Update: Sergio Penuelas has moved to
3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood, CA 90303
Back in April, I broke the news that Sergio Penuelas, the chef behind the success of Mariscos Chente in Mar Vista, had left the restaurant to come work at the other Maricos Chente in Inglewood, run by his father-in-law Vincente(Chente) Cossio.
It was at the Inglewood location of Mariscos Chente that I first came across Sergio doing a crawl through Lennox/Inglewood back in August of 2008. The family was operating out of Inglewood, awaiting repairs at the Mar Vista Chente, that had a kitchen fire sometime in 2008, causing the restaurant to close.
The Mar Vista branch was up and running by January of 2009, where after months of monitoring their progress since I first met them in '08, I attended the very soft opening for about ten friends and family.
From that post in January of 2009, Mariscos Chente soon became a favorite Mexican seafood destination in Los Angeles. Its many regulars including myself were shocked to learn that Sergio had left, and that he would be in Inglewood, which might as well be the Inland Empire to many of the Westside clientele. Worse yet? No pescado zarandeado?
Vincente Cossio, the ageless patriarch of the family, and the man who trained Sergio in the ways of the Nayarit kitchen, was working at the original Mariscos Chente's on Imperial Highway, also in Inglewood. When Vincente and his wife Magdalena divorced several years ago, she opened the Mar Vista Mariscos Chente, dropped the apostrophe s, and took Sergio with her. Vincente worked with his daughter Connie Cossio, who now is the sole proprietor of the Mariscos Chente's in Inglewood on Imperial Highway, because Vincente had snatched up the Mariscos Chente in Inglewood, on Inglewood Ave. Whew! Hard to follow?
Well, they are reunited like Peaches and Herb. Sergio currently works from Thursday through Sunday, but no need to worry about his days off because Vincente can cook. Vincente is a master of raw preparations: ceviches, cocktails, and aguachiles. His flavor is different from Sergio, but you're just about talking style, they've the same level of excellence.
Chente doesn't do the zarandeado, that's not available Monday through Wednesday, but order away from the rest of the menu. As much as I love Sergio's cooking, I have no problem AT all showing up on a Monday when he is enjoying a day away from the kitchen.
Oh, yes, I did say zarandeado, because after my weekly brow beating sessions with Sergio, Vincente got him a grill. Pescado Zarandeado is back!!
The signature grilled, butterflied snook that is without peer in Los Angeles is just as good as ever.
Ceviche of raw shrimp can be be had two ways, Sergio's and Vincente's.
The aguachile, too. Sweet shrimp from Sinaloa flash cooked with lime, and a slightly pulpy,puree of jalapeno chiles, a minimalist ceviche featuring Mexican white shrimp.
In addition to the grill and cocktail disciplines, there are the cooked dishes like the shrimp culichi, a creamy jalapeno sauce, a favorite of mine named after the people of Culiacan, Sinaloa.
A la pimienta, peppered shrimp, one of the fine sauce offerings by Sergio Penuelas.
Deviled shrimp at Mariscos Chente is the more refined version around town. Its wickedly flavorful with a crescendoing heat, rewarding the lips with a light tingle. You can strip away the shells eat them whole, shell on.
The drunken shrimp, camarones borrachos, displays the true craft of Sergio Penuelas, with a vibrancy, and complexity unusual in most Sinaloan/Nayaritan kitchens.
Sergio, the refined Sinaloan cocktailer, cook, and grill man is back in action just a stone's throw away in Inglewood. When he isn't around and even when he is, you can experience the Nayaritan tradition of Vincente Cossio, the suave and virile seafood veteran from Acaponeta, Nayarit.
If you're a follower of Sergio's work in Mar Vista, you have found a new home in Inglewood, and you haven't lost a restaurant at all, but gained a father-in-law.
10020 South Inglewood Ave.(at Century Bl.)
7 days a week
What I’ve Written This Week - An Illustrated History of Low Country Cuisine (First We Feast) A Korean Barbecue Guide To Los Angeles (KCET) 10 Best Places To Get Poke In Los Angeles (KCE...