First Bite

The 5 Dishes You Need to Eat at MAD

The new River Oaks restaurant is a funhouse ready to be explored.

By Timothy Malcolm July 18, 2019

There are mirrors everywhere at MAD, the newest concept from the brains behind BCN Taste & Tradition, so it may seem that at all times something is watching you and your plate. But this is a good thing. MAD is a place to see and be seen, especially as the dining room heats up, the bar fills to capacity, and plates come out looking like minimalist art. The mirrors are just MAD's way of reminding you that food can be visual as much as it is about taste.

MAD serves Spanish tapas, with a Madrid influence, but not really. Naming the restaurant MAD is really just an excuse to deliver a menu of scientific experiments and multi-sensory sensations. Here are five you should try.

Sopa Fría de Guisantes at MAD.

1. Sopa Fría de Guisantes

Pea soup can pretty easily become a creamy mess barely reminiscent of the fresh flavor of a simple green pea. Not here. This soup, which also has shaved fennel, baby fava beans, pea shoots, and mint, puts the pea up front. It has the right bite, and all the other stuff adds nuance and texture.

2. Gulas

Want to eat a baby eel? How about several dozen of them? Common in Northern Spain and in Madrid, gulas are salty and slippery and very delicious. Here they're served with purple potato chips and sunny-side-up quail eggs. Like many of the dishes at MAD, get a little of everything in one bite. 

MAD Tomato. Spoiler: Not a tomato.

3. MAD Tomato

Probably the dish that's getting the most attention is this single plump tomato on a bed of soil. Only, as you surely know by now, the tomato isn't actually a tomato and the soil isn't actually soil. Cut open the fruit and be sure to have every ingredient on your fork for a taste of a pretty darn good Italian-style deli sandwich.

Stir everything together and you'll get a melty, rich pot of broth—sorry, mac 'n' cheese.

4. MAD 'n' Cheese

Yes, macaroni and cheese is a pretty boring dish, but at MAD, you'll get broth gelled into the shape and texture of pasta. Mix it up with cheese, crumbs, and pork, and, voila, a strangely delicious concoction that you'll be glad to have tried.

5. Huevos Voladores

No, it's not an egg, but passionfruit mousse surrounded by white chocolate. A little mascarpone cream underneath, along with some crunchy white chocolate aerated rocks, and this dish is bliss.

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