A friend of mine has been recommending this place to me for a while. Another friend overheard us talking about it and several weeks’ worth of planning later; we finally all met up for dinner.
I laughed when I pulled up and saw that it was in a building that must of at one time been a Long John Silver or something along those lines. I loved the giant prawn hanging outside too. Inside, I was pleasantly surprised; it was a bright cute little restaurant. There were TVs with Mexican TV playing as well as various parts of a mariachi band walking around.
The menu is huge, and seafood heavy (it is a seafood place). Luckily, I was with all people who like to eat and are willing to try lots of stuff, so we got a bunch of different things (way too much ultimately). As soon as you are seated they give you homemade chips and salsa (very spicy green salsa) as well as a bowl of fish ceviche with fine shreds of fish, cilantro, carrots, red onions and lime. I thought it was pretty tasty, and was impressed that they provided it complimentary.
We started with some shrimp ceviche tostadas ($3.45 each) that we shared. I really liked these—and shrimp ceviche is one of my favorite things when it’s done well. Similar seasoning to the fish ceviche, but a lot more of the meat, and there were dices of fresh cucumber as well (and no carrots). Nice generous slices of avocado on top to give an extra creaminess and extra limes to squeeze on top. I’d get it again in a second.
We got a plate full of shrimp empanadas as well (ours had 8 and it was $12.95). This was an exceptionally generous portion I thought. The empanadas were pretty big. I liked the crust and they were obviously very freshly made, but I didn’t get a lot of shrimp flavor from the filling. In fact, there wasn’t a ton of filling. But they still tasted good with some of the spicy crema sauce served along with. It was a nice starchy type thing to go along with what was a ton of seafood by the end of the night.
The sauces really made the dishes here. They had a lot of deep flavors and while several were similar in some ways, there were subtle differences that had you trying to choose a favorite. Probably my favorite dish and sauce of the night was the “El Medio y Medio” or half and half of whole shell-on, head-on shrimp and what they called lobsters, but what I would call langoustines. Overall, I liked the whole shrimp better than the peeled shrimp that were included in all of the dishes, because they just seemed fresher and had better flavor and texture. The langoustines were cut in half, but they were shell-on as well. This dish was the shellfish simply prepared over a mound of rice in a deep red, flavorful sauce that included some tomato, some lime, and I would say, a fair amount of garlic as well as a fair amount of butter and oil. It was delicious. This would likely be a must order dish as well and focused on two of the best ingredients of the night.
We also ordered the whole fried fish (“moarra frita”) ($13.99). I liked the crisp fried skin, although it was maybe fried a little too far, and parts were a little dried out. When you got to some of the tender bits of meat, it had a nice flavor, particular dipped into one of the sauces (we had a side of chipotle and the garlic sauce). I loved all the limes they served with everything. You know me and my love of acid.
Surely the most impressive dish of the night visually (although honestly they were all pretty impressive looking) was the Parrillada Miramar ($52). And yeah, it’s expensive, but it is A LOT of seafood and while the menu says it serves at least 3, I will jut say, the 6 of us probably didn’t eat half of it. It is huge. Seriously. It’s a giant silver bowl that has its own heat source and it is full of a savory, lighter broth that is chock full of the peeled shrimp, the unpeeled, head-on shrimp, snow crab legs, giant green lip mussels, fish, bay scallops, slices of octopus, and a couple of oysters. I liked the broth a lot, and enjoyed the larger shell-on shrimps and the bits of octopus, and the crab legs, but a lot of the other stuff in there was starting to get a little tough. And I have never been a fan of the green-lipped mussels—they are just too big for me and often have a bit of a funky taste (I didn’t even eat one of these). It’s a great broth, but I would probably skip this one just for the expense and because some of it was just ok.
We had some churros for dessert (how could we really say no?). They were very good, although I could barely eat all of mine. Man, there was a lot of food.
This is a cool place. And there’s langoustines and Chavela (beer and Clamato juice anyone?). The people are really nice (although little English is spoken) and it’s a cute little place. A bunch of the food was really good too. We all quite enjoyed ourselves.
El Puerto de San Blas
3564 Lafayette Road