We first heard of Salvador Molly’s on the Food Network when they were being featured for their crazy hot habanero fritters, which are affectionately dubbed the “Great Balls of Fire”. When we found ourselves in the Portland area we thought we’d give them a review and also put ourselves to the test! The best part? We got it all on video
While in Portland we set out to find somewhere to eat that was representative of the local community. We were looking for someplace that was independent, quirky, and fun. Lucky for us we found all three in one place. Salvador Molly’s menu specialized in what they like to dub “Food without Borders”. Imagine fusion cooking taken to the extreme. Why not put Indonesian, African, Caribbean and other flavors together on the same dish? Armed with a blend of spices and cooking styles from around the world they strive to stretch the limits of your culinary imagination. The menu was put together by world travelers and definitely reflects their passion for exploration.
When we arrived at Salvador Molly’s, we found a laid back and comfortable atmosphere. Once seated, we ordered a couple local brews (It’s hard to find a bad local beer in Portland) and immediately I began to ask our waiter about their Great Balls of Fire. Imagine, if you can, fritters that are made of 3-4 habanero peppers each, mixed with a blend of herbs and cheese, fried, and then served smothered in a hot sauce that’s made with MORE habanero peppers! They’re so hot they actually have a challenge that their kinda famous for. If you can eat 5 of them in one sitting you get your picture up on their wall of fame. Now I LOVE hot food, but I also know all about habanero peppers. Those babies are no joke! We went ahead and did a small order of 3 just to give them a shot.
How hot were they? These are literally the hottest thing I’ve ever eaten! After eating just half a fritter my mouth was on fire, my eye’s were watering, and my ears were ringing! The worst part? There was nothing I could do to make it stop!!!
Take a look at the short 4 minute video at the bottom of the review if you want to watch Lauren and I suffer through them. While it was an interesting experience, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, I truly don’t recommend them.
After suffering though our appetizer, we moved on to our entree’s. Lauren ordered a dish that managed to combine a Hawaiian favorite with Cuban cooking styles. The Kalua Mojo Pork, was prepared in the traditional Hawaiian method, but Cuban mojo seasoning is added creating a dish that’s successfully marries the flavors of the Caribbean with the South Pacific.
Her entree was served with a sweet tamarind BBQ sauce, Mashed Potatoes, and a pickled mango slaw. While the slaw was tangy and delicious, the mashed potatoes were, well, kinda boring.
For my entree, I went with one of my favorite meats, lamb. For some reason it’s highly ignored in most American cuisine, so I order it whenever I get the chance. Salvador Molly’s put their lamb in a tandori cooker and slow cooks it until it’s just the right combination of tender and crispy. Then they combine it with baigan choka (a roasted eggplant dish) and fold it into a warm flatbread sandwich. They also include a lovely mint & cucumber riata for dipping, and a side of curry red lentil soup.
I must say, Saldavor Molly’s did a great job with the lamb. They used a nice balance of seasonings and didn’t hide the natural, delicious flavor of the lamb. While I was a bit leery of the idea of a lentil soup made with curry, it was also pulled off nicely.
Overall we had a very pleasant experience while at Salvador Molly’s in Portland, and definitely would recommend it to anyone visiting the area. If you have your own experiences or a review of Salvador Molly’s please feel free to drop a note in the comments.
Now without further ado: Here’s the video of Lauren and I suffering though Salvador Molly’s Great Balls of Fire!
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note: all opinions are our own. we were not paid or asked to review Salvador Molly’s in any way and have no affiliation with them.