Vegetarian diners looking for an experience that resembles their last peyote trip should head over to the South Campus Gateway and check out Mad Mex. If they dig deep enough, they'll leave full of enough Nuevo Latino cuisine and strong drinks to make them think that they had come all the way through the looking glass (and I mean that in the best way possible. Please read on.).
The slogan on the back of the shirts is, "It isn't the size of the burrito; it's the strength of the margarita," and that statement is no lie. The Mexican libation comes in many shapes, sizes and flavors. It is available on the rocks or straight up with a selection of tequilas unparalleled in the Columbus area. The top of the line margarita is made with El Tesoro de Don Felipe, the crown jewel of aged tequila, and the VIP has an anejo Don Julio floated in a lime boat atop a Don Julio Silver margarita.
Mad Mex also offers a seasonal selection of about 20 micro brews on draft alongside an array of international and domestic bottled selections. The Great Lakes Octoberfest and Stone Arrogant Bastard drafts were delicious.
The Pickadippa appetizer offers a choice of three dips with chips. The cheese dip is very good, with a lingering spice. The habanero salsa is sweet upfront, with a tropical pineapple note followed by a blazing finish. The fire roasted tomato chipotle is milder and faintly smoky. The guacamole is pleasant, with big chunks of avocado smoothed out by onions and radishes with a citrus tang that makes you smile. The pepita hummus, made from toasted pumpkin seeds, is very herbal and markedly different from the stuff you pick up at the corner Middle Eastern eatery. The pico de gallo was the worst of the bunch, featuring a soggy mass of tomatoes and a noticeable lack of onions and jalepeno.
The main courses offer a range of burritos, enchiladas, tacos and other options to keep all makes and models of vegetarians happy. They also offer carnivorous selections, but I'm not here to write about that. Instead, I sampled a 3 cheese 3 pepper enchilada made from jack, cream and goat cheese spiced up by jalepeno, Anaheim and red bell peppers. The creamy goat cheese tempers the spicy peppers, and the rice and beans on the side are better than the main courses you can get at the other cookie cutter Mexican eateries that dot the landscape of Columbus.
Mad Mex's menu includes the Angry Hippie Burrito and the Veggie Burrito alongside other international creations that are clearly marked vegetarian by the Mad Mex logo, and special requests are easily and successfully executed.
You can enjoy the Mad Mex experience inside, outside, or at the bar, and they serve food very late. The bar also shows sports most nights with a random selection of other programming. You can enjoy the pictures of the food, drinks and psychedelic artwork in the Picasa link below.