Steer clear of Malo for a few more days. Downtown’s popular Latin-American-focused restaurant closed for a refresh on May 28; the closure will last about 10 days. A few things to look for once Malo reopens:
• New bar, new drinks: The current indoor bar is being transformed into a U-shape, while an outdoor bar will be added on the patio for alfresco sips. Look for new drinks as well: To spruce up the cocktails, the Malo team has engaged a Chicago-based consultancy that grew out of that city’s famed Violet Hour lounge, which earned a James Beard Award for its bar program.
• Chilled options: Executive Chef Partner George Formaro is especially excited about the new “Chilled” section on the dinner menu, including an oyster ceviche. “Mexican flavors pair really well with oysters; our team has created some great ceviche selections with chile, pineapple and lime accompaniments that rank among my favorite anywhere,” he says. Other chilled options include a cucumber and jicama ceviche as well as seared tuna with chipotle adobo. “Not only is the dish tasty,” adds Formaro, “but it’s beautiful and packs some heat.”
• More mezcal: To the non-initiated, mezcal is that smoky tequila-like spirit that has a worm at the bottom of the bottle. Indeed, Formaro says, “I used to associate mezcal as a dare drink because of the harshness and the worm. But good mezcal has no worm, and some have notes of caramel and vanilla, not just smoke.” He adds that the Malo team has been working with the state of Iowa to bring in some top-notch versions of this famed Mexican spirit.
Malo is at 900 Mulberry St.; 515-244-5000; malodesmoines.com.
Wini Moranville writes about food, wine and dining for dsm magazine and dsmWeekly. Follow her on Facebook at All Things Food–DSM.