Restaurant Reviews

Review: Tornado in Malden

Since I had to work a night event on my birthday, a friend and I decided to check out the new Tapas bar near our meeting for an early dinner.

Outdoor seating: coming in the warmer weather.

Tornado opened just a few months ago in Malden, which is apparently gaining a reputation as the next culinary hot spot. (Woohoo for our property values!) I really hope this place can stick it out, because lots of new apartments are being built nearby, and it’s right next to the subway. There should be plenty of foot traffic around this corner. Plus, the city of Malden itself is just getting more and more popular with young families and urbanites; every time I turn around, someone I know is moving here or neighboring Melrose (another foodie haven with top-notch downtown restaurants).

Anyway, here’s what we ate:

Oyster shooters with soy sauce and hot pepper flakes, with a guava sangria
Oyster shooters with soy sauce, sake, tabasco and fresh chive, with guava sangria.


Corn on the cob with sweet BBQ glaze, soft goat cheese and cilantro
Corn on the cob with sweet Asian BBQ glaze, soft goat cheese and fried garlic


Key Lime pie bites with fresh berries, tart whipped cream and pistachio gelato.
Key Lime pie bites with fresh berries, tart Yuzu whipped cream and pistachio gelato.


My birthday surprise: fried tiramisu ice cream!
My birthday surprise: fried tiramisu ice cream!

We also had edamame topped with sea salt and grated lemon zest, and bread with cinnamon-sugar butter (yum).

My verdict? I really liked this place. It’s owned and operated by graduates of Malden High, and I’m really rooting for them to succeed. They describe the food as a “mashup” of Eastern and Western cuisine, and I’d say that’s about right. There were other things we would have tried with unlimited time and stomach space: the Caesar kale salad, seared avocado with truffle salt and furikake, steamed pork buns with hoisin glaze and pickled vegetables, and crab cake fritters with wasabi-cucumber dip. I mean, right? Lots to pick from here.

And that’s just tapas! You can see the full menu here, but there’s a whole side of dinner entrees that I didn’t even sample. The sangrias we had were excellent, so I’m dying to try some of their other concoctions as well. And the fact they even call out a fancy mocktail on their drink menu earned huge points with me — I learned that you can almost always gauge the level of service you’re about to experience by how enthusiastically the bar crafts an alcohol-free drink for you when you’re visibly pregnant. (I had one place flat-out refuse to make something for me! Not so much as a cranberry juice. But I love the place, so I won’t call them out here).

The service was OK. Not inattentive, just not overly informed about ingredients we asked for, which I’m sure will come in time. We also came at a slow hour (5-6 p.m.) and they’ve only been open a few months, as I said. The decor is really cool; we enjoyed the modern vibe and can imagine it being really nice for drinks or a late dinner. The bar looked good too.

All in all: had a lovely time, definitely coming back.

Oh, and if you were hoping for a Cinco de Mayo recipe, you’re in luck! I posted these ideas last year, and then this weekend I spotted this handy recipe for restaurant-style Mexican rice. Last but not least, since it’s Monday and we all need cheering up, I give you this: an 8-legged octopus my brother made for Georgia’s 8-month birthday. Enjoy.