Edward: Well honey…
ONCE AGAIN WE HAVE EATEN WELL
My fingers were on the wrong letters!
Hannah: I was trying to type MARISCOS.
Hannah: OK, so, El Zarandeado.
(I wrote it for you.)
Edward: Wait, what does “El Zarandeado” mean?
Hannah: That’s their signature dish — that split grey snapper.1
Edward: Oh, that’s actually what that dish is called?
Edward: They had a gigantic photo of it on their menu, with EL ZARANDEADO at the top of it, but I thought it was just the name of the restaurant, not the sigil of the dish!
Hannah: But we didn’t have that, so let’s not talk about it. This is a short PREview.
Edward: More of a preliminary report.
Hannah: Yes. We’ve been (you’ve been) wanting mariscos for a while, and this place has been highly recommended both by local reviewers, and by persons known to us. So, I really wanted to try it out.
El Z is mariscos Sinaloa style…all I’ve been able to infer about that style is buttloads of shrimp and not too too spicy.
Edward: I tried looking up some info on Sinaloa cuisine, but couldn’t find very much.
Hannah: So, since we know nothing, we’ll have a purity about our opinions! Can’t be beat! I liked my limonada agua fresca.
Edward: I enjoyed my melon agua fresca.
Honey, Miss Molly is lying next to the keyboard, and I just realized I’ve been resting my pinky finger on her butthole.
Hannah: OK, we also got a couple appetizers and a couple cold “entrees” — more like salads. Testing the waters HAW HAW NO PUN INTENDED
Oh, I just want to note that the place is very casual. I thought it would be more like Mariscos La Playa — more of a restauranty restaurant — but it’s more like a roadside food shack kind of vibe. The outside is a little sketchy looking, like most places along that stretch of Central, but it’s fine inside.
Hannah: Oh, yes, but I thought the signage was actually pretty nice looking. We didn’t get a picture of it, but it looked more modern than some other places.
Edward: Yeah, I’m just saying it’s not fancy. The outside decor is actually very colorful and inviting.
Hannah: I don’t guess the food was all that fancy either, but what did you think?
Edward: Maybe we need a fance-o-meter on these reviews?
First up, how did you like that shrimp consommé we had when we sat down? Did we have to ask for that or was it just automatically served?
Hannah: He asked if we wanted it, or some salsa, but there was no charge for it. I think he called it “shrimp broth” and indeed that’s what it was. A squeeze of lime and some tostada broken into it, it was ok, but I wasn’t in love with it…no specific complaint, just didn’t knock me over.
Edward: I liked it okay — it’s just a nice shrimpy broth, with a little shrimp at the bottom of the bowl. It was kind of like drinking shrimp tea.
Hannah: Yes. But I was eager for the other stuff, so I just had a little, and then waited. And it wasn’t very long!
Toritos: peppers stuffed with shrimp.
Hannah: And fried? No batter/breading/flouring. A soy sauce dipping sauce? All together = nothing I’ve ever tasted before, but good!
Edward: I guess sometimes they’re wrapped in bacon or stuffed with cheese as well as shrimp, but these were pretty plain and simple, but really satisfying. I have never had anything like this before. Novelty!
Hannah: And what about those little empanadas, with a tiny bit of cheese and shrimp and a spicy green sauce? I really liked those, but they were very filling.
Edward: Mmm yeah, I think those were my favorites of the evening. Nice and crispy on the outside, and gooey and shrimpy on the inside.
I guess you’d better like shrimp if you’re going to eat here.
Hannah: Yes. The aforementioned “buttloads of shrimp.”
Edward: Then I had the campechana, which is like a cocktail of shrimp, octopus, and oyster.
Hannah: And, mysteriously, ketchup was brought to the table for it.
Edward: Yeah, I was initially mystified by that, but it actually is really good in the campechana!
Adds a little something.
Hannah: According to the Internet, you can make that spicy with some of the hot sauce and that’s what you have with your coctel.
Edward: Ah, okay. It was a little bland by itself, so I can see how it could be like just sort of a base for whatever mixture of hot sauces you want to put on — and by the way, there are like seven different kinds of hot sauce on the table.
But I think I would have that again over things like ceviche or shrimp cocktail.
Hannah: Oh, speaking of coctels, this is definitely a place to have a beer or two with your meal, which we didn’t….this time.
Everything in it tasted cool and fresh, so that’s good. The shrimp were firm, the oysters were juicy and fresh-tasting. The octopus though was just…sort of there. I didn’t think it added much to the dish.
Hannah: Are you a fan of octopus (pulpo) normally?
Edward: Well, I stopped eating octopus a while back because I feel they’re a strange sort of alien intelligence that we don’t fully understand. So I don’t feel comfortable eating it. However, I made an exception this time because of the oyster and I just wanted to see what was the deal with it.
However, I will say that octopus flesh is delicious!
Edward: Which is why I was a little disappointed, because the octopus itself didn’t have much flavor. I thought, I dashed my ethics to the ground for this?
Hannah: Sorry honey.
Well, I had a tostada w/shrimp and “jaiba,” which turned out to be K-rab.
But I knew that going in because I asked what that was, so that was totally fine. It was also fresh and cool — it was a giant mound of diced up shrimp and krab and minced jalapeno, onion, etc. It was tangy and a bit spicy. Full of flavor.
Edward: Very peppery (black as well as jalapeno) and a good amount of heat — not so spicy that you had to stop eating it.
Hannah: Right. It actually tasted kind of how I expected yours to taste, but yours was much more mild and sweet.
I’m glad I asked the waiter what he likes, we have some good ideas for what to try next time.
Edward: Yeah, it was kind of a weird visit, because we had four appetizers and no entrees.
Hannah: But we needed to get the lay of the land. I do, usually.
Edward: I think that’s just how it is with cuisine we’re not familiar with. We can’t do a comprehensive review right away, especially with a place like this that has a fairly extensive, diverse menu.
Oh, speaking of the menu, non-Spanish speakers should be aware that the menu is totally in Spanish. Although the waiter was very helpful in describing things.
Hannah: Yes. And for the record, his recommendations are: the tacos (any flavor) and the molcajete, which is a bubbling cauldron of mixed seafood and fish. For two.
I would say we ate well, but we will eat there again to eat even better.
Edward: One thing that really surprised me — the price. I thought it was pretty reasonable for the amount and quality of food. We paid basically what you’d pay for a couple of burgers and iced teas at Red Robin.
Hannah: Oh, agreed! I was surprised by the prices on the menu! My tostada was like $4.99 and that was Piled High!!
Yes, value, novelty, friendly, clean.
Edward: We will be back!
6500 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108
Monday – Sunday 9:00am – 8:00pm