Mariscos Chente is a “Nayarit seafood place with a Sinaloan chef, the best in LA,” says streetgourmetla. “It’s rare that you have a cuisine outside of its country of origin where the quality, aesthetic, and flavor is identical to the best representations of the mother country. I would put Sergio’s cooking up with the best seafood joints, high and low, in Sinaloa.”
For those of you who are wondering, Nayarit and Sinaloa are two adjoining Mexican states on the Pacific coast. Their seafood dishes are almost identical. Nayarit is the birthplace of pescado zarandeado, “the world-renowned charcoal grilled whole fish entrée marinated in either a tomato-based sauce or a garlic, butter, and soy base, my favorite,” explains streetgourmetla. There’s a lot of soy usage throughout the area, brought by an influx of Japanese immigrants and mariners, he explains.
Most importantly, there’s raw fish. “Sinaloan chefs are Mexican sashimi experts, deft with the knife, aficionados of fresh seafood, polished platters, and versed in many cooking disciplines,” says streetgourmetla. There is ceviche de camaron (raw shrimp), callo de hacha (raw scallops in lime), and aquachile (whole raw shrimp with lime and chile), all garnished with purple onion and cucumber. They serve raw abalone, raw oysters, raw clams, raw mussels. The great Sinaloan chefs have unique, recognizable knifework—it is as much an art form in Sinaloa as it is in Japan, says streetgourmetla.
On the cooked side, there is chicharron de pescado (fish skin in soy sauce) and camaron a la pimienta (shrimp in an oil and pepper sauce), dishes that “go beyond the usual suspects at most Mexican seafood restaurants,” says streetgourmetla.
Mariscos Chente sources fresh seafood from Mazatlán, and uses different varieties of shrimp in different dishes for Sinaloan perfection. Its ceviche de camaron is “a glorious heap of white shrimp … fresh cut and crisp cucumber, purple onion, tomato, and cilantro on a shallow pool of lime. It was ample and devastatingly good,” says streetgourmetla. They’re serving many of the dishes mentioned above, and bringing in more and more equipment as the days pass—so the menu will broaden, and quickly.
Of the two branches, the Mar Vista Mariscos Chente is the best, says streetgourmetla, with master chef Sergio currently installed. And once the grill gets going, the Mar Vista branch will be the only one capable of making pescado zarandeado. The Inglewood branch is still good, though.
Mariscos Chente [Westside–Beaches]
4532 South Centinela, Mar Vista
Mariscos Chente [South LA]
10020 Inglewood Avenue, Inglewood