You might be forgiven for thinking that one taco joint is as good as any other: They’re all just slinging the same combo of meat, vegetables, salsa, and tortillas, right? But Mad Mexican, an unassuming little restaurant in Bloor West Village, is determined to show you that fresh ingredients and authentic recipes make the difference between a good taco spot and a legendary taco spot. The next time you and your friends are on a shopping trip in the neighborhood, drop by to experience a Mexican meal “made with love that nourishes your body and feeds your soul,” as they like to put it. You’ll never look at a taco the same way again.
Gather your crew and and eye the chalkboard menu behind the counter. Its inspiring list of tacos and hearty tortas (Mexican sandwiches) sounds high-end, with exotic spices and tempting flavor combinations, but don’t be intimidated by unfamiliar ingredients. Everything’s delicious, and they’ll warn you if something you order is especially spicy. Each member of your group should try something different — a steaming sopa de tortilla (a classic Mexican soup with tortilla crisps) for one friend, and the La Revolucion torta stuffed with mouth-watering sirloin steak and chorizo for the meat lover. And you? You order the Carnitas de Michoacan, a trio of tacos with slow-braised pork wrapped in house-made corn tortillas.
While you wait for your mains, dig into the artisan tortilla chips dipped in Mad Mexican’s signature chunky guacamole. The first crunchy bite is a revelation — who knew simple chips and guac could be so flavorful? When your mouthwatering entrees arrive, don’t forget to dress them up with one of the three zesty salsas at your table. But watch out for the hot sauce, which packs a fiery punch that leaves you gulping your lemonade. All conversations fall silent as everyone digs in to the tasty bounty on the table. It won’t be long before the food is gone and you’re left with a spirited argument over which bite was best.
Before you leave, have a peek in the adjacent Mexican food store, because you’ll want to take home some good eats for tomorrow. You’ve already made plans to meet up at Mad Mexican again soon. Until then, however, the packaged guacamole and salsas will serve as a tasty reminder of just how good Mexican food can be.
Photo: Ron Dollete