Hop on deck for Mexican seafood at El Pirata

More and more non-authentic Mexican chain restaurants are popping up across the country, making fresh and tasty Mexican seafood harder to come by these days. However, El Pirata Mexican Seafood surpassed all my expectations with its delicious and diverse menu.

Despite the tiny size of the eating space, the restaurant was very clean and modern. There was even a convenient sink near the counter where customers could wash their hands without entering the bathroom. The restaurant lighting was  bright, giving the restaurant a friendly ambience. 

Ordering as a family, we chose   fajitas mixtas ($16.99), cucarachos ($19.99),  beef and shrimp tacos ($3.25 each), leche horchata ($2.50) as well as a kids menu cheese quesadilla ($6.99). Although we didn’t know what some of the Mexican menu items were, the pictures on the menu helped us decide what to order. 

The first meal to be served was the cucarachos, which is  a platter of shrimp doused in spicy sauce. The dining is a hands-on experience, similar to the Boiling Crab, and we peeled off the shrimp shells before enjoying. The presentation of the platter, along with the taste of the seafood, was great. The shrimp was cooked perfectly. The proportion was also perfect; my family and I were able to finish the platter with ease. 

The second dish was the fajitas mixtas, which consisted of a variety of meats and vegetables like shrimp, beef, chicken and peppers. It also came with tortillas, beans and rice. In contrast to the delicious seafood, the beef and chicken tasted surprisingly dry compared to the shrimp, which was extremely juicy and tender. However, when wrapped in a tortilla and eaten with vegetables, beans and rice, the unsavory taste of the beef and chicken was able to be masked by the other components of the dish. 

The third dish that arrived was the beef and shrimp tacos, a good deal at only  $3.25. When ordering, I was under the impression that the tacos would be hard shelled, due to the unclear photo featured on the menu, but they were soft shelled. Nonetheless, they were excellent  tacos. The meat was really fresh and I liked how the corn tortillas were dampened by some of the savory sauces they used.

But  the kids’ meal cheese quesadilla was mediocre. It was your classic kids’ menu meal that you find at almost every restaurant. The quesadilla also came with a side of fries. The quesadilla’s cheese was really stretchy, but the shell was a bit overcooked. The fries also tasted bland.

I ordered a drink called leche horchata, which the waiter described as a sweet milk drink. The drink tasted similar to almond milk, and I found myself enjoying its sweetness. The cool and refreshing qualities also helped clear the spiciness of the cucarachos from my palette.

Overall, I enjoyed my dining experience at El Pirata Mexican Seafood restaurant. For about  $50, the quality of food was well worth the price. With fresh food, a friendly ambience and fairly  priced meals, El Pirata Mexican Seafood is definitely a restaurant that I would return to in the future.