Saying Goodbye to the Amazing Nayarit-Style Seafood Dishes at Mariscos Chente - A Farewell to Sergio [Thoughts + Pics]


#41

Good question. I dunno. I didn’t know who the woman was (although I’ve seen her b/f), but I was assumed that the non-Sergio chefs at the other related eateries might be taking over. I’ve only been to Mariscos Chente 3x total, so I don’t feel like I know them enough to ask…

Perhaps @westsidegal can shed some light?


#42

I haven’t and it made me drool.


#43

Thanks @paranoidgarliclover. I think in the Eater article it mentioned Coni Seafood folks (so Sergio’s ex-father & mother-in-law and the ex-wife would be taking over)?


#44

AWKWARD!


#45

I’m sorry to hear Sergio is moving on. I do hope it is a decision that he has chosen to make. I don’t know, nor care to know, their family business, but I will say I have been satisfied with my visits to Mariscos Chente on Imperial in Inglewood when Sergio was manning the grill (before it became Coni’Seafood), and I’ve been satisfied after the switch to Coni’Seafood following his departure and other family members taking over (echoing a poster above). I haven’t been to the Centinela location, but maybe it will still be worth a visit after the switchover if Coni’Seafood is any indication.


#46

The Centinela location suffered from consistency issues in the kitchen after Sergio left years ago. I think with that and Sergio’s reputation with many of the customers, the number of eaters fell.

I think in an effort to draw business, this location set up a karaoke stage (which doubled as a music system). I don’t know about others, but this single move scared us away from ever eating in their dining room again - really loud and the “singers” were definitely amateur.

The food became more consistent again where many of the dishes we usually ordered while Sergio achieved a “pretty solid” rating from us, including the Pescado Zerandeado. The kitchen staff seemed to stabilize with supplemental help from some of the family members (I recall one of the teenage daughters being taught how to work the grill).

With Sergio’s return, we could perceive a difference in the dishes - not so much the quality and care in the kitchen, but more bells and whistles (e.g. diced mango in the Marlin tacos, additional dishes off-menu).

The down side is we also noticed the seafood didn’t seem as fresh. I don’t know if Sergio’s return was reciprocated by previous customers returning, but we didn’t see it. During dinner, the place was often empty (or maybe one or two tables occupied) when we’d pick up our order.


#47

hey…that’s not nice, amigo!


#48

How much of a difference in taste was the Pescado Zarandeado at Coni’s (does Connie herself cook here?) vs Sergio’s. I think I read somewhere that Papa Chente consider his daughter Connie his best cook he ever trained.

And where is Papa Chente cooking at?


#49

I don’t remember a difference in taste at the Imperial location, when it was Mariscos Chente’s and then Coni’Seafood.

Here are some images from two trips in 2011, when Sergio manning the grill.

And one from Coni’Seafood April 2017 (no Sergio). No tomatoes this time around, but preparation similar otherwise.


#50

Sorry, but it was seriously loud and the vocals weren’t my cup o’ tea. When John Boutte belts out a ballad in a small club, it’s like Sam Cooke reborn. Not here.


#51

Ha ha Ha ha ha. I was just kidding – As if I was one of the singers!
I found it very annoying to


#52

You answered my question. If biz is so slow they’re probably not going to the fish market everyday. I’ll be in the area next week. I guess it’s time to finally try Coni’Seafood!


#53

Remember Thai Elvis? We need a Nayarit-style Kool Moe Dee.


#54

In 2011 I visited Coni’s Seafood many times in Inglewood while working down there. I got to know Sergio pretty well for the short time I was there. Now this may be bullshit, but he quoted me as having his fish flown in Daily from where he lived in Mexico. I just remember eating his awesome food.


#55

I recall someone on Chowhound posting that Mariscos Chente used to take a bus from San Diego down to Sinaloa or Nayarit, load some ice chest with seafood and haul it back to the restaurant twice a week. So I would put some credibility in Sergio’s claim.

I just don’t know how committed they were as time progressed. Not that anything was inedible, but we all felt that the seafood just wasn’t at the same level of freshness as in the past.


#56

I was told by the staff at El Cheko that they do import the snook fresh and not frozen from Mexico.


#57

The new sign for Coni’Seafood is up.


#58

Meanwhile, the old Mariscos Chente spot is being taken over by a sandwich shop.