My tasting at the recently opened Mad Boiler was undoubtedly one of the ‘funnest.’ And it once again proved to me that you don’t need to be at fancy places to have fun or experience good food.
Mad Boiler is a pescetarian’s dream come true! A seafood dedicated restaurant in a casual atmosphere serving delicious Cajun seafood. I was happy I got to bring a friend along to share in the experience, especially since he is also an avid pescetarian. It was also nice that their PR Manager & fellow foodie dined with us, and helped navigate the entire experience.
We each ordered a drink, and I could think of nothing more fitting than the Pomgrita to complement the Cajun spices I was about to ingest. I knew I chose well as I took my first sip of a very refreshing blend of tequila, limejuice, pomegranate and salt. Needless to say, I stuck with Pomgritas for the rest of my dinner.
We then ordered the seafood boil from the Pick-Your-Cravings section of the menu, where you get to choose you preferred meat, preferred sauce, preferred spice level and any add-ons such as sausage, potato, rice or bread.
Our server probably sensed our inability to make decisions with so many wonderful choices in front of us, and was kind enough to bring out a little sampling of all spices they offer; namely, the garlic butter, sweet chili, coco curry and the Cajun Louisiana rub. This definitely gave us some clarity as we picked the Shrimp (headon), Crawfish, Clams and King Crab and switched them up with different marinades so we could have a variety.
On the side we also ordered the highly recommended Crab Fried Rice and Cajun Shrimp Noodles. Both came out before the rest of the food and were packed with flavor. The noodles had a little zing to it but I wasn’t complaining. Nothing like a little jolt of red pepper to balance the sweet shrimp; these noodles were mouth watering good. The fried rice was aromatic with irresistible whiffs of ginger, garlic and scallion in every bite I took. It also had generous portions of crab in it with a little taste or burnt garlic, which in my opinion, is essential to good fried rice.
We also asked to try their Soft Shell Crab from the Fried section, which was almost too good to be true. The crab was fried perfectly to a light crisp, in rich, garlic butter, and served on a bed of seasoned fries. I’m definitely drooling as I write this.
Then came the star of the show; the one we’d been waiting for- the Seafood Boil. Four huge, clear plastic bags arrived with steaming crab legs, shrimp, clams and crawfish drenched in seasonings, all mixed and matched just like we had ordered them. Each bag also came with corn and potato in it, and I was glad to see our proteins and carbs happily cohabitating.
We immediately got down and dirty without any restrain, hoping our bibs could diminish any collateral damage that was to ensue. There was also pin drop silence for a while as each of us tried to stick steamy crustaceans in our faces. There’s nothing like a seafood boil to make you feel like you’re roughing it with all the peeling, cracking and slurping that takes place. All I can say is that napkin dispenser has seen better days.
All the meat we ate was fresh, the crab legs absolutely succulent, the clams perfectly deliquescent, and the shrimp and crawfish delicately sweet. I completely and thoroughly loved my visit to Mad Boiler. It’s funky, it’s unstuffy and the food is good!
And if my review wasn’t enough to get you in the door, their Happy Hour will. Mad Boiler holds happy hour specials weekdays from 3:00pm to 6:30pm, and you can’t beat $1 oysters (1/2 dozen minimum order) and half off wine and beer. You really have to taste the madness for yourself!
Neighborhood: West Loop
Address: 1045 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: (312) 291-8182
Hours: Mon-Fri: 3:00pm - Midnight, Sat: Noon-Midnight, Sun: Noon-9:00pm,
Price: $15.00 - $25.00