One of my favorite things about blogging has been forming connections with other bloggers. For example, JD Nasaw (Citizen Taco) was recently in town from Austin and contacted both me and Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza (among other bloggers) to learn more about L.A.’s dining scene. Bill and I teamed up to show JD the kind of East L.A. dining options that are unlikely in central Texas. Our first stop was at Mariscos Jalisco, where we devoured tacos dorados de camaron and even bought a sweet cream empanada from a passing baby stroller. Around the corner, across from a towering Sears, Esparza knew about a Colima-style seafood spot called Marisqueria El Tejado, home to our main event.
The indoor-outdoor seafood restaurant is in the style of Tecoman, a city in Colima, Mexico, that’s not far from the Pacific. Marisqueria El Tejado features several oceanic elements, including a rudimentary beach mural that fills the wall of the parking lot. The interior features more modern touches, including flat screen TVs, neon beer signs and a jukebox that was bumping reggaeton. El Tejado also hosted some roving norteños, who played live music (tableside) in the dining room. Owner Jose Alcala has certainly cultivated a festive atmosphere in El Tejado’s seven years, and at night, it’s supposed to get even more raucous.
El Tejado’s massive ocean-blue menu features categories for ceviche, cocteles, ostiones, camarones, pulpo, caldos, langosta, langostino, pescado, botanos and the decidedly un-alluring otros platillos (other plates). There are also tacos, desayunos and fajitas. The most interesting section consisted of Mariscada. They have pescado zarandeado, a dish well known from Mariscos Chente, but they spotlight Huachinango Fresco Mexicano (fresh mexican red snapper), available zarandeado, a la talla, a la talla relleno and chacales zarandeado. Esparza – the food-seeking missile – instantly knew we were looking at menu paydirt.
We started with a basket of chips and a tangy, spicy salsa crafted from jalapeno, cooked chile de arbol, tomato and tomatillo.
The tangy ceviche ($7.99) incorporated minced snapper, tomato, cilantro and carrot, an ingredient that’s a hallmark of Colima ceviche, which adds further textural contrast and extra sweetness. The ceviche hosted creamy slabs of avocado and came with crisp, whisper-thin corn tostadas. We shook on bottled habanero salsa, which was scorching, but worked well with ceviche’s acidity.
The showpiece was clearly pescado a la talla ($24.99), which arrived foil wrapped. The red snapper requires patience, since it’s cooked for 45 minutes with tomato, garlic, tomato, bell pepper, cilantro and onion, to name just some of the ingredients. This is a totally different experience from zarandeado, since the fish doesn’t become caramelized or smoky in the foil, but I still appreciated how the marinade infused the juicy, fork tender snapper. The chef was secretive about the marinade, but mayo clearly came into play.
Accompaniments included warm house-made corn tortillas; a scoop of rice studded with carrots, corn kernels and peas; sweet, creamy cole slaw folded with raisins and julienne carrots; and iceberg, tomato and cucumber salad swimming in Thousand Island dressing.
Three bloggers were clearly no match for Marisqueria El Tejado’s massive menu, but based on the huachinango a la talla, further exploration is clearly necessary.