Okay peeps, there are many seafood spots in the LA County that serve pretty good traditional type seafood. You know? The standard: coctel de mariscos (seafood cocktails), camarones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp), tostadas de ceviche, oysters etc.
And albeit I have been on a mean 4 Vientos Seafood tip lately I still have to give it up to my favorite seafood joint La Hacienda in Lynwood, CA. (For a review on 4 Vientos visit LA Eastside)
So you ask yourself..."What's so great or different about La Hacienda?" Well for starters, it is one of the only few spots I know of in LA that focuses on authentic Mariscos Estilo Nayarit.
"So what? What's so great about Nayarit?"...well homie, Nayarit is a state in Mexico off the coast of the Pacific Ocean that is notoriously known in Mexico for their unique seafood and shrimp specialties! With recipes stemming from their islands such as Las Islas Tres Marietas, Las Islas Marias and La Isla Isabela and with a killer recipe for a killer green spicy salsa they have made a name for themselves in Mexico.
Let me start by declaring, their cocteles ain't your usual ketchup drenched style of cocteles that everyone is used to having and they can be an acquired taste. But that's not why people take a detour when traveling by Nayarit. They detour to Punta Mita or Sayulita for the shrimp. Yes, if you are into shrimp and think of any possible way to have them, think Bubba Gump Shrimp here...then Nayarit is your spot.
Their traditional way of serving shrimp is in plastics bags with a bag of lemons, salt and a cup of green chile. You can get shrimp en salsa verde, crudos (raw), al mojo de ajo, secos (dry), en aguachile sauce, rancheros, in limon and so on. A Bag filled with nearly 30 - 40 shrimps that you can eat On The Road back home or simply take back to the beach and enjoy with some cold beers.
Well, La Hacienda holds loyally to that tradition. Not necessarily to shrimp served in bags but shrimp and their estilo.
Upon walking in to the joint you may be like "What the heck?" and unless you have been there a few times don't expect to be greeted. Simply walk in and sit. Within minutes, your server comes with their "servicio", a basket of homemade on the spot tostadas (chips), a dish with half cut limes/lemons and their famous green salsa.
Make sure you are ready to order your drink. Whether it is a Mexican Coke or drink or a Mexican Cold Beer (I order me a Modelo Especial en botella or a Pacifico). I tell ya, this ain't the place for all you spoiled fufi diners who expect exceptional service. Don't expect a smile, a how are you? don't expect any of the other diners to look or smile at you, albeit the locals may eyeball you from head to toe but don't sweat it. That's just your typical local like at any joint. Don't expect menus brought to you, nada I tell ya. Just expect to experience perhaps some of the best and most traditional coastal seafood ever.
I personally start off with a plate of refried beans that are very reminiscent to the traditional and delicious refried beans my lovely moms used to make. They come served topped with lots of queso fresco.
On to the menu, unless you know what you want, you can view the dishes that are plastered on the wall. It's all broken down by shrimp, octopus, fish, tostadas, tacos (please don't order tacos unless they are seafood tacos) and so on. You may also find some handmade signs with the special of the day, if they even have it that day. LOL. oh - be ready to have your mind up by the time they bring you your drinks too.
Anyhow - I usually always order the specialty of the house, what I first ordered when I was first brought to this place. The Shrimp! I order them Crudos or what they refer to as ceviche and I order them peeled and con cabeza (you can order them without the head if you want). The plate comes with no sides, no tortillas, no nothing...although you can order them with rice and beans. Though you may get a little roll of the eyes from the server. haha
So you get about three dozen medium sized shrimps topped with pepinos (cucumbers) and red onions swimming in their green salsa.
Keep in mind, and let me remind you, you can order them as you wish - buttered (what they call cucarachas - one of my other favorites). Scampi, ala Diabla, Steamed (another favorite of mine), al mojo de ajo, deep fried and so on and they all come topped with slices of red onions and cucumbers.
Their pulpo (octopus) al mojo de ajo is superb and their oysters are hella fresh and you can taste it too.
Another dish I order is their fried fish. An entire large fish chopped in large pieces, maybe about 8 pieces and it is topped with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. This is also one of the best fried fish I have had.
I must mention they also have callos de hacha which are also very delicious and rarely served elsewhere. The day I went they did not have any so no foto. [Maybe later]
I usually order some green sauce to go so I can bring home. The green salsa is spicy. Trust. I have had people swear up and down they love spicy and they can not hang with this sauce. If you are daring enough, ask for the "salsa especial". It is like a secret treasure that is probably twice as hot. If you do ask for some, make sure you ask for a small amount because you won't finish it. You may also gotta have been there a few times in order for them to bring it otherwise they will say they don't have any. Doesn't hurt trying though if there for the first time.
So what does this all cost? Well the dishes overall average roughly 16 bucks. You may be like 16 dollars??!!! yeah 16 dollars for about 3 dozen shrimps. Let me see you get at least 10 shrimps for 16 dollars at Acapulco or any other restaurant for that matter. SMH - I assure you it will be well worth it. Like I said, their fish is huge, their oysters fresh, the tacos de pescado or camaron exquisite...(drooling)
If in a group you can even order different things and share. It will be well worth it. You will probably average maybe $30.00 to $40.00 depending on the number of beers or drinks you have. If just a plate and a drink...then just slightly around $20.00 plus maybe a good $5.00 tip...so $25 bucks. Still a deal for the taste and amount of food you get. I assure you you will walk out full and satisfied.
So where is this gem located?
La Hacienda is located off the 710 freeway. If heading south, you take the Lynwood exit which will throw you out onto Abbott Road. As soon as you cross Atlantic Blvd, it will be on the ride hand side. It's a small hole in the wall place so keep your eyes open for it. The outside is light blue with a black gated door and next to a salon. Parking is on the street. The place is only cash so don't expect to be swiping your card anywhere.
The address is:
5009 Abbott Road
Lynwood, CA 90262
Hope ya'll enjoy...