Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mariscos El Pescador - Chula Vista

The timing on this post is interesting, considering we just lost one of our star fine dining chefs, Jason Neroni of Blanca - who sniffed that "all San Diegans wanted was fish tacos." Well, yes and no, Jason. San Diegans can be provincial - but in other ways we're surprisingly finicky and demanding. My two recent meals at Blanca suffered from both seasoning and preparation problems - not something you can attribute to the diners' palates. I also just think it's bad form to blame your audience for your shortcomings. We have some amazing ingredients to work with here and I have no doubt that Jason could have put together an interesting and crowd pleasing menu with them that would have satisifed food fanatics and fish taco lovers alike.
But I digress. This post is about tacos. Fish tacos that I had been told were the best in town, from a truck located in a Chula Vista parking lot just off the 5 freeway. Were they good? Yes, but I've said it before and I'll say it again - my feeling about fish tacos is that they're almost always good when they're fresh. These, of course, were very fresh. They were crisp, tempura fried and made with good fish. I would eat them again. Whether I would drive all the way to Chula Vista to stand in the Toys R Us parking lot and eat them again is an open question.
I would probably be more likely to drive all the way down there to eat the Campechana - the mixed seafood cocktail. I ordered one for myself after seeing them being passed out through the window of the truck, like this one below.
It took for-ever to prepare, and when I received it I knew why. They were shucking fresh shellfish in the truck. Peeking out from under the avocado, you can just barely see a large, quivering oyster. There were also scallops, shrimp, and of course tomato juice - along with the giant slice of buttery avocado on top. The timing was actually a bit of an issue though it was worth the wait. The tacos are fairly fast coming out - but the cocktail took a good 15 minutes to make.

They also offer the other usual Mariscos dishes - consomme with shrimp, aguachile (spicy seafood ceviche) and gobernador style tacos - with peppers, onions and cheese. I didn't get to try those, but they seem to be highly recommended. One drawback to this place vs. some of the other trucks is that they don't (at least as of the time I was there) have any table seating. You are either standing, sitting in a chair or eating on the hood of your car. Since it's grab & go food it's ok for the most part - but not very comfortable. Maybe they'll solve that problem if they haven't already.

To get there, take 5 to the L Street offramp - it's just East of the freeway, in the Toys R Us parking lot. Not sure of their hours, but they're definitely open for lunch. Just be prepared for a bit of a wait.


  1. Did you check out the Tortas Ahogadas truck while down there too?

  2. Jason's comment really irked me for some reason. But that seafood cocktail definitely looks worth the drive!

  3. I'm so glad someone said something about Neroni's remarks! His wife is an art curator? Maybe she can explain to him that food is like art--you're not going to please everybody. And when you don't, have the dignity to accept that fact, rather than criticize your own patrons.

    With that said, I'm very excited to see how far San diego has come in terms of cuisine and philosophy. We've got some AMAZINGLY TALENTED chefs (with positive attitudes!), and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store!

  4. I really liked the food here when I went, but I also am not sure if I would drive all the way to Chula Vista for it. I think there is one on Clairemont/Convoy, but I don't know if it is as good.

  5. That seafood cocktail looks AMAZING! I think I need one right now!

  6. wow, the Campechana looks and sounds absolutely amazing. time to find an east coast substitute....

  7. Tom Armitage11/18/10, 10:53 AM

    I'll be in San Diego in late December and hope to check out MEP. Next week I'll be eating the fabulous seafood tacos at Gardenias in Cabo San Lucas and Tacos Rossy in San Juan del Cabo, which will make for an interesting comparison. Love your blog.