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Mariscos Chentes -- Review the dishes

There are lots of threads about Mariscos Chente, but there aren't all that many threads discussing the menu items. Here are my experiences to date. Please post yours. All of the posts below are for dishes at the location at Imperial Highway in Inglewood. I've had some of these dishes at other locations as well.

Complementary chips and salsa. The chips are fine, nothing special. The salsa is inconsistent, varying from good to great. When it's good, it's green, watery, tart, and not too spicy. When it's great, it's thickened with smashed chiles and is very spicy.

Pescado zarandeado. A huge butterflied snook marinated and grilled, topped with sliced cucumber and red onion, and served with brown marinated onions, lime, and soft corn tortillas. This is one of the best dishes I've ever eaten and is surely worth the trip out to Inglewood.

Chicharrones de pescado. Pieces of tilapia deep fried and served in a thin black sauce (I think flavored with Worcestershire sauce). Pretty good, not one of my favorite dishes.

Marlin tacos. Taco shells filled with cheese and shredded, marinated marlin, then grilled. Quite good, although one time they came out black and burnt.

Aguachiles. Raw (ceviche style), shelled, but head-on shrimp served in a thin green salsa (I think it's the same salsa they use for the chips) with sliced red onion and cucumber. Excellent, a must try.

Mixed ceviche in black sauce. A refreshing blend of raw ceviche seafood in a thin black sauce (again, I think flavored with Worcestershire sauce--it tastes somewhat exotic). Highly recommended.

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Mariscos Chentes/Coni'Seafood
3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303

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  1. I have been here one month working and I was truly sad knowing I was eating my last meal last night and would not be returning for some time. I actually think about this place and the great chef Sergio who is so compassionate about his food and suffers for his cooking working long hours and days. In the short time I was here we developed a relationship to where after the first time I ate there and went back he remembered my name. I have been there six times. "Sergio", I'll have some soup tonight. No need to look at the menu he would prepare me a special soup of camarones and also bring small plates for me to try.The food is great but more so this is a great man and chef who I will miss. You are lucky to have something so special in this day and age. I loved everthing that he has made for me. I will return. Thanks to all the Chow people who have made my stay unforgettable.
    John Pauza, Santa Cruz, Ca.

    30 Replies
    1. re: emglow101

      Wow - great tribute to Sergio. Whenever I see his name mentioned, I always refer to him as, "The Maestro," in my mind. I remember you pleading for this kind of chef in your initial posting - literally - and I'm glad you found The One. What would you consider to be your top three dishes there?

      1. re: bulavinaka

        The soup , pescado zarandeado. camarones burrachos. I love them all equally .I wish I had more time. But in the end I would say without trying the others you would love them as your family , Each one is different and special.They are all number one. My nephew was with me on Saturday and also my sister and her husband , They were all blown away by his food. My nephew lives here and he will be going there and spreading the good word. You must support Sergio and keep his art, (food) alive. This is the keystone to life. Thanks again
        John Pauza

      2. re: emglow101

        emglow,
        when i was last there Sergio spoke wistfully of you too.
        you have joined the 'family' of those who really understand his food.
        come back soon.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Thanks again, your the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. re: westsidegal

              Take a bow, WSG, you certainly deserve it.

          1. re: westsidegal

            WSG, I know you have said Sergio is off certains days. Would you mind repeating that info?
            TIA

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Just call MC, they will be happy to tell you if Sergio is working that day.

              1. re: reality check

                sergio is now taking off only 1 day every two to three weeks.

                even though, i still call to confirm that he's the one cooking before i get in the car. he's basically living there now.
                310-672-2339

              2. re: Ciao Bob

                he's changed his days off.
                call before you go:

                work 310-672-2339

                1. re: westsidegal

                  I'm excited. I will be in LA for one night on Friday 9 /16.Then flying to Italy. Anyway I am taking my nephew and family to M.C. Have you had the langostino's. I saw them on the menu below the pescado zarandeado.?

                  1. re: emglow101

                    i had them a long time ago when sergio was cooking at the mar vista location.
                    everything he's ever served me has been terrific.

                    had ceviche there last night with my daughter. like you, i typically just ask him for food in a category and let him decide exactly what to serve. he remembered that my daughter prefers the dark-colored ceviche sauce and i the light. we were served two very different versions of ceviche.

                    also ate there last saturday night. had the zarandeado, the mojarra fritta (sp?), and ceviche.

                    sergio's been cooking 7 days a week for a while now. . . .

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Thanks so much. What was I thinking. Let him work his magic.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Hi westsidegal...since you are one of the experts on MC, could you tell me if there are shrimp dishes where they are shelled and w/o heads...and is the fish deboned? sorry, but some things just dont appeal to me, like staring at my meal....

                        1. re: lapizzamaven

                          Shrimp - Heads are on. Shells are off.
                          Fish - Head is on. Bones are in.
                          lapizzamaven - the parts of this meal most of us rave about - whole grilled snnok, mojarra frita and shrimp dishes will stare you down, hard.
                          But, you could have ceviche, fish tacos and I believe there are a few fish fliets (but I have never had them.) The Chicharron is a dish with smaller fish pieces (without eyes).

                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                            also, the shrimp coctel is made with shrimp that are peeled and without heads. lapizzamaven, you should know going in, though, that the coctel is not the '"american" version of putting large-sized, cold, dry, cooked, shrimp/prawns on a bed of ice.
                            the coctel is made by serving small shrimp that are cooked to order in a shrimp broth that has diced fresh cucumber and diced tomato floating around with the shrimp. the dish is closer to room temperature than it is to ice cold.

                            the chicharron that ciao bob mentions does meet your specifications re: no heads/ no bones, but to my palate the proper, traditional way the dish is prepared, is too crispy/hard to appeal to me.
                            i prefer the mojarra frita (with the head and bones) which is crispy on the outside but moist/delicate on the inside.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              I know, I know M.C. again. This will be my last meal at M.C. for a year maybe more . With Sergio working seven days a week .How much longer will he want to keep on going? I know this his baby. I also work for myself and no one can touch my work. Moved to Inglewood, I don't think it was for business. We will start with Mojarra frita, coctel, and camarones. Am I wrong ? What's your last M.C. meal ?

                              1. re: emglow101

                                last meal was ceviche.
                                normally i don't specify what kind of ceviche i want, and sergio is free to experiment on me.
                                sometimes he sprinkles it with diced, fresh, mangos.
                                once he diced fresh coconut into it.
                                sometimes he cooks some of the shrimp, and mixes the cooked shrimp with the raw.

                                the meal before that also was ceviche but i had more people dining with me so we added a mojarra frita and a pescado zarandeado.

                                the meal before that included the camarones ranchera
                                before that, camarones a la diabla
                                once he made an off-menu shrimp dish that he just called "spicy shrimp," it contained whole dried red chile peppers.

                                for a while my daughter was on a shrimp coctel kick, so during that phase our meals always included one of those.
                                when my friend charlie comes with the group we always need to get a camarones borrachos for him to devour all by himself--he won't share even one drop of the sauce with anyone else. . . .

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Your really lucky to have M.C. close by. Treasure it as you have. It's got me in it's grasp.

                                  1. re: emglow101

                                    just had another OMG experience there last night.
                                    he created a dish he called "camarones in langostino sauce"
                                    it's not on the menu, you have to ask for it.
                                    doubt that it's always available, but boy was it a treat last night.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      Langostino sauce. How awesome is that ? He loves to seat you in his home and cook you his recipies that you desire. Special, very special. Your on the top . I can't wait for when I return on 9 /16.

                                  2. re: westsidegal

                                    When we went a couple of weeks ago, he sent our HUGE party a taste of his new "ceviche' recipe. It had shrimp and fish (The fish was cut up beautifully too!) I am not a fan of mango in Ceviches, but he picked perfectly ripe sweet ones and it wasn't over done... just so delicious...

                                    http://yfrog.com/gzw68pqj

                                    --Dommy!

                                    1. re: Dommy

                                      yes, when he uses mango, he uses it very judiciously (as well as deliciously).

                                    2. re: westsidegal

                                      The camarones borrachos is very delicious. I wish I had some great bread to soak up the sauce.

                                      I like the mojarra frita as well, but it's basically the same deep-fried whole fish that's served all over the world.

                                      1. re: sushigirlie

                                        Yeah, in Mexico seafood does not go with bread... it just doesn't make sense because it'd stale almost instantly in the ocean air... BUT if you ask, they'd happily give you a bowl of rice to soak up the sauce. It's so delicious that way! :)

                                        --Dommy!

                                        1. re: sushigirlie

                                          it may indeed be the same deep-fried fish that 's served over the world, but the closest locations to my house of GOOD whole deep fat fried fish are: Mariscos Chente and Chinois on Main.

                                          i eat this dish at least twice a month.
                                          i am very picky about the fish that i eat.
                                          i no longer have an expense account.
                                          thank g-d for Mariscos Chente.

                                          the other wonderful thing about the mojarra is that when taking newbies to MC for the first time, it provides a relatively gradual route for the non-adventurous eater to take to develop an appreciation of the cookin of nayarit and sinaloa.
                                          one could call it a "gateway dish."

                                          -----
                                          Chinois
                                          2709 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                          Mariscos Chente
                                          4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                    3. re: westsidegal

                                      thanks westsidegal and ciao bob....i know from your comments and others descriptions that im wimp-like in food tastes but sounds like the cocteles and the chicharron will satisfy my preferences....muchas gracias!

                                      1. re: lapizzamaven

                                        You are welcome - enjoy!
                                        I love the chicharron. It is a very user-friendly, and delicious, dish.

                                        1. re: lapizzamaven

                                          also, dunno if you like oysters on the half shell, but on occasion sergio gets his hands on oysters.
                                          they're not on the menu, but if you like oysters, ask.

                                2. re: emglow101

                                  I've had the langostinos, and although they were yummy... they were one of the least exiciting dish we've had there... we much perfer his shrimp dishes and ceviches/cocktels...

                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                  --Dommy!

                        2. Linking to the correct location:

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                          Mariscos Chentes/Coni'Seafood
                          3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303

                          1. I'm only in LA for a few days (an NYCer) but, thanks to this thread, we stopped by MC today after picking someone up at LAX.
                            Loved the atmosphere of the place and the salsa. Also loved the marlin tacos.
                            We also got the ceviche (mixed seafood, with shrimp, octopus, and fish), and while it was good, it def didn't blow me away. I would go back in a heartbeat to have the marlin tacos again (and to try the shrimp tacos and the other shrimp dishes and the pescado zarandeado, which sounded amazing but we didn't want to wait 30 minutes) but probably wouldn't order the ceviche again. But every table in there had the ceviche, so it must be me, I think I just prefer peruvian/chilean style ceviche to this.
                            But thanks, LA hounds. One reason I love this board is being able to come to LA and find a place like MC. Couldn't have done it w/o chowhound.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Question: I was there Friday night and had a great meal and I grabbed one of their new business cards and on the back to my suprise was Marisco's Chente's #2 at 1130 W. Redondo Beach Blvd in Redondo Beach. Is this a new location? Has anyone one been to this location? Is it the same owners? Should I go or stick with the Imperial location? I don't mean to create more confusion about locations.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: wienermobile

                                sergio seems to be spending 9 out of 10 days at the west imperial highway location.
                                i won't even start my car before confirming that sergio will be preparing my food. . .

                                will ask about the redondo beach blvd place the next time i go there.

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  Thanks again for stearing me to such wonderful food. It is truly appreciated.

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      Please take a bow for keeping the world up to date on Mariscos Chentes/Coni'Seafood. A shout-out today,
                                      http://www.laweekly.com/2011-12-15/ea...

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                                      Mariscos Chentes/Coni'Seafood
                                      3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303