Our wary critic dissects the 'white, grey-ish white, or brown' Mad-Mex Gobblerito | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Our wary critic dissects the 'white, grey-ish white, or brown' Mad-Mex Gobblerito

click to enlarge Mad Mex’s Gobblerito - CP PHOTO: JOIE KNOUSE
CP photo: Joie Knouse
Mad Mex’s Gobblerito

It’s Thanksgiving season, which means restaurants everywhere are engineering ways to get the most shelf life out of America’s ultimate meal. At Mad Mex, this means Gobblerito season, the restaurant’s signature “funky fresh Cal-Mex” cuisine with a holiday spin.

To the surprise of no one, the Gobblerito is not a Mexican or Cal-Mex dish. It’s a Thanksgiving meal — black bean mashed potatoes, house-roasted turkey breast, bread stuffing, and corn partnered with a small dish of cranberry sauce — only instead of on a plate, it’s wrapped in a tortilla. And as a final touch, the burrito is smothered in gravy, “enough to put out a small fire,” according to the restaurant. 

I’ve always been wary of the Gobblerito. Many of my friends swear by it, not even pausing to breathe between the words “Gobblerito” and “it’s so good.” Mentions of the burrito bring joyful gasps followed by, “Oh, you’ve never had it? You’re going to love it!”

When I sat down to my first Gobblerito, I expected to be smitten. I was ready to be smacked with flavor and fall head-over-heels into a realm Thanksgiving food I had been missing out on for 24 years.

click to enlarge Mad Mex’s Gobblerito - CP PHOTO: JOIE KNOUSE
CP photo: Joie Knouse
Mad Mex’s Gobblerito

Let’s start with the presentation. Like most people, I eat with my eyes first — this doesn’t mean bad presentation equals bad food, but a nice plating always helps — and the Gobblerito is disappointing in this regard. I don’t blame Mad Mex for it; they’re working with ingredients that are all white, grey-ish white, or brown. 

But even looking back on a poorly lit photo I took of the burrito, it’s hard to find anything appetizing about it. My gravy had broken and the split, speckled goo was running clumsily all over the very square burrito. It wasn’t pretty. 

Breaking into the burrito revealed a more inviting sight, through the overstuffed tortilla was a jumbled mess of potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. 

Everything, flavor-wise, was fine. It was standard Thanksgiving fare. The stuffing added some flavor to uninspired mashed potatoes and surprisingly not-dry turkey. I wished for more beans and corn; the few stragglers found at the bottom of my burrito were all too quickly swept up into the mix. The cranberry — finally something with color! — was needed to kick a light tartness into the otherwise heavy burrito. Even the gravy, one of my least favorite foods, was pretty good. 

The tortilla, however, was more or less useless. I ate around it. The gravy turned it soggy and stringy, and in the end, it simply got in the way of the tastier components. 

I’ve eaten enough Mad Mex to know that this burrito is not indicative of the chain's usual food; the Gobblerito is more of a novelty than anything else. To quote a friend, “[The Gobblerito] is pretty good for what it actually is." And that friend is right. If I’m going to eat Thanksgiving more than once a year, it might as well be in a burrito.

click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JOIE KNOUSE
CP photo: Joie Knouse

Hungry for more? Try a different Thanksgiving-inspired dish:

1. The Yard

Get Turk’d Up at The Yard: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, and corn, all between two slices of Texas toast.

2. Burgatory

Gobble up Burgatory’s Thanksgiving burger; a turkey patty stacked high with cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry jam. Wash it down with a pumpkin pie shake.

3. Emporio: A Meatball Joint

Thanksgiving in a meatball! Emporio’s turkey meatballs mix cranberries, stuffing, and more. 

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