as ones with eggs, Thai curry, slow beer roasted pork, and chicken mole. They also serve similarly filled chimichangas, quesadillas and all the other Tex-Mex favorites you might expect to be there. The sides I had were all very good, including a sweet authentic tasting blue corn cornbread, very well seasoned Spanish rice and hearty southern black beans. There are a good amount of vegetarian and vegan options including substitutions of soy cheese and tofu sour cream. Also check out the full bar including an interesting selection of Mexican beers.
My favorite part about this place for Drexel students is the "Halfsies" college discount you can get from 2 to 4 p.m. for most items, excluding fajitas, desserts and a few other selections. It is already not very expensive and watching half of your bill melt off with the discount both feels really good and makes a visit almost as cheap as a food cart. Definitely check it out. Be aware that after 4 p.m., the restaurant has a policy that requires those under 21 to have a guardian over 25 with them.
This is a restaurant with great deals an excellent food, overall, a great place to stop by if you don't feel like cooking.