Out of the Blue

Mexican with a twist unexpectedly delights at Maradentro.

When friends suggested the new “Mexican seafood” eatery, Maradentro, for a Friday night dinner, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit. Perhaps I’m a purist. Maybe I’m just boring. In any case, I was visualizing cheddar cheese and refried beans globbed on fish.

The place was packed, and off the bat my preconceived notions were challenged. There was a lot on the menu that looked tasty. “Oysters Rajafeller?” Cute.

Despite a tempting whiskey, ginger beer concoction,  (“Laurel Canyon Burro”), we ordered cucumber jalapeno margaritas. Good move. It was almost startling how quickly I slurped mine down.

We started with pan de tuna: ahi with an avocado-wasabi and fried shallots on chewy slices of ciabatta. For entrees, the seafood chile rellenos, the surf-n-turf tacos and the fresh catch (mahi mahi) atop a bed of perfectly cooked grains were ordered.

Everything garnered great reviews.

In particular, we were blown away by the chile rellenos, at $24, the most expensive item on the menu. We devoured what was essentially a seafood stew, chock full of scallops, mussels, white fish, clams and a grilled poblano chile, immersed in an flavorful tomato-chile broth. Extra grilled ciabatta was requested to sop up every drop.

11929 Ventura Blvd., Studio City