Mariscos Chente (The Mark Twain of Restaurants) "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"
I have say that the story of Sergio's departure, as broken by streetgourmetla right here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7014... was a sickening blow to me.
However, I have visited Chente twice subsequently and have found no decline in quality at all.
I chowed with 5 friends on Saturday and was treated to nothing but goodness.
I ask you; where else on the Westside (that's easy) or in the whole dang town could one enjoy a meal like this, with 3-4 beers for about 30 bucks each?
-- Salsa Verde (hot, HOT, HOT) with fine chips
-- Marlin Tacos 5 tacos
-- Shrimp Tacos 4 tacos
-- Camaron/Pulpo Ceviche
-- Chicharron Pescado
-- Mojarra Frita (large and sooooooo gooooood
)-- Camaron Pimienta
-- Camaron Borrachos
What about the snook (pescado zarandeado) you ask? Well, I was scared off, to be honest, by the loss of Sergio. I won't be again.
I stared a PZ down -- HARD -- it was on another table. I stared so hard that I may have scared some other diners. I tried to pick-up the scent (close, but no cigar). It looked exactly the same as Sergio's, as did the amazing grilled/marinated onion mixture that comes astride the beast. The folks taking the sucker down looked mighty, mighty happy.
I'm all for chef devotion, but NOBODY is irreplaceable. NOBODY.
4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066
I've also been back twice and have had mixed results with the Coctel (Found the broth not as flavorful) and the Lagostinos Zarandeado (A bit overdone). But the Camarones Agua Chile and Caldo de Camaron were still in top form.
Next time I may just get Botana de Camaron and Pulpo (Not so brothy) and another shrimp dish or the Marlin Tacos...
Although I will say, a chef brings a certain TOUCH to food, the quality of the ingredient and the care that people are trying to put out are still there...
Most of my visits there are by myself or with just one other person. Since I like having a variety of items, I don't get the snook often, have to wait until I'm with a big party. I've only been there once since Sergio's departure and got the agua chile and the pimenta. I didn't notice any difference.
I will note that I haven't been enamored with their fried items in the past, the chicharron Pescado nor the Mojarra Fritta. Blanking on the name, but the fried shrimp dish was inconsistent for me too even when Sergio was there so I stopped ordering it. I usually rotated and stuck with the non cheese sauce shrimp dishes.
So it could be just like with any other chef, the current one has his own strengths and weaknesses. Even with Sergio cooking the snook, I had a couple of just average experiences out of the dozen plus times I ordered it.
i will say i've been twice in the past couple of weeks. my parties have had:
ceviche mixto w/o octopus
pescado a la diabla
coctel de camaron
shrimp and octopus in the cheesy sauce (name escapes me)
only thing not as good was only on one visit and that was the ceviche which lacked in flavor. otherwise, despite the fear of el diablo in my throat, nothing was like i expected.
when exactly did sergio leave the centinela ave. location? i went for the first time a couple of months ago, and it was not "return worthy".