photo credit: Noah Devereaux
It’s a rivalry as old as time. Or at least as old as Martha Stewart (Ready to have your mind blown? As of this writing, she’s 75): the eternal debate of New York City vs Los Angeles. On the NYC side, we get usable public transit, some famous museums, bodegas, late-night delivery, and incredible pizza. Then again, LA has beaches, never-ending sun, more green juice emporiums than grocery stores, objectively happier people, and incredible fish tacos.
But thanks to Los Mariscos, we can finally call the score even on that last one. The people behind our favorite tacos in Manhattan (Los Tacos No. 1) have done it again, this time with with seafood. To get here, you’ll have to delve even deeper into the hidden corners of Chelsea Market - once you’re at Los Tacos, turn left, make your way through the narrow hallway, and you’ll be dumped off into the promised land. (And if you want to avoid Chelsea Market altogether, you can even enter Los Mariscos directly from 15th Street.)
Despite being technically located in a glorified mall, Los Mariscos’ removed spot manages to feel like it’s an open-air neighborhood taqueria somewhere in Mexico. There are a few picnic tables, an open kitchen, some fluorescent Christmas lights, and a small bar with soccer on TV where you’ll grab a margarita. The whole operation is affordable, convenient, and efficient. And unlike Los Tacos No. 1, which still feels like it’s in a food court, you can comfortably hang out at Los Mariscos for multiple rounds of beers and tacos.
But the real reason you feel like you could be in Mexico is because that’s where you find food like this. Everything Los Mariscos serves tastes like it was caught from an ocean five minutes ago. Your options are tacos, ceviche tostadas, and aguachiles (i.e. bathtubs of salsa and raw fish). You’re going to want to go heaviest on that first category, but you should dabble in all. Martha certainly would.
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Sweet mother of the sea. Thank you. And thank you Los Mariscos, for providing such a glorious vessel (handmade tortillas and a red/green sauce situation) for this perfectly-battered fish we’re pretty sure they caught out of their private ocean in the back.
Also excellent, for all reasons listed above. If you were, hypothetically, eating three tacos, we’d advise you to go two fish, one shrimp.
Spicy Shrimp Taco
Our least favorite taco here, which is to say probably the third-best fish taco in NYC. In this case, the spicy sauce covering the shrimp just isn’t necessary - these are too good on their own.
Imagine one of those giant bowls that restaurants use to mix guacamole in front of you (they’re called molcajetes). Or just imagine a bathtub. Now imagine it filled with raw shrimp swimming in a spicy cold broth. Dive in.
You normally get guacamole to tide you over before your meal comes. The food happens here quick, so you don’t really need it. But you’ll get it anyway.