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Overcooked fish at Mision 19 and La Caza Club, do I need to specify how I want fish cooked?

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I had dinner 3X in the last couple months at Mision 19 and ordered fish the 3X I was there. The first 2X the fish was cooked perfectly. It would flake with the touch of the fork. Last week I went to La Caza Club after hearing about it and looked promising. I wanted to change things up and try somewhere new. I went with a group of people and 3 of us ordered fish. The fish was overcooked for everyone. It was bone dry and when you split the fish, the middle of the fish was blaring hot and steam was coming from it. This was not what I wanted since I was trying to sell a friend on the TJ dining scene. I told him it's typically not like this. So, I brushed the fish experience off. Then last night I had dinner at Mision 19 and ordered the fish along with my friend. Both pieces were over cooked. I had mentioned to her my experience at La Caza Club and how disappointed I was. And even said, I wonder if I have to specify how to cook a piece of fish. Do they assume I want it well done if I don't say anything? It wasn't a tuna steak or anything. Every time I ordered fish it was whitefish. I don't think you have to specify how to cook whitefish. It isn't a steak type of fish. Am I missing something?

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  1. I think you had a little streak of bad luck there.

    Can't speak to La Caza Club as I haven't been there yet, but after having dined mutliple times at Mision 19 I do know that it can be a bit uneven at times and how good it is sometimes depends upon who is in the kitchen. I also think had you told your waiter it was overcooked they probably would have replaced it.

    I was someplace recently where the fish was somewhat overcooked and I remember being surprised by that since it had been perfectly cooked on previous visits. Sometimes it's the fish, sometimes it's the cook, and sometimes it's just because...

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      De verdad. And we don't know whether it was fried whole as boquinette usually is, grilled as huachinango and mero usually is, or baked in banana leaves as redfish often is. Any preparation can be hit or miss, hopefully the hits are 90%.
      And yes, they assume you want it well done unless you say otherwise.

    2. I have run into this issue in a lot of restaurants in Mexico - automatically overcooking fish, steaks, etc. to leather-like consistencies.

      When I ask for raro or media cocino I get cross-eyed looks.

      What is the best way to ask for a gently cooked meal?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Gypsy Jan

        Definitely not raro (that means weird).

        1. re: hankstramm

          "Poco cocido" is one option if you want rare. "Raro", as hankstramm says, means "weird", "strange", "unusual". I can believe you got funny looks! "I'd like my steak strange please." X-D

          "Término medio" gets you medium-rare to medium, in my experience in Mexico. And sometimes well-done, but that's the cook's fault.

          1. re: Soul Vole

            Rare for beef is "rojo inglés" in Mexico.

            Rare: rojo inglés
            Medium-rare: poco cocido or jugoso ("juicy")
            Medium: término medio
            Medium-well: tres cuartos
            Well: bien cocido

            For fish, I'm not sure—maybe just say "nomás séllelo, por favor" (just sear it, please).

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Sorry, to chime in, but to clarify:

              Inglés or rojo inglés is what the French call blue
              Rojo is rare
              Medio Rojo is medium rare
              Término medio--through Bien cocido is correct.

              Needless to say, in general, unless you're dealing with professional chefs in Mexico, they'll overcook things. So if you want medium rare, ask rare.

              As Das Ubergeek mentioned, as for fish, good luck. They are in the habit of overcooking things.

              1. re: hankstramm

                Thanks for the clarification. I've found that many places overcook even then, to the point where pink is "rojo" (because it's not grey) where we would call that medium, and "término medio" is often what we'd call medium well... hence the "rojo inglés", which will get you a cool red centre, assuming they know how to do it.

                One problem is that even in different parts of Mexico, different terms are used, not to mention the rest of the Spanish-speaking world. In Baja, I've most often heard "poco cocido", but "medio rojo" is one I'll try next time.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Yes, what I'm telling you are the terms used in decent restaurants in Mexico City. The rest of the country who knows. It's hard enough there.