Restaurant Review: Mariscos El Submarino, for Aguachile, in Queens

Severe is just not the phrase that springs instantly to thoughts while you arrive at Mariscos El Submarino, a seafood restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens.

It could be simple for a enterprise to get misplaced on this a part of Jackson Heights, the place the sidewalks are crowded with distributors promoting embroidery, do-it-yourself bread and tropical-fruit nieves, and the home-audio shops are at all times demonstrating how their smallest audio system sound at prime quantity. So it might be a necessity to face out from the fray that led Mariscos El Submarino to take as its emblem a cartoon of a yellow submarine grinning brightly beneath an extended, curved black mustache that appears as if it got here with a Halloween costume.

Going incognito doesn’t appear to have prevented the submarine from choosing up a passenger, a pink octopus, whose legs dangle from an open hatch. The emblem seems on the awning, within the entrance window and once more within the eating room, which is vibrant white with accents in Fanta blue and orange. On the identical wall is one other cartoon, this one among a shrimp coming out of a life preserver. The shrimp carefully resembles Woody Woodpecker, all the way down to its three-fingered fingers, uncommon amongst each birds and crustaceans.

As soon as an order of aguachile negro has been hoisted to the desk, although, there can be little question that Mariscos El Submarino is a severe operation. The serving vessel is a stout three-legged molcajete carved from black volcanic rock. Chopped shrimp and cucumbers, avocado sliced right into a fan and a darkish, espresso-hued marinade practically slosh over the brim. A shot of soy sauce offers the aguachile negro its coloration and the type of savory depth related extra with seared meat or mushrooms than with uncooked Mexican seafood.

For an extended minute, the soy sauce appears to be the entire story, or a minimum of the primary story. This lasts till the second it turns into howlingly clear that, though the aguachile negro at Mariscos El Submarino will not be as punishing because the goong chae nam pla at sure native Isan eating places, it’s nonetheless one of many spiciest bowls of uncooked shrimp in New York Metropolis.

Aguachile is an innovation of the coastal Mexican states of Nayarit and Sinaloa. In a typical aguachile, chiles are blended with different aromatics and water to make a skinny sauce that’s launched to uncooked seafood simply earlier than serving. Ceviche in Mexico descends from ceviche in Peru, however aguachile is homegrown. And whereas the ceviches at Mariscos El Submarino are very contemporary and good, they don’t compel consideration fairly as fiercely as its aguachiles, each the usual chopped-shrimp model and the mixto, with ribbons of fish and slices of octopus.

There’s a comparatively delicate inexperienced aguachile, a purple one that’s fairly a bit spicier, after which there may be the mango habanero, drowning in a deep lake of mango juice that appears innocuous. Don’t flip your again on it.

A molcajete-size portion of aguachile with a stack of tostadas is most effectively tackled by two or extra individuals. A solo diner at El Submarino would most likely do higher getting the smaller serving to of aguachile that’s mounded over a tostada and positioned on a tray, so the sauce has room to unfold out. The ceviches are additionally out there in tostada kind. Essentially the most spectacular tostada, although, is a towering development of shrimp ceviche, fish ceviche and aguachile mixto underneath a thatch of shredded cabbage dressed with chipotle adobo. It’s referred to as La Sicaria: the murderer.

Mariscos El Submarino is owned by Amy Hernandez, who takes orders on the counter, and her husband, Alonso Guzman, who makes all of the meals. She is a Queens native whose household comes from the state of Guerrero; he grew up in Michoacán, however his mother and father are Sinaloan and fed him the aguachiles and different dishes which can be the spine of his menu.

If it isn’t too busy, Ms. Hernandez could have time to make a mangonada, piling mango items over ice and lime juice right into a cup rimmed with chamoy and Tajín. A straw, in a thick coat of tamarind paste, goes in final, though there may be barely sufficient liquid within the cup to fill a bottle cap. A much less labor-intensive and extra thirst-quenching possibility is the rusa, a sort of virgin michelada made with Squirt soda.

The seafood cocktails might additionally function a beverage. They arrive in massive plastic drink cups, and whereas the shrimp (or shrimp and octopus, within the campechano cocktail) is the ostensible focal point, the purpose of the dish is the purple juice that tastes of extra issues than you’ll be able to simply title. Tomatoes, in fact, and lime juice, cucumbers and onions. Past that: orange soda, absolutely. A bottle of Maggi sauce appears to play a component.

What we all know for sure is that El Submarino sends its seafood cocktails out with purple, white and blue packages of SkyFlakes, a soda cracker baked within the Philippines. SkyFlakes are firmer and far crunchier than the fragile saltines that often flip up with Mexican shrimp cocktails, and so they keep crisp even after a short soaking. They’re ideally constructed for persevering with to analyze the cocktail recipe. One other dunk, one other style — is that clam broth in there? (Sure, within the type of Clamato, a Sinaloan contact.)

The menu mentions some scorching meals, together with empanadas, seafood stews and a shrimp burger with Muenster cheese. In my expertise, these have been often not out there.

However you’ll be able to at all times get a taco. Those with battered fish or shrimp and chopped cabbage, with pink chipotle mayonnaise salsa dribbled excessive, wouldn’t flip any heads in Ensenada, however they’re very welcome on Roosevelt Avenue.

Extra uncommon is the taco el rey. This can be a variation on that proud Sinaloan creation, the taco el gobernador. The unique is stuffed with chopped shrimp and melted cheese. Some tacos el gobernador are so densely carpeted with cheese they appear to be vying for quesadilla standing. The cheese on the tacos el rey at El Submarino is extra just like the glaze on a doughnut, shiny and alluring. What elevates the lowly governor’s taco to the king of tacos? The addition of sliced New York strip steak.

What the Stars Imply Due to the pandemic, eating places should not being given star scores. | Restaurant Assessment: Mariscos El Submarino, for Aguachile, in Queens


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