Mariscos Puerto Esperanza: Clear Sailing!
Went back to MPE yesterday (Saturday) after a post-OC register review hiatus. Arrived about 4:00 pm and the place was packed and stayed that way throughout, including the presence of two large groups, one of which was a B-day party. Even so, both the food and service were spot on. Chef Santiago was in the house along with two assistants in the front kitchen, maybe another in back and Sergio, his nephew, as the lone server. They are definitely handling the increased traffic. No trauma. Perhaps my best meal there to date.
Had the exquisite Pescado Robalo Zarandeados and the perfectly grilled Langostinos prepared with a delicious orange-chipotle sauce. Smack on!
Took home a dozen Enchiladas de Queso con Cotija y Crema – dazing & amazing!
Make sure to ask for the spicy red chile salsa as well as a bowl of the tomatillo (green chile) salsa. The salsa first brought out with the chips is throttled down extensively (kiddie salsa).
Oh yeah, do enjoy one of the horchata's blended with crushed ice. Bomb!
I forgot to mention … after dinner yesterday, I spoke with Chef Santiago. He was really stoked that MPE had been voted Orange County’s numero uno seafood restaurant and offered very gracious thanks to his loyal patrons ... hey, that’s us! He also mentioned that he planned to start serving high quality meats, i.e., steaks and costillas (ribs), served in the Mexican alta cocina tradition.
What do you ‘hounds think of that? My feelings are mixed. I really respect and appreciate his current single point of focus on prime seafood. I'm uncertain about prime rib.
You don't know how happy I am to read this. I'd heard some truly horrible things from people who know food after the review; I'm glad Santiago got up and running again. I want to go back but unfortunately I am occupied with other restaurants.
I'm glad it's packed. Before the OCR review there were never any people in there and it was like this depressing hobby-shop restaurant with transcendental food.
As for what I think of costillas and bisteques in alta-cocina tradition: we don't really have any alta-cocina restaurants here. If he can pull it off, I want to see it.
re: Das Ubergeek
I am glad to hear that MPE has gotten more help. We frequented this restaurant a lot before the Register article. I have visited different parts of Mexico and grew up in a pre dominantly hispanic neighborhood and feel this place has the best Mariscos. We have tried almost everything on the menu our favs being their ceviche, fried oysters, and the Pescado Zarandeado. The Chef is very talented and I'm craving their food right now as I type,