Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Little Bit of Spain on the South Side

Groupon helps you find new friends (establishments) and re-unite with friends (establishments) you've lost touch with. For our most recent dinner out at Mallorca via a Groupon, it was a case of me going back to a place for the first time in probably 15+ years.

I'm not sure how long exactly Mallorca has been open, but it was my friend Karen's favorite place to go when she was in college, so that puts it somewhere in the 1994-98 range. (Note -- right on the front page of their website it says 1991). I went there with my family many moons ago and don't remember a whole heck of a lot aside from the fact it was dark inside. My palette wasn't nearly developed enough to enjoy a paella or any of the other exotic dishes they may have offered.

DB~ and I went down there on Friday night. When we walked in we were greeted by multiple Spanish speaking people, which is a great sign when you are at a restaurant named for an island off the coast of Spain. We were led back to the main dining room, which was a dark green and have dark wood mantles and inlays. The place made us think that Mallorca bought an old bar and never really did any major remodel when they moved in. The tile floor in the bar reminded us of that you might see in a diner.

I'm not going to say our waiter greeted us and read the specials to us, because we probably had 6-7 people come to our table at some point of the evening. I'll simply say the FIRST person came to give us our menus and read us the specials --- holy cow, the special menu was longer than the real menu. My ears perked up when he mentioned two certain things on special: roasted goat and a roasted wild boar dish. I asked the guy which he would choose and he immediately said the boar. Boar it is.

DB~ went with the lobster tails stuffed with crabmeat. We also ordered a pitcher of sangria to share. Sangria is a delicious Spanish-themed cocktail made with red wine/fresh fruit/carbonated water poured over ice. Perhaps getting a whole pitcher to split was not our best idea, especially when the bill came and we found out the pitcher was $25 (!!).

While we were waiting, we watched as another table ordered some type of roasted sausage appetizer. It came out in an open-topped dish in the shape of a pig and the waiter lit the whole thing on fire. So he was basically carrying a ball of fire through the restaurant on the way to the table. Sadly, I couldn't get my camera out in time to get a shot of that.

You get an incredible amount of food at Mallorca. We got small dinner salads right away (served, appropriately, with Catalina dressing) and a small loaf of bread. That was a welcome change from modern restraunting that makes salads a seperate charge and bread baskets disappearing.

Our food came out and both portions were monsterous. Our server then mumbled that he would "bring out some sides for us to share". Apparently for DB~'s dish, Mallorca must have walked 1 block down to Mullens to get her lobster from their lobster tank claw game (not really) and for my wild boar they got the brontosauras from the opening of the Flintstones cartoon.

To be honest, I would have been very content with the salads and the main dish. But then the 5th waiter brought out generous portions of yellow rice with vegetables, steamed garlic sauce vegetables, and fried potato chips.

DB~ didn't care for her dish very much, as she felt the crab meat was not all jumbo lump crab meat as it should have been for the price. She also wasn't feeling the decor, either, and I agreed with her on that one.

My dish was pretty good, but not great. It was a tomato based sauce with brandy and red wine flavors. It was topped with some lima beans, which were a welcome addition.

Overall we liked Mallorca, but probably won't be back in the future anytime soon. It's time for a re-working of the restaurant. For as modern and sleek as their sister restaurant next door, Ibiza, you would think Mallorca would want to keep up with that.

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