phoenix mexican seafood restaurants
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Phoenix Mexican Seafood Restaurants
May, 2011, Page 157
Shrimp cocktail is so last season. For authentic, spicy seafood, try the Mexican marine martini: campechana.
San Carlos Bay
1901 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix
It’s an unlikely spot for sumptuous seafood, but there on the southeast corner of McDowell Road and 19th Street, tucked in the shadow of the Piestewa Freeway, you can almost smell the salt air and hear the waves crashing ashore. If there are any doubts you’re in the right place, simply glance at the ocean-blue awning outside this blocky white building, with its giant illustrations of shrimp and fish.
Little has changed in the decades since this tidy place first brought its authentic Mexican fare to the Valley, and for good reason. The seafood cocktails here are extraordinary, starting with the from-scratch sauce. It’s vibrant, zingy and light enough to sing while still letting the star ingredients shine through.
All this goodness starts with real shrimp-extract juice (other eateries may cheat and substitute salt water). Then the chef tosses in freshly diced tomato, onion, cucumber and a healthy dollop of homemade salsa. It all goes into a tall glass with your choice of briny delights: oysters, chewy octopus, squid, sea snail or baby clams.
Go for the gusto with the San Carlos Super Cocktail, a scoopable salad of cooked shrimp, raw shrimp, octopus, squid, sea snail, baby clams, oysters and ceviche.
5828 W. Indian School Road, Phoenix
There may be a giant octopus waving at you from the front window. Or an enormous clam grinning with its gaping maw. The artists who craft the murals at this colorful, red tile-roofed restaurant are playful spirits. The real seafood inside will quickly draw your attention away from the painted stuff, however, with lavish specialties from Orgullo Sinaloense, or “the pride of Sinaloa,” the coastal state that kisses the shores along the Sea of Cortez south of Sonora and Chihuahua.
Naturally, ingredients here are fresh and packed with the flavor that only authentic herbs and spices can impart. All the ocean’s finest make their appearance for the cocktails, such as shrimp, octopus and fish ceviche; you’ll find yourself slurping every last drop of vivid, beautiful broth. But the greatest indulgence is in the Campechana Especial, a fish-bowl sized symphony of shrimp, squid and octopus, plus some high-end ingredients you won’t often see in other cocktails around town: meaty scallops, chewy abalone and slippery snails.
In true Sonoran-style, there’s often live, loud mariachi music. Service is pleasant but perfunctory, hot sauce is nearly mandatory, and it helps if you speak a little Spanish. But one truth is universal: Estos mariscos son muy buenos.
6902 E. Greenway Pkwy.
(Westin Kierland Resort),
The basic inspiration is rustic cocktail-ceviche, but the execution is all elegance in this nuevo Latino fantasia menu from founding Chef Douglas Rodriguez, Executive Chef Todd Berry and Chef de Cuisine Roberto Madrid.
One particular stunner, and one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, is the lobster Escabeche, featuring a delicate lobster tail ceviche in a multi-layered Escabeche sauce made of jalapeño vinegar, tri-color bell peppers, red onion, lime juice, olive oil, chile flakes, ginger, garlic and oregano. But the complex creation doesn't stop there. Garnished with avocado, chives, sweet aji pepper and garlic chips, this multifaceted meal packs a lot of flavor onto one plate.
For something a little simpler, the Mixto Clasico brings an opulent tumble of lobster, shrimp, silky scallops, calamari, octopus and crab accented with red onion and sweet potato. While you scoop your ceviche with chips, meanwhile, Millionaire tacos come in a chip. Made of yucca, these bite-size joys come packed with velvety hamachi and lobster marinated in lime juice, lemon-kissed ahi, feathery wisps of fried onions, scallions and Kewpie sauce of mayo-yuzu-ponzu-togarashi.
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