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Lucky to be in Baja during the short season for Langosta (Pacific spiny lobster), I had the chance to indulge in a live lobster at Mariscos Bahia two nights ago. My visits to the area usually focus on what's new and exciting and I've missed trying this 50-year old restaurant till now.
I insisted on choosing my own from the tank. My creature weighed 0.64 kilos and cost 928 pesos on the full dinner. The prices on the printed menu are for frozen langosta the rest of the year. Live langosta in season is 1450 pesos per kilo.
Ordered Puerto Nuevo style, the split lobster's cavities were filled with a savory shrimp salad dressed with garlic mayonnaise and celery. While not fried in butter the traditional way, the sweet meat was exactly on point and juicy. Plenty of drawn butter was served on the side as well as guacamole, Mexican rice and refritos. The flour tortillas were a letdown, not as thick and chewy as they should be. Still, a chunk of langosta dipped in butter, dabbed with guacamole and bundled in a torn piece of tortilla was the perfect bite.
Though pallid to the eye, the salsa fresca served with the complimentary chips tasted remarkably tomato-y with the right amount of piquancy for me. I also enjoyed the cup of Caldo mixto brimming with octopus, shrimp and fish, all tender with no rubbery faults.
To drink, Wendtland Veraniega, labeled as Mexican ale and in the style of American wheat beer, 80 pesos. With floral and citrusy aromas and flavors, this was a very fine match with delicate seafood. And for bitter-sensitive and hops-averse tasters like me, a refreshing change from extra-hopped brews.
The strolling musicians added to the atmosphere, but became somewhat wearisome by the time the fourth group approached my table. The old school, attentive service of long-time waiters was a delight.
This taste of langosta brought me back to earlier years when local lobsters were much more common on the California table. Enjoying one again with guacamole was a reminder of my time in grad school when we would head to East LA and enjoy them drowned in garlic butter and guac. I'm happy I could be in the right place at the right time to revisit this tradition at the source.
Restaurante Mariscos Bahía de Ensenada
Av Riveroll 109
Zona Centro, 22800 Ensenada, B.C.
646 178 1015
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