Before I ever discovered the world famous Mariscos La Guerrerense, I was a regular at a traditional seafood stand just a block away, where I first tried the Ensenada-style ground fish ceviche, and freshly shucked shellfish. Mariscos El Güero was and is a serious traditional seafood cart serving the finest products prepared by a mariscos master that along with La Guerrerense and Mariscos El Pizon, forms Ensenada's seafood cart triumvirate.
All of the traditional stands in Ensenada serve more or less the same regional menu of cocktails, ceviches, prepared shellfish, and tostadas (with the exception of the the aforementioned stands)–most are pretty good, but the quality and craftsmanship at El Güero are apparent, and at first bite–transcendent. There are so many tempting items on their menu but there are some dishes you don't want to miss, especially if your ambition is to win the triple crown and visit all three seafood powerhouses.
There are all the usual clams and oysters: Pismo clams, black clams, Pacific oysters, pen shell clams, mussels, and the prized chocolatas, or chocolate clams. You can get them raw, or prepared with chopped vegetable, salsas, and other condiments–start with the chocolatas, but you might want to let them know to hold the ketchup! Ketchup in my cocktail–yes–but on my chocolata?–no manches! Sometimes that when-in-Rome thing doesn't fly. The best that El Güero has to offer is straightforward, and highlights the regional products.
Chocolatas have a medium clam flavor, and a nice chewy texture–you should only order these if they are live because their flavor and firmness dissipate very fast. You'll have no problem with that here, though.
There is always a crowd of locals, tourists, and cruise ship day trippers around this stand snacking on a tostada especial, which is a bounty of chocolatas, Pismos, octopus, cooked shrimp tossed with onions, tomatoes, and diced cucumbers for making your own tostadas.
The tostada de callo de hacha, or pen shell clam tostada is a showcase for the Cadillac of Mexican shellfish–the flavor comes from the freshness and the triangular cuts of clam that get a huge boost from the painfully delicious salsa of chopped red and orange habaneros and serranos in lime with a dash of olive oil.
Another simple plate is the tostada de camaron curado, or cured shrimp tostada that's a sublime taste of pristine shrimp cooked in lime with vegetables that could rival any amaebi (sweet shrimp) sashimi.
El Güero should be include in your mariscos tour of Ensenada, because they have what brought you here in the first place–amazing oceanic products–and are one of the many reasons why Ensenada is Mexico's seafood capitol.
Mariscos El Güero, is located on the northwest corner of Lázaro Cárdenas and Alvarado in the tourist zone, 9A.M. to 5P.M.
Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget todownload our free Best Of App here!