Mercado Crew Goes Maritime with Two Maradentro Restaurants

Get ready for Crabiqueso: Jose Acevedo and Jesse Gomez plan to launch their <em>mariscos</em> concept in Studio City this April

Chef Jose Acevedo and restaurateur Jesse Gomez have been busy in the past few years. In 2012, after Acevedo’s stint helming the kitchen at Gomez’s Yxta Downtown, the two partnered up to open Mercado in Santa Monica. Plenty of accolades–including a spot on our critic Patric Kuh’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2012–and two subsequent locations later, they’re now set to launch Maradentro, a new mariscos concept.

The menu of seafood dishes will include raw oysters served with Mexican-tinged condiments, lobster and steak tacos, and chile rellenos stuffed with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and whitefish. Mercado favorite Choriqueso, a decadent melange of melted cheese, chorizo, poblanos, and mushrooms, will get a maritime makeover with the addition of lump crab as well as a new name: Crabiqueso. Acevedo specialties like his ceviche tostada and his much celebrated slow-roasted carnitas will also be available.

“We’re calling it a Mexican seafood joint,” Gomez told Los Angeles magazine last year, “but it’s not strictly a seafood place. We’re taking seafood and putting a Mexican slant on it, but we’ll also be serving Jose’s carnitas, too, because they’re great, and we don’t need to be pigeonholing ourselves.”

Maradentro is expected to open in Studio City in April and in Eagle Rock (just a quick drive from El Arco Iris, the restaurant that Gomez co-owns with his mother in Highland Park) in late summer. Both locations will serve a tequila-focused menu of cocktails by Cesar Arenas, who also works his mixology magic at Mercado. We’ve already got our eye on the Maradentro Margarita with passion-fruit simple syrup and charred lemon salt. Maradentro will be located at 11929 Ventura Blvd., Studio City and 1948 East Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock