Our Favorite Pescaderia: Mambo Seafood

by Steven Doyle

Mambo Seafood opened on Northwest Highway just a few years back, and is located across the street from Pappas BBQ. For those unfamiliar with the Texas based casual dining chain, they are originally located in the Houston area and have since spread to other areas across Texas. You will typically find the restaurant nestled into primarily Hispanic neighborhoods as this seems to be their target market.  As any Texan who is grocery savvy knows, this does not preclude anyone from joining in the fiesta.       

The primary goal for Mambo is to sell a boatload of seafood each day. If you stop in on any given week night, you will notice they achieve this goal quite handily. Forget about the weekends; they are jam packed.

On our most recent visit we sampled several of mainstays the restaurant offers including, curiously enough, their shrimp fried rice. They call this side world famous, and many people check out the restaurant just to be served a massive plate of this rice. I will admit as far as fried rice go it is quite delicious and packed with crustaceans.

When you walk into Mambo Seafood you will notice a counter stocked with fresh fish, including redfish and many other species. You may have these cooked to order in any fashion; grilled whole would be preferable.

There is a constant stream of fresh Gulf oysters being shucked at market price with a minimum of 3. On this day the oysters were .99 a piece. They are certainly fresh and served extra cold, making a nice side dish for any order.

For this visit we also sampled the Vuelve a la Vida soup which is served with a healthy handful of mixed seafood including shrimp, oysters, octopus and a white fish. The soup is caldron hot, and spicy as well. A small bowl was plenty for our appetite as we were saving room for fresh fish.

The restaurant also serves up a Vuelve a la Cocktail which is worth the price of admission to Mambo alone. At 7.49 you are plied with a giant bowl of seafood surrounded by a very good cocktail sauce and topped with giant shards of avocado, olives and pickled pearl onions. It looks like it is swimming is sauce, but there is just a tiny bit surrounding the inside of the bowl.

The fried offerings are done very well with an interesting crispy coating that is far from oily, and has an excellent flavor that allows the taste of the seafood to shine through. If we have a complaint at all it is the fact they pair down the shrimp so thin that they become chewy. This is an obvious attempt to make a small shrimp look very large, in which they succeed.

The restaurant is bright, clean and colorful and waiting your arrival.

Mambo Seafood | 2212 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas | 214.420.2626

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Filed under Ceviche, Dallas, Seafood, Steven Doyle

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