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Oct 19, 2010 07:44 PM

fantastic meal -- would love to get help with menu [Mariscos El Pilar de Nayarit in Seaside]

I had dinner on a Sunday night at Mariscos El Pilar de Nayarit in Seaside, on my way home from Monterey.

The food was fantastic. It's cash only.

We first had chips and salsa, with a surprisingly delicious salsa unlike any I have had before. It was very fresh tasting, with some astringency and spiciness. I was tempted to buy some to go, but foolishly didn't.

I had a tostada with shrimp ceviche as an appetizer. It was excellent -- very generous with shrimp, and the sweetness of the shrimp really shone through.

I then had langustinos with garlic (they translated it as crayfish in a garlic sauce, but they didn't really look or taste like crayfish, more like large prawns). This was fantastic. My wife had shrimp enchiladas. These were delicious and surprising to me: the tortillas were small corn tortillas that had been soaked (?) in a tomato-based sauce with a lot of oregano and other herbs. The tortillas were reasonably dry, though coated with the sauce. The filling itself was dry. This was also delicious, but I felt the sauce overpowered the shrimp.

The specials board listed a number of dishes that the waitress was unable to explain so I could understand. can anyone help?
moicajete ala pendejada ($25!)
pezcado zarandiado ($11/lbs)
coctel mendigo ($16)
(I am especially curious since the prices don't match the rest -- most main dishes were about $10-14, and the ceviches were ~$4 if I remember correctly.)

On the weekend they also have menudo and birria de chivo.

The decor is pretty minimalist, the place is in the middle of an industrial looking area, and the music was way too loud when I was there (part of the reason I couldn't understand the waitress). Dinner for two came out to about $35-40 (inc tip), but it would have been easy to have ordered less. The food was FANTASTIC. I am tempted to go back even though it's a bit far for me to drive for dinner.

Mariscos El Pilar de Nayarit
1184 La Salle Ave, Seaside, CA 93955

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  1. Thanks for the first report!.

    Here's a little help, maybe: pescado Zarandeado or Zarandiado (I've seen it both ways) is from the Pacific Coast of Mexico: it is grilled fish, usually with a rub or sauce of spices, chiles, sometimes soy sauce and mayonnaise. Here's a post with a good description of it at a place that is (or at least used to be) a favorite on the LA board:

    (that restaurant, Mariscos Chente, uses snook, though I think it could be any type of fish). Served by the pound, as your menu indicates.

    moicajete ala pendejada: hmm...probably is 'molcajete' actually, and someone has a sense of humor, perhaps. A molcajete is a type of dish of meat and/or fish in red sauce, sort of soupy, and served extremely hot and bubbling in a stone bowl called a molcajete, basically a morter. Often is enough for two or more people, hence the higher price. But pendejada: well, sort of the equivalent of calling it a F*##ed Up Molcajete...(not literally, but more or less). Calling someone a pendeja or pendejo is the equiv of calling them an a*()H()le, No idea if it has a specific meaning related to food, or is the chef's own invention. Perhaps its a little bit of everything...

    cocktel mendigo: literally 'beggar's cocktail". Presumably a seafood cocktail of some type, but no idea beyond that: perhaps it uses less expensive types of seafood or even Krab? Just a guess though.

    Langostinos, which are served in Mexico, is a separate species of crustacean that is not either a lobster or true prawn, but actually more closely related to crab. That is perhaps what it actually was(?):

    anyway...I definitely have to go check the place out and do a bit of menu exploring myself. Again, thanks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: susancinsf

      was thinking about this, and realized that my assumptions that the fact that mendigo could translate as 'beggar' meant some less expensive type of seafood made no sense, given the cost of that cocktail! So...did a little bit more digging and it turns out that in addition to meaning beggar, mendigo is also a freshwater fish. Can't find out much more about it though. Googled 'beggar fish' and saw a reference to a type of loach, but no idea if that is the same thing or not. I did find several Mexican menus on line that listed it (just as 'mendigo') though I've never seen it on a menu that I can recall. Perhaps someone else can chime in...

    2. Here's a link to my post with photos of the shrimp zarandeado at Don Pepe's in Salinas to give you an idea of the saucing.