Marisco's El Veneno translates to poisonous seafood or seafood venom. I can assure you that there is no blowfish in the tacos' or seafood cocktails or any of the seafood dishes served at this popular little BYOB on Ashland. Only on the walls where they are used as decorations along with pufferfish and other sea creatures will you find them. The menu is all seafood and the recipes come from the Mexican state of Nayarit. One of the country's 31 states it sits along the Mexican riviera which are all states on the pacific ocean. So the style of cooking in this part of Mexico is heavy on seafood and spice with lots of seasonings. The menu at Marisco's El Veneno is the same. The Ashland location has been open for about a year now and they also have a spot on Pulaski in the Southside and a branch in ATL Georgia. Due to the wonderful investigative reporting over at LTH it was noted that the Chicago and Atlanta locations are owned by the in-laws of Marisco's al Veneno in Bucerias -just north of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Nayarit.
I recently got to eat a bday dinner with da family at the Ashland location and it was on the money in my book-and all I play is winners. On top of having a nice little outdoor seating area it is also a BYOB so if you like that, its a big plus. Here's what they got to offer you.
^The night started with a complimentary crab tostada. The chef is very friendly and he likes to make his rounds to make sure people are enjoying their food and night. If you bring booze just ask for a few buckets filled with ice and they will gladly bring them out to keep it cool. Bring plenty of beer with limes if you plan on eating the salsa. The tostada was a nice appetizer on a summer day and when I laced it with the hot sauce it was a good eat.
^The shrimp empanadas were a huge surprise for me. I wasn't expecting them to be that addictive but these were some of the best empanadas I've had in a while. Put a little bit of the hot sauce on them and they become real special. Other people were in agreement that these were very much a gem and a bargain for whatever price they were.
Langoustines in the house sauce
^When I said the dish of the langoustines in house sauce was one of the best things I had eaten all year I almost forgot about them when this dish came out. Camerones de momias or mummy shrimp-you just kind of knew it was going to be good. The shrimp are stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon and fried to perfection. Anything wrapped in bacon is going to have some potential and this reached the max.
^In case you havent figured it out by now or are a new reader to my site-I like heat. So we had to try an order of the shrimp diablo which I opted for over the garlic shrimp. Again the sauce was great and when I mixed the rice into the leftover sauce it was pretty damn fire.
^Most of the menu items at Veneno can easily feed two people and the lobster is one that can feed 3-4 if not more. Its good to order a few things and split them so you can get as much of everything because like everything else, the lobster was great. It was a whole lobster cooked fresh and stuffed with shrimp, octopus, crab and scallops and slathered in red sauce.
^This dish, a specialty of the region, was full of flavor and another winner in my book. The Nayarit red sauce was rich and had a real nice kick of spice and smokiness most likely from chipotles. Another deal at $20 since it can easily and should be shared by all at the table.
^The crabs were outstanding. Again served in the red sauce which is loaded with butter and for $25 they give you two large crabs worth so its a deal yet again. The sauce basically seeped into the crab meat and made me wonder if I could ever eat crabs in just plain old butter again.
Whole fried snapper topped with grilled onions and other fun things
Marisco's El Veneno
1024 N Ashland Ave