With the essence of the crispiest pork still lingering on our palates, we arrive to the end of a Chelsea Market corridor to what feels like a noisy open-aired taqueria next to some seafood market somewhere on the coast. It’s the surfer-chick sister restaurant of Los Tacos No. 1. A few sandy-looking picnic tables, a partially open kitchen, a TV playing futbol, a bar counter decorated with so many salsas, sprigs of fresh cilantro. A colorful mural splashed onto the wall lists their drink offer: Cerveza, Clamatos, Micheladas, Mezcal, Tequila, Palomas, Margaritas. Get one. Or get one of the delicious aguas frecas, like we did. The pineapple was good, the watermelon even better. Or try an oyster shooter if you’re into that.
At Los Mariscos 1, you start with the fish taco, made Baja style. Plump and juicy chunks of white fish are battered and fried to golden brown, creating a pillow-light coat that is crispy and perfect. There is no time for it to get soggy, as it’s fried to order, quickly topped with a mess of shredded cabbage, which traps and hold perfectly the bright white crema squeezed over the top. A bit of pico de gallo adds color. When bitten into – a warm, grainy, layered corn tortilla, moist, soft lumps of fish, crispy fried shell, crunchy cabbage and burst of wet from the milky-fresh crema. Add one or more of the many house-made salsas, like their smoky, tomato-y tatemada. Wash it down with Pacifico, a marg or a juice.
Next we tried the Especial ceviche, which came in a generous portion, painted over a crispy, brittle tostada canvas. Tender shrimp, smooth scallop, some clam and chopped octopus, still with a slight chew. It’s all marinated in lemon and lime, mixed up with diced red onion, tomato and crunchy cucumber, and served with two gorgeous lobes of perfectly ripe avocado. Each bite is a rollercoaster of textures, an ode to the marriage of fresh seafood and citrus.
There, in the deep, dark bowels of industrial Chelsea Market, in the middle of February, I swear I felt a salty marine breeze blow by…