WILMINGTON — For Emmanuel Ibarra, launching an idea round recent Mexican-style seafood appeared like an excellent subsequent step for his household’s evolving portfolio of eating places. El Mariscal, now open in Landfall Procuring Middle, focuses on the briny flavors of the ocean, brightened by citrus and punched up with chile.
It’s based mostly on delicacies out of Nayarit, Mexico, bordering the Pacific ocean.
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“It felt like Wilmington was prepared for it,” Ibarra mentioned through telephone, whereas vacationing in Mexico.
El Mariscal is restaurant quantity seven within the El Cerro Grande restaurant group. The primary Mexican-American eatery was opened by Ibarra’s father, Manuel, in 1991 and since has expanded into three extra throughout city. Owned with companions Abel Bravo, Junior Zarate and Gustavo Ibarra, additionally they have two quick and informal taquerias, El Arriero, launched eight years in the past. In 2017, the restaurateurs opened Zocalo, a step up within the Mexican eating expertise that additionally highlights genuine delicacies.
El Mariscal is elevating it extra.
“It’s not effective eating,” Ibarra clarified, “however seafood is extra pricey.”
Ibarra mentioned the flavors of Mexico’s Pacific Coast are gaining reputation at eating places nationwide — a development he has been following over the previous few years. Particularly in Wilmington, he seen vacationers and vacationers typically are foodies who need authenticity over a two-combo burrito and taco meal that grew to become the norm in Mexican eating so a few years in the past.
“I believe social media has helped out loads,” he mentioned. “I like the best way all the things’s evolving proper now.”
Situated previously the place Venezuelan eatery Churrasco as soon as was, El Mariscal delivers gadgets not as simply discovered throughout city, akin to entire shrimp soup cooked with potato, carrot and celery (the pinnacle of the shrimp provides essentially the most taste, which for the adventurous, its juices may be sucked out, as accomplished in lots of cultures). Pulpo al ajillo consists of octopus cooked in garlic, crushed chile guajillo, white wine, and a contact of lime.
El Mariscal consists of conventional coastal eats, too, akin to (headless) shrimp, scallops, mahi mahi, tuna, crab, oysters, salmon, lobster, and entire crimson snapper. The preparation of the 30-plus menu gadgets range.
“The seafood is served as ceviche,” Ibarra mentioned, “however we additionally fry it, charbroil it, grill it.”
Sauces go from gentle and recent, with fruity and citrus overtones — mango and lime, orange and berries — to earthy and wealthy with smoked chile. The warmth on most dishes measures medium, Ibarra mentioned, with a wide range of chiles used — jalapeños, serranos, guajillos, and de arbols.
“However you possibly can all the time go extra spicy,” he assured.
For nonseafood lovers, diners will discover beef and rooster on avenue tacos, chimichangas, tostadas, and quesadillas. Entrees of filet of beef are additionally provided.
“Not everybody loves seafood, we perceive that,” Ibarra mentioned.
About 14 tables and a small four-seater bar — patio seating is coming quickly — might make the squeeze tight, however so are the flavors coming from the freshly pulped juices. The craft cocktail menu mirrors the inventiveness of El Mariscal’s delicacies.
A citrus drink — the “cantarito,” served in a conventional clay mug, or “cazuela,” which is available in a Mexican bowl — is made with grapefruit, orange and lime, topped with grapefruit soda, a pinch of salt and chile. It may be loved as a nonalcoholic providing or with tequila.
“We now have no less than 30 totally different sorts of tequila,” Ibarra mentioned.
For the reason that restaurant opened seven days in the past, it has been on a wait, Ibarra mentioned: “Folks appear to essentially adore it.”
The restaurant is open seven days every week for lunch and dinner at 1319 Army Cutoff Rd. Menu costs common round $25 for entrees, although the size ranges from $5.99 to $149 (the latter is priced for a family-style Mexican seafood boil of types known as “charolas”).
Ibarra revealed this can be his final restaurant for some time — properly, no less than till the following idea compels him in any other case.
“If one thing exhibits up, I received’t say no to it,” he mentioned.
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