A trio of refreshing mariscos: aguachile mixto rojo, ceviche mixto, and the mighty chaparrita.
“There were no good places for mariscos,” Alonso Guzman told me when I asked why he and his wife Amy opened Mariscos El Submarino. Located in the heart of Mexican Jackson Heights, the seafood specialist with a yellow mustachioed submarine logo, is in fact a great place for mariscos–or Mexican style seafood–specifically as prepared in Sinaloa.
I first learned about Mariscos El Submarino from Professor Steven Alvarez, an expert’s expert in all aspects of Mexican culinary culture who teaches a course called “Taco Literacy” at St. John’s University. As part of an epic four-hour crawl of of the neighborhood’s best Mexican spots, we tried a torre or tower ironically called La Chaparrita ($20)—or the shorty—a stack of diced cucumber, octopus, shrimp, and avocado, surmounted by two teetering fried shrimp sitting in a lake of spicy cold broth accented with soy sauce. It was over the top and refreshing. Upon eating it, I immediately began plotting my return to this wonderful seafood emporium.
Next visit I tried Don Alonzo’s version of ceviche, specifically the restaurant’s signature Submarino. While I waited for my food, I attempted to translate the slogan on the wall “No hay mal que duran cien años ni cruda que un buen marisco no cure.” Soon I was digging into a plastic takeout container filled with shrimp, octopus, and fish topped with avocado. Thanks to plenty of lime juice and red onion the marinade was bracing and refreshing, good medicine for a hot humid afternoon. “I could get used to Mexican style ceviche,” I thought to myself not at all missing the potato and corn that grace the dish’s Peruvian cousin.
On a subsequent visit, I asked Don Alonzo what his favorite dish on the menu was and he immediately responded aguachile, a favorite from his home state of Sinaloa. As Norteño music blared from the sound system I eagerly awaited yet another restorative and refreshing dish from El Submarino. Soon Amy brought over the aguachile rojo mixto, a stone molcajete filled to the brim with shrimp, octopus, and fish in a fiery red sauce. The combination of lime, chilies, and cooling cucumber was just what I needed on a hot humid Queens afternoon. Don Alonzo told me that the cold broth is flavored with three types of chili peppers—Sinaloan chiltepin, red jalapeño, and chile de arbol—as well as tomato juice.
As for the slogan on the wall Amy translated it thus for me: “There’s no pain that lasts for a hundred years nor a hangover that good seafood can’t cure.” I would add dog days of summer malaise to the things that mariscos can cure!
Mariscos El Submarino, 88-05 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, 718-685-2780