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Mariscos Chente, the king of Mexican sashimi reopens on the Westside w/pics

With very little fanfare, Mariscos Chente, the best Mexican seafood restaurant in town reopened its westside location in Mar Vista.I stopped by earlier in the week to grab a bite only to find Sergio and Angie Penuelas, the husband and wife team over at MC, having a visit from the fire marshall to determine when they could reopen.On my way back from Ensenada yesterday, I stopped by to find family and friends dining, a small group, so even though I over did it in TJ and Ensenada, why not a little ceviche and beer? The equipment to zarandear(to make pescado zarandeado) is not set up yet, I believe they said they were going to get the stuff in TJ this week and be up and running soon.In the meantime, all the raw seafood items on the menu are available, and various cooked Nayarit/Sinaloa dishes are present.

You gotta love a family restaurant, but lately I'm seeing many of these set ups, a duena(female owner), and her daughter and son-in-law employees.Man, I don't know if I'd want to work for my mother-in-law.But, when you see them together it all makes sense, a loving family working together to make great food.Magdalena, la suegra(mother-in-law), hails from Nayarit, the birthplace of pescado zarandeado, the world renowned charcoal grilled whole fish entree marinated in either a tomato based sauce or a garlic, butter, and soy base, my favorite.There is a huge soy usage in Sinaloan cooking, brought by Japanese immigrants and mariners. Although Nayarit is the birth place of this wonder, Sinaloa to the north also has a tradition of pescado zarandeado and claims it as a state dish.Her son-in-law and chef, Sergio, is from Los Mochis, Sinaloa.I'd like to think of his marriage to Angie as a royal wedding of pescado zarandeado traditions, to settle the feud of culinary heritage.Or maybe it was an arranged marriage, the ambitious Magdalena spying the perfect chef for her restaurant,"Angie, necesitamos un cocinero!"The truth is, outside a few dishes, Nayarit and Sinaloa have the same seafood gastronomy.Sinaloa, is the source for much of the seafood in Mexico, especially shrimp with the largest commercial shrimp fleet in Latin America.

The restaurant is a Nayarit seafood place with a Sinaloan chef, the best in LA.It's rare that you have a cuisine outside of its country of origin where the quality,aesthetic, and flavor is identical to the best representations of the mother country.I would put Sergio's cooking up with the best seafood joints, high and low, in Sinaloa.Sinaloan chefs are Mexican sashimi experts, deft with the knife, aficionados of fresh seafood, polished platers, and versed in many cooking disciplines.Many of their techniques and dishes are performed all over Mexico.The sashimi ceviche de camaron crudo(raw shrimp ceviche), callo de hacha(raw scallops in lime),or the aguachile(whole raw shrimp with lime and chile), all garnished with the signature purple onion and cucumber.I can tell a Sinaloan chefs work, as in sashimi and sushi, the knife work of a great chef is seasoned and unique. In Nayarit and Sinaloa, there are so many raw offerings: abalone, various fish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, mussels, and many more. The cooked dishes are delightful and go beyond the usual suspects at most Mexican seafood restaurants.Camarones culichis(shrimp in creme of poblano, au gratin), chicharron de pescado(fish skin in soy sauce), camaron a la pimienta(shrimp in a oil and pepper sauce), and of course the zarandeados.Sinaloans are makers of the best cocktails, and tostada mixtas(mixed seafood tostadas).Their molcajetes, Mexican mortar and pestals filled with mixed raw seafood are fiestas in a lava bowl.

Mariscos Chente brings in seafood from Mazatlan, Sergio doesn't like the seafood here, too long in the fridge for him.He is all too accostumed to the fresh catch in Sinaloa and how it goes from boat to shack/restaurant to consumer in a matter of hours, or less.Sergio is consumate in his choice of seafood for each dish, only pargo and robalo will do for pescado zarandeado at Mariscos Chente.

I had the ceviche de camaron yesterday, a glorious heap of white shrimp(diferent from aguachile grade),fresh cut and crisp cucumber, purple,onion, tomato, and cilantro on a shallow pool of lime.It was ample and devastatingly good.You'll have to wait a minute for the zarandeado, but have the camarones culichis, a la pimienta, aguachile, chicharron de pescado, ceviche de camaron(raw), camaron al ajillo(spicy garlic sauce), al chipotle(in chipotle sauce), and anything else they have on the menu. I've yet to find a better or more authentic Sinaloa/Nayarit seafood place in town, and Marscos Chente is better or as good as the best places I've been in Sinaloa,Mexico.Come on in, the doors are open.

ceviche de camaron
camaron al ajillo
camarones culichis

Mariscos Chente
4532 S. Centinela(at Gilmore
)Mar Vista, CA 90066

also in Inglewood
10020 Inglewood Ave
Inglewood CA 90304


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  1. I've never been happier to live on the westside. I can't wait to check it out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: noahbites

      I'm jealous, livin' here in the Valley.Yes, this is easy for you,close, don't have to jump through any hoops or have a back up plan, you've earned this.Enjoy your new local joint!

    2. awesome pics! can't wait to try it out. are there any other sinaloan places nearby?

      3 Replies
        1. re: streetgourmetla

          yeah, around centinela. guess that's culver city, west la?

          1. re: lakeshow318

            Well, I think Mariscos Chente is it in your area for Sinaloan.Many places throughout LA claim to be Sinaloan or "Sinaloense", but are merely mediocre cocktail and ceviche places, with nothing setting them apart from any boring Mexican seafood restaurant.

            There are places down in Southgate, but they aren't as good.Badiraguato comes to mind, I like them but they aren't in the same league.Nope, nothing in your area, but you have MC, you're starting at the top.Go through their menu and try some others, most likely you will head back to Chente's.

      1. Hi streetgourmetla,

        Great news. Thanks for the update. :) I can't wait to try it out.

        1. this sounds awesome. can't wait to try it out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ceviche

            With a name like ceviche, I guess it will be destiny fulfilled!

          2. Thanks for the great write-up, SGLA. Do you know whether the Inglewood location is equally as good?

            Can't wait to try this place out . . .

            1 Reply
            1. re: Peripatetic

              I trust that Sergio has trained someone very well for the Inglewood location, I saw some others in the kitchen right before they opened the new spot, but the chef himself will be at the Mar Vista location along with his wife.I would go where Sergio is first.I will try and stop in the Inglewood Chente when I get a chance, but hey once they have the grill fired up for the whole fish, I will be hangin' in Mar Vista!

            2. One more question: how big is the Mar Vista location? If a group of 4 or 5 of us show up tomorrow night would we need to call in advance? I can't wait to try it!

              2 Replies
              1. re: mollyomormon

                It's a medium sized restaurant, so it shouldn't be a problem at all, plenty of room.Do call first as I didn't check on their hours, too busy eating ceviche.

                1. re: mollyomormon

                  mar vista is plenty big for a party of 6, i just came from there.

                2. The phone number I posted isn't any good, it's the old number and tehre isn't a phone at the new place yet.I spoke with the owner today and they let me know that they should be open 7 days a week starting tomorrow (1/8).In the meantime, before you go down, you can call the Inglewood Chente to confirm that they are open on Centinela.

                  The number at Mariscos Chente, Inglewood is 310-672-0226.So, the word is starting tomorrow, 7 days a week from 10AM-9PM.Looking forward to your reports.Today they are only open in Inglewood.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: streetgourmetla

                    I just called the Inglewood location and was told that the Centinela location is open today, although the phone over there is still not working. A group of us is checking is out tonight so I'll report back tomorrow!!

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      I was there yesterday (Thursday, Jan. 8th) at 11AM. They were open; the menus weren't ready; it smelled of paint, and the ceviche de camaron was exquisite. I can't wait to try the pescado zarandeado! SSZ

                  2. Thanks for another great find!

                    Streetgourment, which Mexican seafood place do you like better -- Mariscos Chene or Mariscos Puerto Esperanza in Organge?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Norm Man

                      Without hesitation,Mariscos Chente is the better of the two!

                    2. Wow!

                      BTW, is that a bullet whole in this truck?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: The Old Man

                        Hahaha! That truck belongs to the mother-in-law, Magdalena. She is 100% Korita(from Nayarit), aguas!! (watch out)

                        I think those are stickers, but I'll have a closer look one of these times.Hmmmmm....

                      2. i just had their Camarones a la pimienta.
                        One word: SUBLIME

                        i plan to work my way through their menu in the coming months.

                        THANK YOU streetgourmetla for turning me on to this place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Everyone that has tried that dish has loved it.It's a hit.You don't mess around do you?Right to the good stuff!

                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                            next will be either the camerones ranchera or camerones fra diablo.

                        2. ok seriously how have i not gone here yet. the suspense is killing me.
                          is this place too "out there" to take some out of town guests who normally eat at Cheesecake Factory and other chain restaurants? I MUST EAT HERE NOW.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ceviche

                            Certainly! Their Chips are amazing,,, and their Shrimp Only Coctels are very approachable. They also have breaded shrimp and fish dishes... for those afraid of spice...


                          2. Just got back.

                            The great - The ceviche mixto ($12) was one the best I have had in a while. Shrimp, krab and octopus. The octopus was simply delicious. Perfectly tender. The shrimp were great too. A bit on the small size, but still very good. I know, I know… I can’t complain about that unless I ordered the actual shrimp ceviche. You know how sometimes you order shrimp ceviche and it appears a bit more "cooked" than what seems possible? Not the case here.

                            The not so great – We wanted a (cooked) fish dish as well assuming it would be very fresh. It was. But when we asked about the filet de pescado a la plancha ($11) we were told it was going to be grilled sea bass. Um... no. It was snapper/rockfish and was not grilled. It was pan fried with some sort of light batter on it. Now, let me make something clear here – It was still pretty good. Just not what we thought it was going to be. A bit of a disappointment, but will make a nice sandwich tomorrow.

                            As always, I probably ordered something I shouldn’t have. It happens a lot. In retrospect, I should have known there was no way a sea bass entrée in LA would be $11 anywhere. Or at least I should have had some sort of doubt.

                            The salsa that comes with the chips is kind of weird. I don’t know how to describe it. Just try it. The first taste is a bit of a surprise to me (chemically? – Is that a word?! Like some sort of cleaner?). After that initial taste it’s great. The chips are great too.

                            We will definitely be returning, but will stick to the raw stuff with some beers ($3) for lunch. Probably what we should have done in the first place. The people working there were very nice. I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the number of customers at such an early age of the restaurant (and apologized). They did a great job though.

                            Thanks for turning us on to this place… a great addition to the Westside.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: tykapfh

                              ya gotta try the Camerones a la pimienta even though it is a cooked dish.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                Noted. Like I said above I usually order incorrectly the first time. I should have just listened to streetgourmetla in the first place! We will be back.

                              2. re: tykapfh

                                Dommy and I were there tonight and agree with your assessment about the folks not being quite ready for prime time. But they were very nice. We had to order several dishes before we actually got to one they had. We ended up with la Coctel de Camarones y Pulpo and Camarones Fritas. Both were very good and we looking forward to try some other dishes when they are all settled.

                                Word of Caution, they are cash only right now which caused me to run to an ATM at the last minute. They say they should have a Credit Card machine soon.

                                Take Care

                                - P.

                                1. re: tykapfh

                                  Hey tykapfh. The salsa is very lime heavy, which is a salsa for seafood, but by itself with chips can be startling.The detergent quality you are picking up comes from the lime.It will meld just fine with a ceviche, etc, or your "chela"(beer).

                                  Salsas for mariscos restaurants are not so important, as hot sauce is the traditional condiment for raw seafood in Mexico.The tasty Huichol, Yucateco, Guacamaya,and 7 Mares are the best seafood hot sauces.Yes, those chips are great!

                                  1. re: tykapfh

                                    Oops, I guess I missed this.The fish you had, if they told you sea bass, was in fact a white sea bass from the Pacific Coast, in spanish, corbina.It's a member of the croaker family, not a Chilean sea bass, if that's what you mean, but indeed a sea bass.These are also in the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific alonside Sinaloa.Hence the price.remember, MC has its own sourcing, so fresh, high quality shrimp and fish from Sinaloa are in the house.

                                  2. Hey folks,wow, that's great that all of you have made it down.If it's any consolation, I've been checking in with them regularly, calling stopping by, I went twice, once they were closed and the second time the fire marshall was there.When I finally got to have my ceviche recently, the only patrons were myself and family.They weren't even using a register and Angie had to ask a family member to help her make change for me.They still don't have the zarandeado going.You are all correct, they weren't expecting a wave at first.

                                    But, until they are up and running, order the raw foods and the cooked shrimp dishes, for fish, WAIT until the zarandeado is ready, mojarra or anything else right now is a waste next to camarones culichi, a la pimienta, chicharron de pescado,camarones checos, or a al cucaracha.

                                    And, the aguachile, and ceviche de camaron are also requisites. They don't even have a phone yet, I believe this drama with the fire marshall has been a tough experience for the family.Anyways, I'm get back from Mexico on Sunday and will check in with them and feel them out for when they will be full steam.

                                    Have I mentioned camarones culichi!? Try that and you will be very happy.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                      i believe that if the fire marshal actually ate some of the food they serve, the 'drama' would be OVER.

                                      i'm going back there for lunch today.
                                      there are worse things to which i could become addicted. . . .

                                    2. i just got back from having the camarone a la diabla.

                                      if you like moderately spicy food, YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS!!

                                      how have i lived without this place?

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        westsidegal, thanks for all the great reports.Have you tried camarones checos yet?Thats another one there that's fabulous, or the chicharron de pescado?

                                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                                          i'll going to try the camaones checos some day when i don't have a date that night. ( they are very garliky.)

                                          i have to say, though, that it is going to be very hard to stray from the camerones a la diabla--eating those today was practically a religious experience.

                                          worshiping at the church of mariscos chentes is likely to reduce my attendance at taqueria sanchez. across the street.. how am i ever going to tear myself away enough to try the newish vegan place up the block?

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            westsidegal.Two more reasons to abandon Taqueria Sanchez.Tacos gobernador-sauteed shrimp and cheese taco with vegetables on a grilled tortilla.Taco de marlin-smoked marlin taco with cheese, grilled tortilla(when they have smoked marlin)

                                            I also had the camarones borrachos this afternoon with Foodand wine.Awesome, profound tequila and light oily sauce,dried chiles.May make you forget, for a moment, camarones a la pimienta.Just a moment, though.

                                            Love your post, btw.

                                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                                              i was there tonight:
                                              1) i confirmed there is NO tomato in the camarones a la diabla. the rich redness is achieved through the red chile peppers.

                                              2) tried, at dommy's suggestion, the Coctel de Camarones y Pulpo. It was magnificent

                                              3) one of my dining partners had the filete de la plancha (plain grilled fish) which was delicious and served with a terrific side of grilled peppers and onions.

                                              i plan to take up permanent residence in the back booth. if anyone else plans to move in to that booth, bring your weapon of choice. . . .
                                              i will be using cash as my main weapon... .

                                              streetgourmetla you have changed my life.
                                              it doesn't sound, though, like you've tried the a la diabla. you MUST try this!!!
                                              i promise i will try all the dishes you recommend.

                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                I was speaking generally about a la diabla, not about Sergio's a la diabla, which I haven't tried at MC.We are makin' our way through this menu.The amazing thing about his cooking is he offers nothing mundane.I saw someone today with a mojarra frita(deep fried whole tilapia), the token seafood dish at most all Mexican restaurants, and it looked absolutely enticing.I can't say that about 99% of the mojarra frita I come across, I usually make it at home when I have the craving, but damn!!

                                                So far I'm convinced that I will be wowed by any plate offered here.I would have been happy with half a dozen solid go to dishes.This place is Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

                                                My tally so far:aguachile, camarones checos, camarones culichis, camarones a la pimienta, camarones borrachos, chicharron de pescado, tacos de marlin, tacos gobernador, camarones al ajillo,ceviche de camaron crudo.

                                                I will go through the entire menu, I'm patiently waiting for pescado zarandeado.

                                                My Sinaloan menu wish list:callo de hacha(raw scallops in lime), a tostada mixta with real abulon(abalone),mignon de camaron(shrimp formed into a filet mignon wrapped with bacon and covered in chihuahua cheese au gratin), and a salsa de chitepin(muy picoso!!)

                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    Alright, alright, ALRIGHT! Done, had it today, and it is as brilliant as any dish I've tried here, the best "a la diabla" I've ever had, anywhere.I ordered mine extra spicy, it's made with a combination chile de arbol and chile california.Exquisite.Mariscos Chente' sauces are tantamount to moles in complexity and focus.I've yet to leave a trace of sauce in any of my dining experiences here.

                                                    My friend ordered the mojarra frita, another over menued and poorly done dish at most restaurants.Here at Chente's, a large magnificent tilapia, perfectly fried, not greasy at all, and stand alone flavor not in any need of condiment except a squirt of lime for ritual.

                                                    Sergio cuts the fish in bite-sized diamond shapes for easy and orderly consumption.Wow!

                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                      i think you ought to be awarded the nobel prize for brilliance in restaurant discovery,
                                                      or maybe be declared pope of chowhound city.

                                                      i will kiss your ring.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        I had to try the shrimp a la diabla last night on my second trip to Mariscos based on your rec and it did not disappoint. i was eating the sauce with a spoon, trying to decide whether it would be indelicate to lick the plate. only bummer is that they must have run out of chips last night because the ones we were served were most definitely store-bought.

                                              2. re: streetgourmetla

                                                I had the Honor and I mean Honor of having lunch with streetgormetla yesterday. After a quick text message or two we were having a Mariscos Lunch. This place is soo good Im still licking my fingers. Beer is ICE COLD, shrimp dishes more than fantastic, chips and salsa a solid extra ( I ate a basket by myself! ) Only thing missing was the Palapa..

                                        2. My lunch today

                                          Camarones borrachos!
                                          The drunk shrimp sauce

                                          Inside the "taco gobernador's" mansion, Sinaloan street tacos at Mariscos Chente

                                          1. Thanks so much for this find streetgourmetla!

                                            Do you know anyhting about the red sauce on the chicharron? It was magnificent.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                              The sauce has a soy base, but I'm not remembering it being so red.Was there a soy flavor in yours?Sergio puts a lot in his sauces, so could be anything, but I will check next time and get back to you.You can always ask Angie, his wife, she speaks perfect english.

                                            2. FINALLY i had a bit of time today and was able to go for a solo lunch. i had the camarones culiche and it was indeed awesome. the cheese / cream / jalapeno sauce was complex and not one-dimensional like most sauces. the dish came with 13 plump, perfectly cooked shrimp, not tough and chewy at all. the dish came with a simple side salad and no rice/beans/tortillas. the shrimp and sauce would seem right at home on an expensive white plate at a fancy restaurant. really impressed that they can deliver such a dish for only $11. will definitely go back, too bad it's so far away!!!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: ceviche

                                                Has anyone been to both locations yet? We went to Inglewood today and wonder if Mar Vista is bigger, stocked with everything on the menu, takes credit cards?

                                                Issues with Inglewood
                                                Not everything on the menu available-no beer (and how we wanted a beer!), nothing to drink but water and tamarind soda
                                                No credit cards because no paper for the machine
                                                No seating because all 4 tables and two counter tools taken by family and friend-none of whom were eating.
                                                Sauces made with a ton of canned margarine, bottled hot sauce and ketchup -no judgment-just wondering if that is normal? We had Camarones y pulpa coctel (ketchup was only flavor in the sauce). Camarones a la diabla (rich sauce but not spicy and very oily from the margerine floating on top). Camarones checo-the garlicky piquant sauce was also buried underneath a thick layer of margarine. I guess I do not like margarine! Shame because the shrimp were plentiful and fresh tasting and love that the heads are attached.

                                                I think the menu may be limited here as well as no fish or tacos were on the menu....

                                                1. re: Densible

                                                  it definitely sounds like the food at the inglewood location is very different from what is being served in mar vista. in particular, there is no layer of oil/margarine on the a la diabla nor on the checo.

                                                  that said, they don't take charge cards in mar vista either. in fact, i would not want them to take charge cards because, given their price/quality/quantity ratios, their margin must be slim and i would rather have the restaurant pocket the extra $.

                                                  mar vista does serve beer (modelo).

                                                  mar vista has plenty of seating at comfortable booths.

                                                  1. re: Densible

                                                    Go to Mar Vista.The locals will support the Inglewood branch just fine.Not be repeat, but the chef, the creator of the menu, the master, is at Mar Vista.

                                                    At the Inglewood restaurant, I only went there while Sergio was located there waiting for the new place to open.I walked across the street to the liquor store and brought my own Pacifico's.

                                                    Bottled hot IS 100% authentic as a condiment for Mexcican seafood cocktails or seafood tostadas.Salsa is not put in cocktails, there are already onions, cilantro, limes,tomatoes, and perhaps some chiles.Ketchup is on the table in case you want more in your cocktail.

                                                    I have no idea why they wouldn't have fish there, or tacos for that matter.At the Mar Vista location there are fish dishes and tacos gobernador, seafood tacos.If you noticed , the Inglewood location has old menus from the original Mar Vista restaurant before it burnt down.

                                                    Go to Mar Vista, bring cash, and you will be in good hands.

                                                2. I went to Mariscos Chente today and was mostly pleased. The aguachiles was a nice surprise with the spicy green fresh sauce over the raw shrimps. Sucking out the innards were the best part (it's gotta be fresh to be enjoyable). The coctel de ostiones (oyster coctail) was also quite good with bits of raw(ish) shrimp and several large oysters. The campechana was also good, but I was a little curious about the chunks of sweet surimi (imitation crab) in there with the octopus and cooked shrimp. It sweetened the coctel nicely, but I wondered if it the appearance of cheap surimi was a substitute for an ingredient they didn't have on hand or if it's made that way. The octopus in there was very good. The filete a la plancha was also a nice piece of fish, crusted with a spiced flour mixture and expertly pan-fried to just the right texture. We were also given a sample of the camarones a la cucaracha on the house which was a nice surprise. These shrimp were deep fried whole with the usual onion/cucumber garnish and sauced with a thinned down worcestershire sauce and given a sprinkling of a chili powder. These shrimp were best eaten whole (shell and all, as well as the head). I might get these or another fried shrimp dish as an appetizer next time. One person in our party has a low tolerance to spice, so I chose items that weren't so challenging in that regard, but I'll try some of the spicier items next time. Overall, it was a good experience.

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: E Eto

                                                    Hey Eto, one thing we've uncovered in our many trips is the depth and complexity of the cooked dishes.You definitely need to check these out.Many have been listed here with several posters.

                                                    Ordering a campechana at a mariscos restaurant is like ordering the california roll at a suchi restaurant.It blows, but it's there for a purpose.The campechana is very popular among the blue collar Mexican crowd, and economics dictates the use of imitation crab here in the US.The folks that order campechanas are saving there money for the 12 pack of Tecate they are about to drink, and aren't going to pay for real crab.If you must order a cocktail, follow Dommy's expert lead and get the octopus and shrimp cocktail, for which she already posted her review.Another option is to ask for the campechana sans surimi.

                                                    There are also several non-spicy cooked shrimp dishes like camarones culichi and camarones borrachos.

                                                    Thanks for the thoughtful report on the filete a la plancha.Nice to know about all these menu options.

                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                      That's interesting about campechana. Are you saying that there's no such thing as a good campechana in LA? That it is a dish that's just dumbed down in its execution because the local population expects it? Since we already had a moundful of camarones with the aguachiles and the cocteles, I figured on getting some kind of filete dish for a little more variety. I figure on checking out some of the mariscos places in east LA for some comparisons.

                                                      1. re: E Eto

                                                        Seafood cocktails are already vehicles for cheap seafood, the flavor base being shrimp broth, Ketchup, and lime.Do sushi chefs put their best cuts in sushi rolls?Campechanas are filling and affordable.Just as in any cuisine, different grades of seafood are used for different purposes.You wouldn't take expensive oysters and put ketchup on them.No, you would have them raw with the minimal amount of interference.

                                                        It's not dumbed down, it's the way it's supposed to be.I never have campechanas here or in Mexico as I'm usually looking for something a little more diverting.The campechana can have many different combinations of seafood, but imitation crab is used in Mexico and the US by the cocteleros(cocktail makers).It's cheap and adds bulk.Many places, even good ones use the surimi in their tostada mixtas, also imitation abalone.I always check for that and request it be omitted.

                                                        But again, the hard working Mexicans of LA are fine with the imitation crab, and I imagine they've accepted it as part of their diet.I haven't found many Mexican crab dishes around LA, just one that does a nice stuffed crab.The closest places that have interesting "real" crab dishes are in Tijuana.

                                                        As much as I avoid cocktails, Dommy has sold me on the octopus and shrimp cocktail, but I will be chasing with the 12 of Tecate.

                                                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                          hmm i never thought of campechanas/coctels as being working-class or blue-collar, i actually always thought of them as "splurge" foods you get to eat on special occasions.

                                                          your description of campechanas/coctels as being havens for lesser-quality seafood seems like it would apply to ceviche as well, since the flavor of the fish/shrimp is often masked by the limon.

                                                          as far as you know, are cocteles and campechanas considered blue collar in mexico, too? or is that just an LA thing?

                                                          1. re: ceviche

                                                            The oyster cocktails at the Inglewood location are made with ketchup too, so not sure how the "cheap" seafood application fits in that case. Is ketchup a cheap or blue collar ingredient? They use fresh oysters and shuck them per order-at least that what I saw done today. In addition, I thought the quality of the shrimp and octopus was outstanding-even if "cheap". I expect the oysters to be of similar quality. Maybe next time we go, I'll ask for no ketchup and add hot sauce to the broth and lime juice. One more thing I forgot to mention-they also asked if we wanted the cocktail hot or cold. Interesting.

                                                            1. re: Densible

                                                              Well, as far as cocktails go, I fell safe in saying that Mariscos Chente will be better than most if not all at making cocktails, in Mar Vista, and perhaps at the Inglewood location too.Though,I dont' understand why anyone would ask to dump shucked oysters in with ketchup.Why aren't you having them au natural?Yes, Dommy said the cocktail you describe was outstanding.What I'm saying is you are having seafood with cocktail sauce.Why not try the ceviche or the aguachile if you have a thing about ketchup?These are the better dishes, and you don't even have to hold the ketchup.There are a ton of incredible plates people here are ordering and reporting about.The campechana and cocktails are the lowest rung on Mariscos Chente's menu, in respect to the other offerings.They are the lowest expression of Mexican seafood.A Mexican cocktail has ketchup, that's the way it's supposed to be. From a business standpoint, cocktails are easy to make, profitable, and a popular item.

                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                Good points... just to make it simple...

                                                                As a coastal Mexican gal... two points...

                                                                1) Krab is used in Coctels THROUGHOUT Mexico. Even at nicer Marisco's places... I think it has less to do with the price, but more to do with the availablity and labor that it takes to shell crab. If you are going to offer crab on your menu... you might as well make it easier on you...

                                                                2) Cocktail sauce in Mexico IS Ketchup (I'm not sure if there is even Horseraddish widely available in Mexico)... I knew Chente was serious about serving its clientelle when they dated put out whole bottles of ketchup on the table... now I squirt to my hearts content... LOL!


                                                                2) Ketchup

                                                                1. re: Dommy

                                                                  Absolutely. When you put down guacamaya, huichol, and catsup, we're talking cocteleros de verdad.

                                                                  Yeah, I would say there is definitely an acceptance of the flava of krab in cocteles. I've reached for the Del Monte more than once myself over the years.I'm gunning for that pulpo con camaron ASAP, and will also squirt to my hearts content.

                                                            2. re: ceviche

                                                              They are blue collar across the board, just like shrimp cocktails here are big at weddings, cruiseships, and Vegas buffets, for the out of towner that screams when in sight of shrimp cocktail"They've got shrimp cocktail, and it's free!!"

                                                              Ceviche is not masked by lime when done properly.Notice Sergio's use of lime in his aguachile and ceviche.He doesn't overdo it.Mariscos Puerto Esperanza went to town on lime and spices and destoyed their aguachile, everything wilted and overly acidic.The ceviche de camaron at Chente is made to order, no standing tub of ceviche.It's done that way in Sinaloa, Nayarit, and all over Mexico.The supermarket ceviches and the cheap stuff isn't high quality.Fish on the other hand would need some time with lime, but the kind of fish affects taste and texture.The Sinaloans know which fish to use.There is a stand in Ensenada that does ceviche of sea urchin, abulone, cod, among others.Their fish ceviche is marinated in lime, chopped, and has more of a blended taste, but the fish is good quality and doesn't sit too long.They refresh as the day goes along.

                                                              Campechanas, and cocktails in general are made for everyday consumption, a street cart food.The better places have less cocktail action and more fresh seafood,ceviches, and specialties like aguachiles and callo de hacha. The pedestrian carts have more cocktail, and one tier below are the clamatos.Cocktails made with Clamato, no cocktail sauce prep.

                                                              Diva Diane Kennedy only hated two things, shortcuts, and Mexican cocktail sauce.But cocktails can be cool, I like to make them at home for friends sometimes, they're quite easy, except cooking the octopus.Campechanas make a great football game type of food as well.

                                                              Have you had Mariscos Chente's ceviche de camaron yet?It is divine. But, whatever, I will check out Sergio's cocktail of octopus and shrimp as an appetizer to share with a friend, gotta save room for other things.There are far more enticing foods here, though.

                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                I think that's a bit of a caricature of what shrimp cocktails represent. There can also be high-brow shrimp cocktails as well, especially at quality steak houses, or if you go to some of the famous seafood restaurants in SF, they make some mean cocktails whose quality surpasses those garden varieties you mention upthread. Also, ketchup by itself doesn't make a food low-brow. You seem to inject your own prejudices here when it's not really warranted. But we get where you're coming from. So that's why I asked if there's not a good version of campechana anywhere. By your definition, there isn't, because a campechana IS low-brow food. I wonder if that's a general consensus among the local Mexican population or if you'll find disagreement. I'm curious about that.

                                                                Since it's difficult to read tone in these posts, I'm not being facetious in any way. I'm just trying to understand these attitudes and gauge how widespread they are. That you're getting some resistance seems to show some disagreement, but what do I know.

                                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                                  Tone is fine here and needs no explanation.Somos cyber amigos!I include myself among the local Mexican population and dine in every Mexican hood there is here , and have family in Mexico, and have traveled extensively through 17 states in Mexico.My personal opinions are based on these experiences.

                                                                  I know one place that does the type of cocktail you speak of in Tijuana called the almeja shot- chocolate clam, a dab of cocktail sauce, and vodka.This isn't the norm, street cocktail stands in Mexico and mariscos restaurants in LA make the campechana of the people. And it is a good campechana, I'm not saying it's bad, I'm saying if that's all your looking for in a place like Chente's, then you are missing alot.

                                                                  For a guy who shines shoes, drives a taxi, or works as a cop in TJ, a campechana is a fine meal for the money, and it is good when made well.Anyways, spend some time in the restaurants in Zona Rio, and then walk the streets below La Revo and check out the carretas(street carts).

                                                                  Anyways, it's not low brow, it's naco food, haha.

                                                                  Speaking of resistance.How can one resist those aguachiles, camarones a la diabla, or camarones borrachos?That's my question.Enjoy your campechanas and cocktails, I will be waiting in line for Sergio's pescado zarandeado.

                                                          2. re: E Eto

                                                            if you take a look at the price of 'real' crab meat, even the wholesale price, it becomes immediately clear that this ingredient can't be included in restaurant dishes that are sold for under $15.

                                                            of course, you can get real crab sushi, with about 2 tablespoons of crab meat divided between two pieces of sushi for about $10 or so--that is a different story.

                                                        2. re: E Eto

                                                          i went there today too! what time were you there? i was wondering if there were other chowhounds in there at the same time as me!!!

                                                          1. re: ceviche

                                                            i was there about 1-2pm too!
                                                            holy aguachile! that stuff is delicious!

                                                        3. i hate to do this, but. . .

                                                          went to Mariscos chente tonight, and for the first time sergio was not cooking.
                                                          the food was very different. it looked similar, but did not taste similar to the stuff that sent me into orbit all the other times i've been there.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                            There's a younger guy I saw helping the times I've been, was it him?What did you have?Thanks for the info.When Sergio isn't there you should probably stick with the most common items.It's never been the case, he has always been there when I've gone, before in Inglewood and since moving back to Mar Vista.

                                                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                              i didn't watch the kitchen, so i don't know who cooked the food.
                                                              we both had the a la diabla.
                                                              very greasy, oniony, salty.
                                                              unbalanced/flat flavor

                                                              instead of using a tortilla and a spoon to sop up every drop of sauce, ended up trying to blot the sauce off the shrimp.. . .

                                                              maybe i should order the shrimp/octopus cocktail when sergio isn't there. . . .

                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                Yeah, cocktails, ceviche,oysters, aguachiles should be fine without Sergio.Oft ordered plates like a la pimienta or a la cucuracha.Tacos gobernador.He's always there, so must have been important.I'm hoping he was out getting the zarandeado equipment together or something like that.I feel your pain on the sauce, after having it still fresh in my senses.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  Sounds like what we had at the Inglewood location.

                                                            2. Finally got healthy and the two of us made it in there last Friday. Westsidegal we must have been in there the same time you were. We ordered four shrimp dishes.

                                                              Aguachile – Although I found the lime a tad heavy in this dish, I really liked the overall flavor and texture. When I go out to sushi, I absolutely love sweet shrimp and this dish sort of reminded me of that. The sweetness of the shrimp along with the salsa was just wonderful. I really enjoyed sucking all the innards from the head.

                                                              Diabla – My wife loves mole. Interestingly enough, just like SGLA mentioned above, she commented that this dish reminded her of a good mole with the different layers of complexity and taste. Smoky spicy, all kinds of stuff dancing and swirling around the tastebuds. We were saving our bread just to sop up the sauce.

                                                              Ajo – We love garlic and this like a scampi dish on steroids. But yet the garlic didn't overwhelm the taste of the shrimp. Finely minced garlic in a rich butter like sauce. The other dish we were sopping up with the bread.

                                                              Cucaracha – Much like the chinese dish of fried salted shrimp, we ate these whole shells, heads and all. Fried perfectly with no oily heaviness and dusted with spices I couldn't identify, the meat inside was still moist and tender while the outside was crispy crackly.

                                                              Four dishes for the two of us, a beer each, plenty of chips, salsa and some bread came to $50 before tax and tip. Good deal.

                                                              We want to come back here and work our way to the menu. I love Octopus and Dommy's description intrigued me. That and the pimiento are definitely on the list next.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Jase

                                                                I was there with a Foodandwine from about 2:45-sometime after 4 on Friday. Sounds like you had an awesome meal.You're on the right track on the aguachile.Chente is lighter with the lime than most places, there has to be enough to cook as it's made to order.I just shake it off a little over the plate to remove excess lime, the best way to enjoy.You and Dommy are right, the sweetness of the Sinaloan shrimp really set things off and provide a great play between sauce and camaron.Unique.

                                                                Sounds like all our paths shall cross soon enough.I'll be as regular at MC as a guy from North Hollywood can be in Mar Vista.

                                                              2. Thank you so much for this recommendation everyone. I took some friends and went for lunch today. We had camerones a pimiento (everyone's favorites), camerones culichi (jalapeno sour cream -cheese sauce)(no shells on this one), camerones la diabla, and camarones checa (vinegar-garlic sauce). All were delicious although I thought the camerones checa were a bit vinegary for my taste. Also, right next door is Angel Maid Bakery that features some excellent cream/custard puffs so leave room for desert.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: FamishedLady

                                                                  Thanks for sharing your experience FamishedLady.The camarones culichi is made with poblano chiles, milk, and crema mexicana.Sinfully delicious.

                                                                  1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                    the cook last week told me it was crema, jalapenos and cheese. maybe he lied to me b/c he thought i was a spy or something? either way they were delicious!!!

                                                                    1. re: ceviche

                                                                      I would take him for his word.I didn't inquire, usually this type of a crema sauce uses poblano.Don't know how he keeps such a mild flavor with jalapeno, obviously the membrane and seeds are removed and it's used sparingly.Interesting, thanks for the info.

                                                                      1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                        The cream would kill some of the spiciness of the jalapeno in the cooking process... that is why it's probably so mild...


                                                                2. Regional cooking done with excellent ingredients and finesse. Others have described flavors in enough details to do them justice so I'll just say that this place is fantastic. It's special. Give it all the business you can. Slam it. Tell you friends they have to go or you'll disown them. Just do what you need to do to keep this place open.

                                                                  1. It's on!!! Pescado zarandeado has arrived.This afternoon I watched Sergio cut up our robalo(snook), splay it open and throw it on the grill with his marinade of mayo, chipotle, mustard, and...............well, he just smiled and stopped talking.OK, secret of the chef."I could tell you but....I am holding a large knife."

                                                                    A 2 kilo fish was delivered to our table, tender, delicious, the best ever.Pescado zarandeado doesn't get better than this.there are different preparations out there, I've encountered so many over the years here and in Mexico.Sergio is also master of the grill.It's available every day.

                                                                    Sergio prepping fresh robalo from Mazatlan

                                                                    let the grilling begin

                                                                    pescado zarandeado

                                                                    It was $36 for two kilos of pescado zarandeado, 4 people could share this, 3 of us were stuffed and had to take some home.Two of us were eating like wilverines and still coudn't finish.

                                                                    Tips for a better experience:
                                                                    Mexican restaurants that cater to Mexicans-If you want something just ask.They bring the things Mexicans need, if you need extra silverware or tortillas, just ask.I would like some tortillas.Pick up the shrimp with your fingers if you want, or a tortilla.Stab it with a fork and bite.There is no ATM, bring cash. Ask for the check, just because you look bored they won't automatically come.The Mexican clientele isn't in a rush, if you are flag down Angie or the other gal and ask for your check.If you sit for 3 hours it won't come, ask.They start up the rice around 10:30AM to be ready by 11:30 or so, if you order rice at 11AM it won't be ready because no Mexican is eating rice at their restaurant at that time.

                                                                    This restaurant has been around for a long time, it started with Magdalena's husband in Mexico, they do know their customer.About two times a month Magdalena, the owner and mother-in-law of Sergio, drives to Tijuana, catches a bus to Mazatlan driven by a family member, picks up 50 kilos of fresh seafood from Mazatlan, gets back in the bus the next day for another 24 hour bus ride to TJ, legally passes her seafood through customs, and delivers it to Sergio's hands.

                                                                    Sergio takes the day off on Tuesdays, but Magdalena is in the kitchen those days, she can cook too, so no worries.Sergio is prepping all the sauces for the Mar Vista and Inglewood locations, but this isn't TGI Friday's, there will be variance in cooking, but the flavors should be intact.Again, I've only been there when Sergio has been cooking, so I can't vouch for it.

                                                                    But Frommtron said it best, and in fewer words! He's right, and all the others who get how special this place is:westsidegal, dommy, Jase, ceviche, and others.

                                                                    Next time I'm in Sinaloa, which will be soon, I will be comparing their cooking to Mariscos Chente.

                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                      Who was there this afternoon before us taking pictures and asking very detailed questions on his second visit?Could it be you exilekiss?

                                                                      1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                        wow, you hit the nail on the head. that's exaxtly what i was thinking regarding service. they don't bring the check until you SPECIFICALLY ask for it. or else you just might be sitting there for the next 3 hrs or so.

                                                                        what does the chef sergio look like? i'm thinking it was him in the kithcne that day, saturday, speciffically, but don't have a clue otherwise.

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          That's Sergio in the picture above.He works everyday except Tuesday, and Magdalena cooks that day, the owner and co-founder.

                                                                          It's easy, make eye contact and utter these words,"la cuenta "Or, flash the international check please gesture.But, THEY will only bring the check if they're closing.A lot less frustrating if you're more assertive.In the Mexican clubs down in the hoods that have the guys with the hats, boots, and belt buckles(usually band or ranchera), they grab a girls hand and pull her out on the floor without asking!

                                                                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                            sounds like parts of brazil too.

                                                                            the waitress was eating her own lunch at the time so when i got up to approach the kitchen she new exactly what i was looking for.

                                                                            hopefully the chef is there today, monday, as now i really want to try it agian. well see.

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              Sergio should be in.If you are alone, just try the pescado zarandeado and ask for the smallest fish he has, maybe there's a 1.5 kilo fish.Better to have a friend, even a whole 2 kilo fish is pretty substantial for two big eaters.Yeah, you can't see his face too well in the photos but you get the idea.If in doubt just ask, but from my conversation with them yesterday, Tuesday is the only day Sergio takes off.Nice of the mother-in-law to give him ONE day:)

                                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                Yep, nice, we should all be so lucky.

                                                                                did you or someone else say that there is mayonaisse in the sauce of the pescado zarandeado, not a mayonaisse fan?

                                                                                what is the 1.5 kilo fish? what type of fish is that? the pescado zarandeado?


                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                  The mayo is just fat used in the grilling, you aren't going to get a heavy mayo flavor, but that is common in Nayarit/Sinaloa pescado zarandeado.You get a real flavorful and expertly cooked fish from Sergio, many other places are saucy or have too much tomato, MC has no tomato in the prep.My friends wife is from Rosario,Sinaloa and cooks her's in a similar way, her family's recipe.It's the grand whole fish dish of Sinaloa and Nayarit, definitely worth trying at least once.A pescado zarandeado with a six of Pacifico or a nice Valle de Guadalupe chenin blanc or blanc de blancs on the beach is one of my favorite past times in Mexico.If you're worried about it, bring the friends to share so you'll have an out with your plan B, ceviche.But, it's amazing.

                                                                        2. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                          It must matter if the pescado zarandeado is cooked over gas or charcoal. It looks like Chente is gas powered. Based on photos alone, I like the looks of the place mentioned earlier by Erik M, Mariscos El Kora de Nayarit. What's the word on that place?

                                                                          1. re: E Eto

                                                                            Everything matters, for sure.The fish is from Mazatlan, ingredients matter, the marinade is divine, also matters, and the chef is unrivaled here in LA for this style of cuisine, that also matters.I didn't get a good look at what Sergio has under the grill, too excited by the prospect of having his pz, but Sergio knows what he's doing.He wouldn't cook the zarandeado at the Inglewood location because of the limitations in the kitchen.I'm no grill expert, but he made it happen.It's brilliant and as good or better than the best I've had in Sinaloa.Charcoal alone desn't make a pz, it still has to be cooked properly and have flavor.

                                                                            I will surely be checking out the competition for pz, Los Koritas is next on my list.But be certain that all these places are checking each other out.Los Koritas, the son of the owner hits places all over to A and B their food.Magdalena, the owner of MC checks out places in LA, Tijuana(largest group of intermal migrants in TJ are Sinaloans), Sinaloa, and Nayarit.MC has gone out of their way to make the best.Ultimately, "el sabor" is the most imporant criteria.

                                                                            1. re: E Eto

                                                                              i think cook's illustrated said that good gas grills are almost the functional equivalent of charcoal/wood, the only disadvantage being that gas doesn't normally get quite as hot as the other two. however i would guess that with a whole grilled fish the fire wouldn't need to be SUPER DUPER hot, and gas would probably be pretty close in terms of performance. wood might give off some smoky flavor, but my uneducated guess is that the fish wouldn't be on the grill long enough to get significant smoke.

                                                                              then again i haven't been back to MC since going for the first time last week, so i should get off the computer and head over there ASAP. less yackin, more snackin!!!

                                                                              1. re: E Eto

                                                                                BTW, I finally got a look at the photos,Eric M does a great sequence, love that.But did you read his marinade notes, get a good look at the fish, and look at the menu?Since when is salsa huichol and lime a zarandeado marinade?Besides looking at the notes I can see the hot sauce drops on the prep table.Sinaloa and Nayarit style has fat:mayo, olive oil, butter.That's why the overcooked "looking" fish at Kora de Nayarit "looks" dry.And, a less fatty fish bought locally.The menu at Kora de Nayarit it a coctel and tostada house, nothing distinctive or interesting.Los Koritas in Watts has a better menu, well executed food, and a real nice "looking" zarandeado.

                                                                                It's hard to be objective about my photo at Chente, but you can see the glistening fatty, flesh, not a dry morsel in sight.And, it was the same in person.

                                                                                Huichol and lime...........get to Chente.I'll try Kora de Nayarit sometime with open mind.It will be fun to experience the outdoor vibe and pata de mula and beer are always a good thing.

                                                                                1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                  If, based on my pictorial report alone, you've decided that the pescado sarandeado at Mariscos El Kora de Nayarit is not your cup of tea, then perhaps you'd consider the other specialist I highlighted in that same report, namely Playas de Nayarit in South El Monte. Just like MEKdN, PdN (1) makes weekly trips to Mexico to procure the fish, and (2) grills their purchase over imported Mexican mesquite. Where PdN (greatly) differs, though, is in their marinade treatment, which involves a goodly amount of the fat, i.e., oil, you so greatly prize. [Mayonnaise is my guess but I'm far from certain.]

                                                                                  Anyway, I'm not sure what you meant when you said that MEKdN uses "a less fatty fish bought locally." You are guessing as much, or what? As I stated above (and in my initial report), Señor Lopez, the owner of MEKdN, makes weekly trips to Mexico to pick up the fish. And, I know this because he told me himself. [To put a very fine point on it, he told me that he is met by a driver from Nayarit in Tijuana. Does that make it "local" in your book? What have I missed?]

                                                                                  NB: I have not been to Mariscos El Kora de Nayarit or Playas de Nayarit in months. Truth be told, I have not been in Los Angeles in months. Five months to be exact.

                                                                                  My initial report:


                                                                                  My Playas de Nayarit photoset:



                                                                                  1. re: Erik M

                                                                                    Hello Erik M.I was referring to E. Eto's judging your photos as being great without having gone himself, and your notes about a salsa huichol and lime marinade and dry "looking" photos.It perplexes me how people refer to places and recommend places they haven't tried. He had initially taken issue with my photo also without having gone to Mariscos Chente, which this post is about.If you read the stream I was "second guessing", E Eto was guessing.

                                                                                    Fat in the marinade is not "so prized" by me as it is essential and tradition.My experience with pz comes from visiting countless shacks and restaurants throughout Sinaloa before ever having it in LA.MAriscos Chente is the only place I know that nails it

                                                                                    I will go check out both of your places and have already made plans to do so, since you are the only other one to mention pz seriously.Next time you're in town check out Mariscos Chente.

                                                                            2. Thanks to this post, I dragged some co-workers with me to try out the Mar Vista location at lunch today.

                                                                              I had the Camarones a la pimienta and it was finger-lickin good. I'm usually not a big fan of black pepper, but oh man was this good. I was swishing around the rice that came with it in the left-over sauce, it was that good.

                                                                              I had a piece of someone else's Camarones a la diablo and this might be my next choice when I revisit. It had a complex and slow heat, which I liked.

                                                                              We seemed to be the only diners there at first, but two more parties trickled in as we ended our lunch.

                                                                              They're still cash only but there's an ATM if you walk about a block south, in the same plaza as the donut shop on Culver and Centinela (which is across the street from the police station). There's also a closer ATM about half a block south but across the street, on the west side of Centinela in a corner-market if you're daring enough to cross the street without any crosswalks.

                                                                              I'm definitely going to visit again and try their other shrimp plates.

                                                                              1. does anybody know their hours?
                                                                                i was there last night at 8:30 and it was closed, but 2 weeks ago i was there at 8:30 on a saturday night and it was open.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                  well, sat nite might be late nite for them to be open until 830pm.

                                                                                  and other nights are weekdays, earlier closing dinner hours.

                                                                                2. finally got around to visiting mariscos chente and i was SUPER psyched about it...which was maybe my problem

                                                                                  i don't get it, it wasn't THAT good. had the camarones aguachile which kinda just tasted of lime. it wan't NOT fresh, but the lime overpowered any fresh seafoody goodness.

                                                                                  also had the camarones a la pimienta which were pretty good. a little oily but pretty good.

                                                                                  my friend had some other dish with shrimp that was entirely forgettable. it wasn't the same prawns as the camarones a la pimienta and was drowned in a ketchupy tasting tomato sauce.

                                                                                  i was also a little surprised by the prices. i guess good quality seafood is expensive, but compared to its peers which i would assume to be mom and pop mexican joints, it's a little pricey. i guess it means they aren't skimping on the quality but i was a little surprised when my bill came out to 20 dollars a person.

                                                                                  don't think i'll be going again.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: lakeshow318

                                                                                    Interesting review.

                                                                                    an aguachile is shrimp in lime with chile, a bit of seasoning, fresh purple onion and cucumber, period.It tastes of lime because the raw shrimp is doused with lime which stays with the dish before serving.I mean that's what it is, how would it not taste of lime?Translated =shrimp in chile water.Anyways, this a great version of something you don't like.

                                                                                    Yes, as described in several posts the a la pimienta has oil in the sauce, a pepper oil.

                                                                                    The cocktail you ordered is made with ketchup.............that is the flavor base.If you don't like too much ketchup, never order a mexican seafood cocktail.

                                                                                    These dishes are reasonably priced given the sourcing and neighborhood.Where else will you get an aguachile with Mazatlan shrimp for about $13. No where here.

                                                                                    Your assumption is inaccurate, its peers are other Sinaloa and Nayarit style restaurants in LA for which it has no equal known to me.It safe to say you don't like this style of mexican regional seafood cuisine.

                                                                                    What is your idea of a good Sinaloa/Nayarit style mariscos restaurant?

                                                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                      i'll have to try their mexican shrimp cocktail, i actually like the light-watered down ketchup in shrimp cocktails.

                                                                                      1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                        whoa... just was reporting on my personal experience at this place. i'm sure that this is a great restaurant but obviously there seems to be some inconsistencies. maybe chef sergio wasn't there. dunno.

                                                                                        i "get" that mariscos aguachile is supposed to taste "of lime and chile" but i didn't taste anything else. again, maybe my taste buds suck in comparison to yours. the pictures, which were beautiful, really put my hopes up high as i LOVE raw or live shrimp.

                                                                                        i actually liked the mariscos a la pimienta but they were a little oily. they're prob supposed to be that way.

                                                                                        i really forget the name of the dish my friend got - had tiny shrimps in a tomato sauce with maybe some onions, served with rice. a testament was that he ate maybe 1/2 of it and stopped.

                                                                                        hey, i probably picked the wrong dishes. the whole fish sounds interesting, and maybe i'll give it another shot. it'd be nice if they had little descriptions on the menu, even in spanish. but i gather that the main clientele prob know what each dish is already.

                                                                                        1. re: lakeshow318

                                                                                          I'm not saying your taste buds suck, but it just seemed like a style not to your liking, which is understandable.

                                                                                          The best way to have an aguachile, which can be over limed, MC doesn't do this, is to shake the excess lime off, that's what I do.The lime is necessary to cook.And , this is different to other raw shrimp dishes, like the Japanese style which is more subtle.You can also have a chip with the aguachile shrimp to balance or with beer.Aguachile and Pacifico!Proper eating can change the experience

                                                                                          Yes, it's a mexican clientele mostly, so there won't be descriptions, there are plenty in this thread, though.Sounds like your friend had camarones rancheros, not the cocktail.The whole fish is something altogether different that's for sure.

                                                                                          Sergio was there.Lakeshow318, what do you like in a seafood dish or mexican seafood?Maybe we can steer you into something more to your liking.But, try the aguachile with a chip, the salt will balance that lime, same with the ceviche.Did I mention beer?!But relax, I'm sarcastic by design, just tryin' to help some folks understand this type of place.Quite different for the usual mex-american model.

                                                                                          1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                            do you know their hours of operation?

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                              Hey westsidegal, I thought the hours were pretty set, but it's definitely island time if you are getting different hours when you go.They will get a land line soon so when they do call in advance.Saturday and Sunday afternoons just feel right to me for mariscos, so that's mostly when I go.The soccer, the raza with their ratio of 8 beers to a coctel.It just feels like Mexico in there.

                                                                                              I thought they went until 9PM or something like that, but I keep forgetting.Hope to bump into you there sometime.

                                                                                    2. Terrific coctel de camarones y pulpa yesterday around noon. But we were the only customers for an hour. And we almost drove on by because they've got a hand-printed sign on the closed glass doors that makes it appear as if the restaurant is closed. Actually, the sign just says they're cash-only, no credit cards, but you can't tell that from a car. Only my reading of these Chowhound posts motivated me to hop out of the car and make sure that they were not truly closed.

                                                                                      1. SHRIMP DIABLA!!!!! I have had it 5 times in 2 weeks, it is sooooo good!!
                                                                                        I order it with the heads off, gringo style, try this and you will fall in love!

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: love2chow

                                                                                          i had a similar reaction to the a la diabla AND to the checo.
                                                                                          now i'm becoming compulsive about the moharra frita. (sp?)

                                                                                          1. re: love2chow

                                                                                            But the heads lend such wonderful flavor to the dish. Even if you don't eat them, they add a richness to the sauce. I say, get used to the heads and you'll fall in love.

                                                                                            1. re: Frommtron

                                                                                              Frommtron speaks the truth.The "cascaras" are used to make stock.They will up the flavor level noticably.

                                                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                I read this thread a few weeks ago, thanks sgla. Last week I was in LA with a friend driving down Imperial Hwy (I think). Suddenly, I saw a Mariscos Chente sign and yelled out that we must go there! We walked inside and decided to sit on the patio. There were several vacant tables covered with empty soup bowls and Corona bottles. We looked at the menu and decided on ceviche de cameron as we just wanted a snack.
                                                                                                My friend ordered a Corona and they were out (previous diners must have consumed them all as evidenced on the empty tables lol). She settled for a can of Modelo. The chips were great and strong green salsa. The ceviche was good. While we were eating our waitress brought us out a complimentary plate of cameron de pimiento. Another friendly woman that spoke english came by to see if we were enjoying the dish. She seemed to be the one cooking when we left.
                                                                                                The cameron pimiento was ok, a bit oily and the fish did not taste super fresh. BUT is was extremely nice of them to bring us this dish on the house and we left a generous tip to show our appreciation. I had a feeling this might not be the place sgla raved about, it was good but not as spectacular as had been described. When I was able to go online I found the location I read about was in Mar Vista!!

                                                                                                Is the one I visited owned by the same people? There was a good sized patio out back with a duplex apartment.

                                                                                                I found it amusing I was at the wrong location but was brought a complimentary item... you never know what can happen! :)

                                                                                                1. re: soulimar

                                                                                                  Hey Soulimar.Sounds like you may have gone to the wrong place, Chente is a pretty popular name for mariscos or tacos places.The other MC is on Inglewood Ave. near the corner of Century Bl., but you want to go to Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista period.I think I saw a place with the Chente name on Imperial Hwy. as well, if its the one I'm thinking of.They are not affiliated with Mariscos Chente.

                                                                                                  Great story though, check back when you make it to Mar Vista.

                                                                                          2. I cannot begin to read through all of this thread! But I wanted to report that finally I made it in here with family a-tow. It was late and I was the butt of much amusement because two days ago while travelling I specifically nixed places like this, with the sort of greeny-glow permeating through to the outdoors and many lone males sitting around hunched -- nary a family in sight. It's true, the place was quite creepy tonight for a family with young girls but one thing was different from our situation a couple days ago: I knew (or at least suspected) the food was good.

                                                                                            And good it was! Even that green salsa was delicious. We're -- or at least I'm -- not all that sophisticated about ordering and I was focused on keeping my kids happy so I just let dh choose two items; a coctail with octopus and oyster and shrimp and a cooked shrimp dish whose name I cannot remember -- it had "b's" in it! Sorry. It was a spicy red sauce and came with rice and was absolutely completely delicious. Like the salsa there were wonderful, subtle and distinct layers of flavor all throughout the dish. Yummee. The cocktail was delicious but less special -- as I gather may be some consensus on this board down below; can't tell because I don't think I'll be reading through 100 postings tonight!

                                                                                            But I wanted to mention that this really isn't a kid-place. There is nothing on the menu but fish and in particular shrimp, consequently it is pricey and not all that appealing if your puppies happen to be sleepy and feeling less chowish than usual, as was the case for us this evening. But let me immediately add that while this was clearly not their intention, to be a family joint, they came through beautifully for us. The chef, whether Sergio or not I cannot say, he was young-ish and round faced, made my kids a couple cheese quesadillas each with lots of nice slices of cucumbers around too. And when the TV started showing some guy on a bed who'd lost his brains in a gorey mess I did ask whether it was possible to alter the showing and the waitress was very sweet about complying immediately. The other lone guy in the place with his eyes glued to the TV seemed never to flicker his expression when the channel switched to something stupid on the Disney Channel. It was all weird but hugely appreciated by me. Obviously I brought us to a place I really shouldn't have, but they covered for us graciously and deliciously so I at last, got my chance to try this place.

                                                                                            Thanks all for pointing me here and to all you ultra-regulars, if ever you get the chance to thank them for me for accommodating my girls "after-hours" (6:30 pm), I would really appreciate your letting them know of my gratitude.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: aliris

                                                                                              fwiw, many times i've been there when the place was crawling with families, so they are not at all unfamiliar with having children around.

                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                At night=6:30pm? I guess I can believe it -- Monday nights are traditionally slow for restaurants, so maybe we were just there on an off-time, school-night, etc.. But really, the gorey slasher-flick 6 feet from the 8 yo's head wasn't comforting ... or even an experience-stretching event I feel anyone needs to test! Whatever... as good as this place was, we probably won't return rapidly just because of the cost-thing (though the nice waitress and/or chef charged us just $1 per I think for the kids!); that alone for us and perhaps many families renders this a special-occasion type place.

                                                                                                I'm wondering what gets easier: stretching one's comfort zone or dining with kids? When one's comfort zone involves a third party, namely one's kids, I find it is quite robust -- not much stretches there and likely never will! But I heartily agree and am already the grateful recipient of improved comfort dining out with kids. The only trouble I foresee is that while their manners may improve our families' budget for their growing needs can't! Oh well....

                                                                                                BTW & fwiw, I enjoyed my camorones at this Mexicon seafood establishment: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/596503 more, though the ambience may just have made the difference. That is, 'enjoyment' is composed of more than simply fantastic food, though I realize chowhound weights the fanstasm-quality highest.

                                                                                                1. re: aliris

                                                                                                  The prices are dirt cheap in regards to quality of ingredients and excellence. It is actually cheaper than similar restaurants with far inferior cuisine.Most plates are in the $12-$14 range for imported seafood from Sinaloa.

                                                                                                  It is a seafood place that actually serves seafood.Yes, that is true.

                                                                                                  A cultural note.First, I'm not saying one is better than the other, so please don't misunderstand.In general

                                                                                                  Latino family culture is more adult centric(kids eat what they are given-more access to a variety of foods)
                                                                                                  American family culture is more child centric(kids are allowed choose foods and reject them)

                                                                                                  The majority of the familes that eat at MC which westsidegal is talking about are Mexican, with which they are quite familiar.Sergio and Angie's children are there all the time.

                                                                                                  1. re: aliris

                                                                                                    when they get old enough, they won't want to be seen with you, so your 'going-out' options will increase by leaving them with their friends eating a pizza and playing a computer game while you and your husband eat good food all over town.

                                                                                                2. re: aliris

                                                                                                  Congratulations on having an experience outside of your comfort zone. It gets easier.

                                                                                                3. Their number is disconnected right now -anybody got an update or an alternate #?

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Thi N.

                                                                                                    What do you need to know?

                                                                                                    you might try calling the The number at Mariscos Chente, Inglewood 310-672-0226

                                                                                                  2. On my third of three wonderful meals I finally had an amazing 2 kilo zarandeado with some friends last night...wow-wee!!!!!! Certainly the best grilled fish I have in AGES.

                                                                                                    Two shrimp dishes were also great...the diablo and chipotle were fantastic.

                                                                                                    My one complaint was the cocktail of shrimp and octopus which was way short on octopus compared to previous visits. We came late for MC, 8:15, so they probably were out of stock. They were definately out of rice.

                                                                                                    BONUS TIP: we took a chance that it would beOK to bring a pitcher of margaritas and the waitress told us no problem. Very nice.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                      i think you just gave me a way to convince my non-seafood-eating wife to come with me to chente!!!

                                                                                                      1. re: ceviche

                                                                                                        I suggest bringing enough for Sergio and Maria to have a glass...or me, if I happen to be there!!!! No corkage.

                                                                                                    2. Went to Sergio's hometown, Los Mochis, this past weekend.I went to Playa Maviri for pescado zarandeado, the best place for this, and recommended by Sergio himself.This was my second time at this beach, and all I can say is, Maricos Chente has as good a version of pescado zarandeado as Playa Maviri,Sinaloa.Sergio's light chipotle marinade makes for an even more satisfying experience though, than just a straight Nayarit preparation.Have you tried the pescado zarandeado at MC lately?Hope you get to.

                                                                                                      1. I'd like to add camarones rancheros, and al ajillo to the list of great dishes at MC. The usually trite rancheros in other kitchens had a wonderful base of caldo de camaron prefectly balanced with tomato.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. What kind of hours do they keep - are they apt to be open for, say, Sunday lunch? :D

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                            Yes they're open Sunday for lunch.I believe they're open daily from 11AM 'til 8:30 or 9PM, depending on customers.I stopped by yesterday at 11:30AM and there were already customers. It's lunch time as I write, so provecho!

                                                                                                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                              We went just in case they were open, and just got back. Really great ceviche - raw shrimp with tomato, chilies, lemon, cilantro, cucumber. Huge portion even split. We also got the pimiento (black pepper) cooked shrimp which was quite good - lots of gorgeous black pepper - with a quite tasty rice and fresh cucumber slices.

                                                                                                              Several people ordered a seafood cocktail type thing in a margarita glass type dish that looked a lot like the ceviche but was prettier and maybe a more manageable size.

                                                                                                              The green salsa that comes with chips at the table was very nice and hot. Also lime halves. :)

                                                                                                              There are five bottles of hot sauce stationed on each table, two of which were habanero. (And well-used.)

                                                                                                              Very nice servers. One mentioned, when we brought it up, that they are indeed looking into a liquor license with the idea of a small bar along the wall where the cooking area is.

                                                                                                              It's the kind of food that is wonderful with a Pacifico, and also makes you think about spending the rest of the day pool- or beach-side with a real, fresh-banana daiquiri or margarita(s).

                                                                                                              The raw shrimp was beautiful - no off taste whatsoever, tasted straight off the boat. We couldn't finish it. Two people could have one with chips as their main course easily. We brought half home where tonight there's an off chance that it could become part of tom yum goong soup.

                                                                                                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                what you saw in the margarita glasses were indeed seafood cocktails.
                                                                                                                the seafood in the cocktails is cooked as opposed to the raw seafood in the ceviche.

                                                                                                                i ordered a shrimp/octopus cocktail about 20 minutes after you left....

                                                                                                          2. What do you recommend ordering besides the things we've tried, which are the ceviche, the camarones pimiento (our favorite - black pepper shrimp - really good, lots of pepper), and the camarones mojo de ajo (chipotle/lime garlic - also really good, milder than the black pepper shrimp)?

                                                                                                            Just don't wanna end up with a red sauce.

                                                                                                            25 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                              the a la diabla
                                                                                                              the mojara frita (s[p?)
                                                                                                              the pz
                                                                                                              the checo

                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                Thank you! By the way, a quick description of the mojara and pz would be great... I did find pics and descriptions of the others here:

                                                                                                                Has anyone tried the Camarones a la Cucaracha (crispy-fried so you can even eat the shells, with some worcestershiresque base or the Camarones Borrechos (tequila, cilantro, garlic, butter)?

                                                                                                                And if anyone's curious about the gorgeous green-hot salsa, I asked a waitress what pepper is in it and she confirmed it's jalepeno.

                                                                                                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                  I'm not a fan of the cucaracha -- I know it's supposed to be crispy, but it just isn't my thing. (That's not to say it's badly done -- it's not -- I just don't like it. I don't like salt-and-pepper shrimp in Cantonese places either.)

                                                                                                                  The sauce on the borrachos is totally and utterly addicting. Not the highest-end tequila, but you wouldn't use Chateau d'Yquem in a wine-based sauce in a French restaurant either. Save your rice and soak up all the sauce in it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                    I don't know how else you would use that over rated pee (refers to the Chateau d'Yquem) =()

                                                                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                      I think street told me they use Cabrito which is decent especially for cooking. The borrachos and marlin tacos are what I ordered the one time I made it up. If you never have had mexican seafood before these dishes go beyond doing justice - they'll make you a fanatic.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                                                                        Yes, it is Cabrito.It's in the neighborhood of a Cazadores.

                                                                                                                    2. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                      the mojara is a scored whole deep fried tilapia that is perfectly done.
                                                                                                                      the pz is a butterflied whole snook that is barbequed on a gas grill, also done to perfection.

                                                                                                                      i forgot to mention that i also recommend the shrimp and octopus coctail.
                                                                                                                      the seafood is served in a fish broth with chopped onions and cucumber floating in it, and the quality of the seafood is superb.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                    I'm pretty deeply in love with the camarones al diablo.

                                                                                                                    1. re: noahbites

                                                                                                                      I thought they tasted like a Cajun boil in butter (that is not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting)

                                                                                                                      1. re: noahbites

                                                                                                                        i'm with you on that, noahbites. totally addicted.

                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                          I had the camarones al diablo a few days ago. I thought they were good but they fell short of the high mark set in my mind by all of the cheerleading. I found the sauce to be more of a chile coloured butter sauce than a chile celebration finished with butter. I grew tired of and overwhelmed by the sauce before being halfway done.
                                                                                                                          Their chips are quite good. The liquefied jalepeno salsa served with them had nice heat but was one dimensional in flavour.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                                                            I think many of us are comparing the a la diabla at Mariscos Chente's to the countless insipid versions we've had over the years at other places. But, those are real chiles in the sauce , quite chile dense matter of fact. If you want something more light I would go with the ceviches and aguachiles, because the sauces are rich in this cuisine, to some.

                                                                                                                            You're right, the salsa of lime and jalapeno is not complex, but isn't supposed to be.It's the traditional salsa served at seafood joints in Nayarit and Sinaloa.It's just simple, fresh, and light, a perfect match for seafood.

                                                                                                                            1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                              A note on the A la Diabla. The version at Birrieria La Barca is an L.A. benchmark... someone has to go ever there and report how Mariscos Chente stacks up. The La Barca version is rich & very spicy in a way that you can't really tell whats in it... yeah you can taste the Arbol but the interplay between the Butter, Garlic, Toasted Chile Seeds & Shrimp shells creates this intriguing nutty flavor that is hard to pinpoint. Also the sauce is impeccably smooth & emulsified unlike many French inspired sauces around L.A.

                                                                                                                              It took me years of badgering them about the secret ingredient... and finally the last time I was in L.A. they invited me to the kitchen while they prepared the sauce.... amazing not a single speck of starch / flour used... its viscosity comes entirely from the "gel" in the shrimp shells, garlic & butter.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                I need to get over there EN.I will check this out soon.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                                                              my chile-loving friend from new mexico who has made it his business to try every chile-related dish he can in this life , LOVED the a la diabla as do i. . . .

                                                                                                                              to me, the chile flavor has a lot of complexity without packing a huge amount of heat.
                                                                                                                              each to his own, i guess

                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                I'm glad your New Mexican born chile loving friend loved the diabla and that your love of it has been vindicated by him and sgla. I wanted to feel the same way because I enjoy and respect the explorations, musings and writings of sgla and EN.
                                                                                                                                Maybe they dumbed down the heat for a white boy and in the process dumbed down some of the flavour. Maybe my chile taste buds were numbed by the large amount of salsa I had during the long wait for the food.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                                                                  I highly urge people to try the version at La Barca to benchmark as that is the real deal (I suspect the shrimp used at Chente's would surpass that at La Barca however).

                                                                                                                                  OTOH.. its entirely possible that they under-executed on the dish. In traditional, Mexican cooking there are no recipes only guidelines and variation is the norm... restaurants tend to follow recipes a little more... but maybe the cook on staff that day likes a less spicy approach.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                                                                    I doubt they dumbed it down for you Wolfgang, and it's not meant to be overly spicy, buy a more sophisticated heat.More about flavor where as the easy way would be to just make it about heat.

                                                                                                                                    Give it another try sometime.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Wolfgang

                                                                                                                                      i'd recommend trying it again BEFORE having any of the green dipping salsa.
                                                                                                                                      (i.e. try it on virginal taste buds).
                                                                                                                                      also, imho, it tastes better when sergio cooks it than when anyone else cooks it. normally sergio takes tuesday off, but you can call to confirm.

                                                                                                                            3. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                              The comfort sauces are pretty amazing too, the culichi, al chipotle, or the camarones rancheros(best version ever). Al ajillo was really nice, too, also a comfort sauce.

                                                                                                                              Something different, the chicharron de pescado is delicious.And, the ultimate is the pescado zarandeado with the special dipping sauce, that is a must.

                                                                                                                              1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                what's camerones ranchero's? anyone have a translation of the all the shrimp dishes, i just can't seem to keep them straight and there's nearly a dozen of them.

                                                                                                                                that tequila, butter, garlic number does sound pretty awesome though, borrachos?

                                                                                                                                i need a little crib sheet for this joint.

                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                  the tequila, butter, garlic number is, in fact, borrachos.

                                                                                                                                  i believe that ranchera is a tomato-based red sauce --i plan to try it someday. . . .
                                                                                                                                  (had the mojara frita for lunch today)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                    i forget did they institute the acceptance of credit cards yet.

                                                                                                                                    then i'll be doing the borrachos shrimp, sounds good.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                    Yeah. I can see I'm going to need to work my way down the entire menu and order everything, except maybe the cucaracha.

                                                                                                                                    Thanks everybody for your recommendations! (This place has spoiled me for other seafood around town, near-pun unintended.)

                                                                                                                              2. One question for those who've ordered the Cucaracha... what size is the shrimp? The few times I've had the dish in Mexico (always adjacent to shrimp farms)... the shrimp used are Krill (Camaron Cambray).... and they are perfect little snacker.

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                  Si! These shouldn't be ordered as a main, and are made at Chente's to be simple snacks.Great witha cubeta.But, I've had so much on the menu except these and a handful of things. Another reason to go to Mariscos Chente's.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                                                                                                    I don't know which shrimp they use in that one but there are some pics, I *think* of the cucaracha, here:

                                                                                                                                    And more generally, the waitress told us there are a couple different sizes of shrimp, depending on the dish. The pimiente (and I think the mojo de ajo) features the larger, which isn't to say they were huge. They weren't teeny tiny at all.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                      Checos are pictured, not cucaracha.But yeah, many different shrimp are used for various dishes in Nayarit/Sinaloa cuisine.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                        HI Cinnamon,

                                                                                                                                        Yes, I tried the Camarones a la Cucaracha, and they are pictured in the link you sent. :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                          Guess I missed them, looked again and there they were.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: exilekiss

                                                                                                                                            Your party ate a lot, lot, LOT of shrimp! That was a great guide - very helpful.

                                                                                                                                      2. My wife and I just got back from my first visit to Mariscos Chente (MC) based on the reviews here and in the LA Times. We shared the shrimp agua chile and a 1.5 kilo pescado zarandeado (PZ) and we were not disappointed. Service was friendly and prompt, perhaps because when we got there at 2:00 pm on a Sunday, there were only a few tables occupied. My wife is from Mexico (Nayarit) and I lived there for six years and we both miss the seafood. The menu was very typical of the seafood restaurants in that part of Mexico and I mean that in the best possible way. Shrimp prepared several different ways and fish prepared a few different ways. I fell in love with PZ while in Mexico and I have been looking for a fix here. I don't need to look any further. The shrimp were excellent, large and fresh with a very tasty and authentic green sauce "chile water". The fish used for PZ was a snook, also known as a robalo. This is an excellent fish that for some reason is under-utilized at least in the Western US.

                                                                                                                                        Every region and restaurant has their own version of dishes. The PZ at MC was excellent although a little different than my favorite version which is La Laguna in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit. La Laguna typically uses huachinango or red snapper (not to be confused with the red rockfish commonly marketed as red snapper here in the US). Sometimes, they also use pargo and occasionally snook/robalo. All of these fish are excellent and make for a fine PZ. In Mexico, the fish would be grilled over wood coals. I did not smell or see any smoke indicating a wood fire at MC, although I may have missed it. (Are they grilling over gas or wood?) A wood fire does add a subtle smokiness to the fish that I did not detect. Finally, the predominant flavor in the baste at MC was soy versus the achote based sauce that I first fell in love with. Nevertheless, there were only bones and skin left on that poor snook when we finished with him!

                                                                                                                                        Weather you have enjoyed PZ in Mexico and are looking for somewhere in the LA area to satisfy your cravings or you have never tried it and want to give an excellent and authentic version a try, I would recommend a trip to MC.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Guero

                                                                                                                                          Andale Guero.Excellent and insightful review. You're right, huachinango is also commonly used, and it's not the stuff we have here. he cook at Marsiscos Chente also told me that huachingango is a great option, in addition to the more opt utilized pargo(sea bream) and robalo.

                                                                                                                                          Sergio follows the law and uses gas, he more than makes up for it with grill technique and marinade. Exilekiss, some friends and I really put this to the test on a recent pz crawl. Coals can't help when you can't grill and have no marinade. There are so many marinades, Sergio also uses chipotle, but you and your wife's experience and perspective are greatly appreciated.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Guero

                                                                                                                                            In Florida, Snook is a protected species. But it is one of the best eating fish, it was a rare treat to have it at MC.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Guero

                                                                                                                                              I should point out there is a WIDE range of marinades used in PZ... in both San Blas & Acapulco I've had it from beach shacks where I saw the marinade being prepared with Mayo, Dried Chiles (Cora in San Blas, Dried Serrano in Acapulco) & a little Salsa Inglesa (Worcestire).

                                                                                                                                            2. The shrimp pimiento was delicious again at lunch today. Although the movie "I Am Legend" was on TV. Fortunately no scary bits during the brief amount of time it took me to chow down.

                                                                                                                                              1. I believe I've now had everything on the menu save a few dishes, and thought I was out of knock out plates until last night. I ordered the filete de pescado empapelado(fillet cooked in foil with shrimp, octopus, cheese, and bacon) and was in heaven. A decadent break from the many excellent shrimp dishes and other well talked about plates on all these posts. If you haven't tried it, put it on your to eat list.

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                  We did put the pescado empapelado on our list and are glad we did. I'm guessing empapelado is Spanish for, "em papillote"? This was another hit. I actually ordered this for my father because his doctor has told him to limit his intake of spicy foods. There's quite a bit of spice in varying degrees on MC's menu, so I wanted to play it safe. We were assured that pescado empapelado was safe enough even for kids, so we gave it a go.

                                                                                                                                                  Like some other dishes on the menu that don't seem to fit but are just as wonderful in different ways (e.g., camarones culichi), the pescado empapelado was thoroughly enjoyed by my dad, as well as my son who was sitting next to him. They kept sharing bites and after quite a few stabs at the dish, they finished it with big smiles. I was able to get a small nibble. The cooking method assures no failure in keeping the ingredients moist and succulent. But the melding of the ingredients resulted in - as you put it - decadence. The portion was quite large - large enough to fill my dad before the Pescado Zarandeado arrived. That's okay though - he wants to come back again to give that a go. Did I put up a fight? :)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                                                    That's great, sounds like the family had a delicious time.You're correct, it's spanish for "em papillote"

                                                                                                                                                    Glad someone else tried this dish.I find myself thinking about the pescado empapelado every now and then.

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for sharing, bulavinka.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                      No no - thank you for recommending it!

                                                                                                                                                2. I always enjoy your posts, SG:
                                                                                                                                                  I visited MC in Mar Vista a few weeks ago after hearing all the hype. I have to say I had a rather unique experience.

                                                                                                                                                  I got there on a Friday at 11 AM, which is when they "open". The place was locked up, no one in sight, no cars in the parking lot in back. I was worried that maybe something bad happened. I did call the Inglewood location, and they said that someone should have been there. They assured me that people were on the way to open up. Take note, if you get there at opening, and they're not in, just call Inglewood.

                                                                                                                                                  I waited while they opened and gave them time to fire up their grils, etc. I ordered the much-hyped pescado zarandeado. I was alone and expected it to be more than enough. I ended up making 3 meals out of it.

                                                                                                                                                  What was amazing to me was how much the snook tasted like something I would have ordered in a Japanese restaurant, saba(mackeral) or sanma(pike) shioyaki style (broiled and flavored with salt and soy sauce, with a small pile of finely-ground daikon radish.

                                                                                                                                                  The snook was much more thick-boned than saba, but was certainly flavorful with that tinge of mayo.

                                                                                                                                                  I guess I was expecting something new and exciting, and found something vaguely familiar. It actually made me long for saba.

                                                                                                                                                  My next visit will be that of trying their various shrimp and scallop dishes.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                                                    They really don't open until 11:30 AM as far as I can tell. If you arrive earlier you're going to wait. As much as I love the PZ I have come to love the camarones dishes even more.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                      I went recently and I'm very happy to report that they seem to have heard my plaints from afar -- the group I was with was DETERMINED to have camarones aguachile and they were clean, no disgusting shrimpy poop chutes hanging out into the salsa.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ogawak

                                                                                                                                                      Hey Ogawak. Sinaloa, where Sergio is from has lots of Asian influences. I believe he use salsa inglesa(worcestershire) rather than soy, but soy is used in Sinaloa, Sonora, and Baja quite a bit. Another very Asian dish at Chente's is the chicharron de pescado. The dipping sauce for Sergio's zarandeado also plays on this theme.

                                                                                                                                                      Can't wait to hear about your other tastes at MC, there is so much deliciousness on that menu. Thanks for sharing your experience.

                                                                                                                                                      The best thing you can do when waiting at a Mexican restaurant, which I've had to do a few times myself over the years, is drink alcohol. A cubeta(bucket o beers) is good for this.

                                                                                                                                                    3. finally, we made it out today!!! we over-indulged a wee bit at the tasty morsels offered by epicure imports, so with just my wife and my eleven yr old, could not quite pack it in. we shared the shrimp ceviche - so fresh and refreshing, and the pescado zarandeado. they told us their smallest one was 1.5 kilos. man was it big! it was one of the best tasting fish i've had, and i've had a lot. we will enjoy the rest of it tonight. sadly, we were the only ones in there at about 115p - on a saturday afternoon.

                                                                                                                                                      on a side note -we were impressed by the little 8 yr old girl who offered us the menus. when we asked her mom, she said - we have to train them. she already loves to cook at home. next generation restaurateur i the making!

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jacknhedy

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for sharing jacknhedy.I had an aguachile the other day served in a molcajete, even better with the volcanic notes.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Mariscos Chente is incredible. Thank you all for encouraging the visit. There is no Mexican restaurant like it that I've come across this side of the border.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                                          I was back there again last night and it is consistently amazing. And there's so many can't miss choices on the menu and those marlin tacos are one of my favorite things ever.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: epop

                                                                                                                                                            Glad you went, and you are 100% correct.

                                                                                                                                                          2. 1st timer this weekend. I didn't know such a place existed in my old 'hood. Pescado zarandeados, mixed ceviche (fish, octopus, shrimp) and fish taco (sea bass). PZ was great, almost Asian flavorings (soy sauce? or Maggi-ish?). Ceviche was very fresh, balanced, at least on par with other places I like (e.g. Jesse's, La Serenata). Fish taco was simple, very flavorful, not over-sauced. Waitress said they were fried, but hard to tell, as it's not like your typical thick beer-battered variety. Still, recommended, but will try marlin taco next time.

                                                                                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pharmnerd

                                                                                                                                                              the pz flavoring is not soy nor maggi, it is worcestershire (salsa inglesa)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pharmnerd

                                                                                                                                                                Sinaloa has an Asian influence and they do use soy, matter of fact, they sell a salsa in their state that is already mixed with soy sauce, and Mexico also makes soy sauce. But, I believe the dipping sauce for the pz is worcestershire with carmelized onions.

                                                                                                                                                                Tacos gobernadores too, my friend!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                  it's weird how some food cultures have an almost inherent built in fusion without being fusion, and those are the ones that are tremendously delicious from a fusion standpoint even though not exactly fusion.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                    Now I have a sense of confusion... ;-D>

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                                      yeah, i'm confused too, like that con fusion.

                                                                                                                                                                      sorry all.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                        Well, it's all fusion, then it settles for a while, becomes tradition, then continues to change. An upscale restaurant in Culiacan serves maki made with local catch. Maybe Sergio will do a robalo and pargo roll someday?

                                                                                                                                                                        I think I got you, a natural fusion versus a contrived fusion?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                          that's it exactly, natural v. contrived fusion. said it better then my digression.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                                            I was having that exact same internal debate yesterday after an unbelievably great lunch at Mo-Chica served by a woman whose first language was Japanese; yet it didn't seem like "fusion".

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                                                              Don't forget about the Japanese field workers who came to Peru. (Ancestors of former president A. Fujimori.) Culinary cross-pollination is inevitable (eg, potato salad & Spam made a huge contribution to Pacific cuisines). Mo-Chica's presentation is very Japanese. The pickled vegetables served as a condiment resemble Japanese "tsukemono."

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: vickie2172

                                                                                                                                                                                I wasn't at all forgetting it; Peruvian food has huge Chinese influence too (the second word of "arroz chaufa" is from the Chinese 炒饭, "chao fan" meaning fried rice. "Rice fried rice."

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                    i specifically asked at MC, and was told that there was no soy in the pz.. . .
                                                                                                                                                                    since i've never been to sinaloa, i bow to your superior knowledge about other sinaloan restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                      The issue of soy sauce is not incidental--many soy sauces have wheat in them and aren't tolerated by celiacs. (This might explain my husband's poor reaction to our dinner there.)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coffeebrownies

                                                                                                                                                                        Well,westsidegal is correct, it's salsa inglesa(worcestershire) that he uses for the dipping sauce, for the chicharron de pescado. I was speaking generically about the use of soy, but Sergio uses worcestershire across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                        Salsa Maggi, worcestershire, and soy are all common in Sinaloan seafood preps, Sonora too.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                                                                                                                                                                          Is that the small bottle they had on the table? Sorry, can't remember name. Had white label. I took a quick taste and in retrospect did taste like Worcestshire.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pharmnerd

                                                                                                                                                                            Probably.It would be there for the cocktails, along with salsa Huichol and Yucateca.