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Apr 14, 2010 06:46 PM

Sergio Penuelas has left Mariscos Chente

I received a tip today from Maricos Chente supporter WestSideGal, that Sergio Penuelas has left Mariscos Chente on Centinela, permanently.

I was able to reach him and he confirmed this news. He is currently cooking at the Mariscos Chente at 10020 Inglewood Ave, Inglewood CA 90304. The founder of the restaurant, Vincente Cossio had recently took over the kitchen at the Inglewood location due to the poor performance of the cooks that were working there. I originally learned about Sergio when he was cooking at the Inglewood restaurant, while the family waited for the Mar Vista location to clear health inspection. The place had been closed due to a kitchen fire in 2008.

Sergio is going to be there Thursday through Sunday, when he's not there, Vincente is also a greta cook and the kitchen has been solid there since he took over.

As for the Mar Vista location, can't vouch for the kitchen anymore. Westsidegal said he hadn't been there for over a week and the food wasn't any good, and it was nothing like Sergio's cooking at all.

So, I guess I'm going to Inglewood from now on,

Mariscos Chente
10020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

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  1. SGLA and WestSideGal, thanks for the heads-up. We were planning on heading over to the Centinela eatery this weekend with a bunch of folks in tow. Sounds like Sergio needs a serious apprentice or three.

    1. I was wondering if something was going on. I went there last week and they seemed so disorganized. My food was ok, but nowhere near as good as previous visits.

      2 Replies
      1. re: annapurna7

        Sounds about right, because Angie is with her husband.Without Sergio there it's just not the same place at all. I mean, they might hire a decent cook at some point, but it will not be the place that many of us have come to love.

        1. re: streetgourmetla

          Interesting; had no idea.

          On my visit this past weekend, the ceviche was good, but not as sublime as on a previous visit. 2 outta 3 tacos were excellent.

      2. Bill - who is cooking with Conchita's operation in Gardena near El Camino College?
        Any Sergio influence there?
        Not that any location is convenient to Sherman Oaks, but just in case.....

        3 Replies
        1. re: carter

          Conchita is Angie's sister, and she runs the original operation on Imperial Hwy, and the newer location in Gardena. Conchita is cooking over at Imperial, and she's a fantastic cook, different from Sergio, but solid. I think someone else is cooking at Gardena, but she might be there on the nights they have live entertainment.

          If Conchita is in the kitchen, things are fine.

          The cooks that work in this circuit are very individual, and don't have the type of static kitchen that trained chefs maintain, with proper training and following a recipe.

          Vincente taught Sergio many years ago, but Sergio cook different. Conchita learned from her father and cooks more like him. They were both at the Imperial Hwy location for many years before Vincente moved to Ingelwood Ave.

          I will have time next week to go around and see what's going on THIS week. Good grief, carnales.

          1. re: streetgourmetla

            BTW carter, Conchita's restaurants are called Mariscos Chente's, on Imperial and in Gardena.

            Vincente Cossio and Sergio Penuelas are at the independently run Mariscos Chente in Lennoxico.

            Magdalena Garcia, Vincente's ex, Angie, Sylvia, and Conchita's mom, remains in her Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista.

            IT'S DYNASTY!!!!!

            1. re: streetgourmetla

              Shit, say it ain't so. I really liked that place, though I haven't got out there in a couple months.

          2. Hi streetgourmetla,

            Tragic news. :( Please let us know if you find out where Sergio is going to permanently settle to. Thanks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: exilekiss

              Well, for now, go see Sergio on Inglewood Ave. in Lennoxico/INglewood.

            2. That's a terrible shame.
              About the new staff, I have a tidbit.
              I ate one of the best fish dishes I ever had there on Wednesday 3/31. The mojarra was excellent.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Ciao Bob

                on wednesday 4/7, i was served a lousy shrimp and octopus coctel.
                the fish seemed fresh enough, but was overcooked.
                the quantity served was far less than normal (i know, i know, it's like the line from a woody allen film "the food was terrible and there was so little of it.")
                and the broth tasted like dishwater.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  >>the quantity served was far less than normal (i know, i know, it's like the line from a woody allen film "the food was terrible and there was so little of it.")<<


                  Great post, but I'm now back at, "Do not pass Go, do not enjoy PZ, or coctels." :(

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    it appears to me that the kitchen is in a state of flux--different people cooking at different times and the various cooks/chefs not necessarily being able to turn out a consistent product.
                    at some point maybe it will stabilize.
                    if it does stabilize, i'll try it again to see where things stand.
                    as a general rule, i don't like to play craps with my restaurant money. . . .

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      I appreciate your honest assessment. Like most, we really loved the original incarnation. Our problem is that we haven't been in a few months. We were hoping to come back to it in a big way.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        i'm in a state of bereavement.
                        you'll recognize me because i'll be wearing black until i find a new 'food home.'
                        (i wonder where my friend's old italien grandmother bought the black lace head-covering that i need to complete the outfit.)

                        i plan to scope out the inglewood avenue place this weekend.

                        my gut feel is that there is no way that mar vista can possibly right itself to be able to consistently turn out excellent food in any short period of time.
                        this is going to take months, at least.
                        the learning curve, to be the only chef with the labor-intensive menu they have, is a daunting one. everything was made to order. the stamina, cooking skill, and organizational skills that are required to do this take time to develop.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          I feel for you. Your posts have shown how much of a loyal customer you've been - particularly since you're a very discriminating pescatarian. I know how much you love this place. IMHO, properly preparing seafood is one of the more difficult things to consistently perform in a kitchen. It's one of the true tests that indicates whether a master is at work. I'm curious to hear about your assessment of the Inglewood Ave eatery. In the mean time, I can't risk shooting craps either, as our close friends are bringing a visiting relative who really knows and enjoys seafood as well.

                      2. re: westsidegal

                        Not gonna find many Sinaloan or Nayaritan chefs around town that alone can grill, cook, and cocktail. The next best cooks have cooking and cocktailing, but no grilling expertise. In Mexico, and in many of these restaurants around town there are three or more cooks at least, for each discipline. That's something that sets Sergio apart from everyone else around.

                        The second and third best pz's in town have no allure for me, they aren't even close. That was the signature dish at Mariscos Chente. And, there are no recipes around for anyone to follow.

                        1. re: streetgourmetla

                          and, i believe that the inglewood/century location does not have a grill, so sergio's grilling skills can't be utilized there for the moment.

                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                      Dishes like the mojarra frita are going to be solid regardless of the location. They use a big tilapia, that's very fresh. Magdalena Garcia can cook, although I don't know that she will be in the kitchen, but it's going to be a completely different restaurant. Sauces will be different, the zarandeado won't be the same.

                      Safe bets? Mojarra frita, oysters, ceviche, maybe the cocktails? westsidegal said her cocktail wasn't happening.

                      Service wise, Angie had done a lot to improve the service which was still not quite porfessional, but her and Silvia made a big difference. I think the service will not be as good anymore. I will stop by and see what's up soon. It's too bad.