Ohio doesn’t much if any have Peruvians. Hence, Ohio growing up Ohio didn’t have Peruvian food. The Monster’s infatuation with it was born of Mario’s Peruvian.
Mario’s came well before any of the new chi-chi Peruvian served at Picca or Osaka or Mo-Chica or Chimu. It’s an ugly, hot place with impossible parking and indifferent service. And it’s invariably packed.
The seafood-centric menu has all variety of swimming , squiggling fare on offer. As you peruse they’ll bring out a couple hot, white rolls with their radioactive aji. Since they hate to refill water here those who don’t like heat may want to go easy on the aji.
Food comes out in a flash. Order, blink, eat. And the saltado de camarones is laden with shrimp, fries, grilled onions and tomatoes with a side of white rice. It’s as delicious as the first time The Monster had it but perhaps with age the salt is becoming a more pronounced/less enjoyed aspect.
Now the service, wow is it unapologetically uninterested. And this isn’t during the lunch crush. This is with the place mostly empty. Water refilled? Nah. Someone bring the bill? Nope. The bill ready to be paid and anyone come get it? Not happening. But the food keeps people coming back for more.
On the way out The Monster nearly hits a few cars and a couple people due to the impossibly narrow lot. Part of the price to pay when coming to Mario’s.
Why go? You love bumper cars.
Monster rating:3½/5 Monsters
5786 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038