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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mariscos El Veneno: still scorching mouths

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Eight of us headed to Mariscos El Veneno on Buford Highway last Friday. We hadn't been seated five minutes before Bobby started weeping and blowing his nose. No, it wasn't the same pain that made me want to cry when I saw a mariachi band in the restaurant. It was the restaurant's incredibly fiery salsa, made with habaneros. (Perhaps the salsa is the veneno - poison - that gives the restaurant its name.)

It's a sign of how so many restaurants have run together in my mind over the years that I didn't remember eating at El Veneno in 2007 when I observed the same thing about the salsa.

Fortunately, the mariachi band did not stop by our table to sing 10,000 lines of "La Cucaracha" or "Besame Mucho."

The food was, over all, pretty mediocre. My favorite was my simple starter - a classic coctel of octopus and shrimp served in a tall goblet with chopped cucumbers and some avocado, all swimming in tomato juice (above). You'll want to squeeze plenty of lime in it, because the juice is a bit sweet.

My entree (left) totally mystified me. The server explained - in Spanish and English - that it was a grilled poblano pepper, filled with more octopus and shrimp, and served over a thin filet of fried tilapia. Nope. It was nothing of the kind. The only green pepper was some slices of bell pepper mixed with the seafood. Everything sat atop the gooey fish. It was all bound by some melted cheese.

Others at the table were even less satisfied with their entrees, but they are easily displeased. In this case, I was sorry to feel much the same way.

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