Advertisement

Gossiping Gourmet: Beach scenes, impressive ceviche selection

November 03, 2010|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • The Ceviche de Camaron, fine cut shrimp in line, mix with tomato, cilantro and onion, at the Seafood Zone in Huntington Beach.
The Ceviche de Camaron, fine cut shrimp in line, mix with… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

Everything we experienced at the Seafood Zone was a bit out of the ordinary. In the first place, we were the only customers in the restaurant. (They're very busy at lunch.) Secondly, the décor in the small café was the most casual we have ever encountered: bright blue folding chairs and metal tables all adorned with beer labels advertising Corona and Pacifico, walls covered with Baja-inspired beach scenes and two giant TV screens. Carlos Netto, the owner, pointed out with a sweet smile, "This is not fine dining." Also unusual was that this restaurateur was our server, and chatting with him provided the evening's entertainment. What was even more surprising was that this little restaurant serves some of the finest ceviches we've had in recent memory.

The charming Carlos, a former real estate agent from El Salvador with no previous restaurant experience, told us that when his wife, Susan, became ill, they changed their diet dramatically to focus on healthy foods. At this same time, he was looking for a business opportunity with a partner who had restaurant experience. They took over Guty's, a Mexican restaurant, a little over a year ago, and the previous chef's father took over the kitchen. The partner went by the wayside as often happens in small businesses, and Carlos became a jack-of-all trades. His passion for healthy food has led him to gradually transform the menu, an ongoing project, which includes a visiting chef from Peru, the world capital of ceviche, who will share his knowledge of Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian cuisine).

Advertisement

We were immediately drawn to the seafood appetizers and soups rather than the tacos or the fish and chips, although we felt we should try one of the specialty plates as well.

Mexican beer was served with a squeeze of fresh lime in chilled glass mugs ringed with lime and salt. We were impressed with how delicious this made an ordinary Dos Equis, especially at $3 a pop.

As we tried to decide among the numerous seafood appetizers, including ceviches, tostadas and cocktails, Carlos intervened and said, "Let me bring you a sampler platter." So of course, we agreed. What we disagreed on is which we liked the best. This was difficult because they were all so good.

Huntington Beach Independent Articles Huntington Beach Independent Articles
|
|
|