Grant has been wanting to check out Malo since it opened in May 2014 - we finally found an open Saturday and stopped in for lunch. Located at 900 Mulberry Street in Des Moines, Malo anchors the Des Moines Social Club at street level. The newest addition to the George Formaro Orchestrate family, Malo is a Latin -themed restaurant that serves up fresh and fabulous south of the border favorites.
It's quite the space, very modern and colorful - the restaurant seats nearly 200, not including the bar area and a very nice patio. Love those chandeliers.
As with all of Formaro's restaurants, the menu has been meticulously developed and offers everything from several inventive appetizers, many different tacos and enchiladas, some tasty sounding sandwiches and interesting entrees.
We knew it would take us awhile to decide on what to eat, so we ordered a carafe of sangria to sip on - would have loved to have more fruit in that carafe, but it was very drinkable and is available in red or white. The bar also features some great craft cocktails and of course, a marvelous margarita.
Our chips and salsa arrived and we dove right in to those crunchy chips - the salsa is nice and flavorful, not too spicy, but very easy on the palate.
I had a really hard time deciding what to order - we've traveled in Mexico for so many years and absolutely love the authentic cuisine - the whole menu sounded delicious. I finally decided to order the Carnitas. Roasted pork shoulder, onion and tomatilla salsa, served with tortillas, rice and beans. The meat was perfectly juicy and tender, and the salsa was delicious. The cilantro rice and drunken beans were very flavorful and wonderful side dishes.
Here's a better view of the sides and salsa.
Grant decided on the Tres Puercos Tamale - carnitas, bacon, and chorizo with Chihuahua cheese, rice and beans. The salsa roja is drizzled over the top and adds just enough zing to the dish. The masa was so creamy and rich, they really must have done their research on making the best tamales. Plump full of meat, Grant had a hard time finishing this plate.
We've always loved Tres Leches cake, but we've never had it in cheesecake form, so we thought we had better change that! A lovely texture, very creamy and sweet, the cheesecake is served with raspberries and cinnamon cream. A delightful finish to our lunch.
It appears that Malo truly celebrates all the flavors of Latin America and does it right here in central Iowa. Very worthy of a visit, if you haven't stopped in - just give yourself plenty of time to appreciate the art on the walls and on the plate.
900 Mulberry Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Menus and more information at www.malodesmoines.com