Mad Mex can best be described as American-Mexican fusion. They have a wide variety of vegetarian options (The Angry Hippie Burrito, Chickpea Chili, and Pennsyltucky Fried Tofu being my favorites). Their margaritas are potent and they have a great selection of beer. It isn't Mexican food per-say, but it has beans, rice, tortillas, and spices. They also like to source some of their ingredients locally which is definitely a practice that should be adopted by more restaurants.
I have been to three of the Mad Mex locations and each one has their own little eccentricities. The one in Robinson Town Center is more mild than the other ones. The service is fast and the restaurant is very open.
While the one is Oakland is a little more spicy, the restaurant is also cramped beyond belief. By cramped, I mean that the tables are literally three inches apart in some places. I have had to pass food to other tables because the server couldn't get through. The service in Oakland is also generally bad, but that's part of the charm of the place. "Will I get a refill on my drink?" Probably not. "Wait, didn't I ask for guacamole with this?" Yes, but good luck finding a server. I think it has something to do with the place being so cramped. The waiters really don't want to be in the dining room. Nonetheless, I can generally forgive bad service when the food is good.
The Mad Mex in Columbus has been good since I got here. It is kind of a hybrid of the Mad Mex is Oakland and the one in Robinson. The food is spicier than the one in Robinson, and the service is better than the one in Oakland. The restaurant is generally cleaner and definitely more spacious than the one is Oakland. Aside from some sluggish service, I have been pretty happy with my time at Columbus's Mad Mex.
That is, until Wednesday. I had just turned in my Evolutionary Theory final and I wanted a treat, so I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Mad Mex. I walked in just behind some other gentleman and waited at the hostess stand. And waited... and waited... it was a good five minutes before the hostess finally wandered from the back. She took care of the gentlemen before me, then returned promptly. Upon being seated at my table, I perused the menu (even though I pretty much know it by heart), and chose the Angry Hippie burrito and a bowl of chick pea chili. The server arrived with minimal delay to take my order, and it took about 15 minutes for my chickpea chili to arrive. Not bad time-wise, but flavor-wise it tasted a bit off. I didn't taste rancid and it wasn't exactly bad-tasting, it just tasted a little old. It was as if the chili had been reheated a couple of times. I finished my chili and waited for my entrée. And waited.... and waited... I got a refill of my water during the time lag, but no food.
Now in their defense, this was a Wednesday afternoon at about 1:00. The restaurant wasn't full, but it was after the lunch rush and a table of nine had arrived just before I did. This probably put a bit of stress on the kitchen. I get that, so I just sat there and read my book. A half-hour after finishing my first course, my Angry Hippie arrived! YAY! I plunged into it, enjoying the way that the soft flour tortilla absorbed the juice from the spinach and portabellos.... and then I hit something abnormally spicy. I don't mind spicy, so I kept eating. Then I noticed that there was a huge patch of uncooked chili flakes and seeds nestled in my burrito... about 1/8 cup of them. Not fun. They are really hard to chew and ended up stuck in my teeth. I was going to complain, but the server was nowhere to be found. I ended up picking around the chili flakes and eating it because I was hungry, but it just wasn't pleasant.
Eventually, about 15 minutes after I finished eating, my server finally returned and handed me the bill. Ten minutes later he returned to take it from me. He then mixed a few drinks in between cashing out a stack of five bills (mine included). Ten more minutes passed before he returned with my receipt.
In all, I was there for about an hour and forty-five minutes. I was hesitant to complain because usually the food is really good, but I wish I had complained. If it doesn't happen again, this experience won't stop me from returning.... and the service was still leaps and bounds better than it is in Oakland.