Sometimes when I go for a run after work in my neighborhood, I pass by this restaurant and there is always groups of people waiting outside to eat. I made a mental note that I needed to check it out one day.
My cousin, Susan, Aleen and I came here early one Saturday night because were had heard the wait can be quite long, but we got lucky and got seated fairly quickly. Just be forewarned, the seats are packed pretty tight inside, so you'll be very close to your dining companions.
Here's a picture of the menu. It refers to Nayarit, which is a costal state in Mexico. I've never been there, but I presume that this restaurant showcases the seafood cuisine of that region.
When you sit down, they will give each diner their own tuna tostada with some chopped cucumbers, red onions, carrots and tomatoes. They also served this with a hot sauce, which was HOT! They weren't kidding when they said not to use too much. It was a salsa huichol, which is made from a blend of spices, chiles and vinegar. A few drops was all that I could handle.
We ordered some shrimp empanadas as well. It was served hot with a slice of avocado on top.
We ordered a plate of the langoustines, which look like mini lobsters or giant crayfish. I've been duped by places in Southern California that advertise lobster tacos and it turns out to belangoustines, so I think a lot of people use the terms interchangeable, but really they are not baby lobsters. I think it tastes more like a shrimp or crayfish than a lobster. I've seen biggerlangoustines before, but these were on the smaller side. My cousin and I wondered whether maybe the size depends on the season. Anyhow, the garlic and butter sauce is what makes this dish. We dipped fries or anything we could get our hands on, into this sauce. We even dipped the peeled langoustine tails into the sauce before popping them in our mouths. Although this looks like a lot of food, there's not that much meat in each langoustine. It's a shame because all of that flavor is seeped into the crevices of the shell.
We also got a grilled red snapper with garlic butter sauce. Most people around us ordered the whole fried red snapper. Since it was four girls, watching their figure, we opted for the grilled option. We were so confused because it looked like three pieces of fish, but they had deboned the fish from the back bone, breaded the two pieces of the fish and the backbone, and fried it. So it wasn't what you would consider grilled, it's just slightly less fried. lol.
The breaded part was garlicy, buttery and crispy, and the flesh of the fish was perfectly moist. We really enjoyed it. It came with a side of rice and salad. We ordered a side of french fries as well.
My friends and cousin still rave about how good the food was here. We'll definitely have to come back. They also have crab legs in that nayarit sauce that we saw a lot of other people eat. We might have to try some next time.
Mariscos de Veneno
1024 N Ashland Ave
(between Augusta Blvd & Cortez St)
Chicago, IL 60622
Btw, it's across the street from El Barco, my friends ended up there by accident.