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When it comes to working in his father's restaurant, Edmundo Alvarez is a jack of all trades.

"I pretty much do whatever is needed," he said. "I can bartend serve, cashier, and I wash dishes if I have to."

Edmundo's job description is typical of the members of a restaurant family. His father, Jose Alvarez, opened Mariscos Playa Azul -- translated... Playa Azul means blue beach -- in Springdale about two years ago. Edmundo said he and his father are happy with the reception the Mexican seafood restaurant is receiving.

"The reception has been very positive," Edmundo said. "Our restaurant is a little different. It's mainly seafood, but it's made in a traditional Mexican way. We have a lot of different seafood soups, cocktails and ceviche's."

Edmundo's father is from the seaside city of Acapulco and his mother is from Guadalajara.

"All of the recipes are my dads," he said. "He knows a lot about seafood."

Edmundo said that his family worked diligently to source the freshest seafood when they opened the restaurant. With a name such as Mariscos -- which translates to seafood -- it better be good and fresh. He said that finding the right purveyor of seafood was initially a challenge, but diligence paid off and they are very happy with the quality and freshness of seafood that are able to serve.

"One of the dishes that is very popular is our shrimp cocktail," he said. "It's a Mexican-style shrimp cocktail. It's shrimp, onions, cilantro and our cocktail sauce. We use avocado and lime juice and orange juice. It's very good and very refreshing. Especially now that it's starting to get warm outside. People want a cool, fresh dish."

Keep it simple

Another of Edmundo's menu favorites is Playa Azul's ceviche, a traditional seafood favorite made using a variety of fish, shrimp and other seafood cooked in lime juice.

"The ceviche is very good and we sell a lot of it," he said. "The fish ceviche is very popular and it's one of my personal favorites. We season it with salt, pepper, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and a little bit of jalapeno. It's very simple. Keeping it simple makes it better. It's part quality ingredients and part simple perpetration. We always use fresh lime juice and never the premixed kind."

Playa Azul's menu offers a wide variety of traditional seafood staples, but includes dishes for those not ready to dive into a dish of ceviche, or tiptoe into trying some tilapia.

"One thing that's very good is our Molcajete," he said. "It's one of our most popular non seafood dishes. It's a traditional Mexican stone dish used to make fresh salsa. We use it as a plate and we fill it up with our salsa. We put chorizo, steak, chicken and shrimp in it and we serve it with grilled onions, fried jalapeno and a grilled cactus. It's very popular."

Edmundo said guests could order it for one, or order a double serving to share.

"It's served with tortilla," he added. "It one of the most popular dishes. We sell that one like Crazy."

'Try it'

While Mariscos Playa Azul concentrates their energy on serving up seafood, they can are ready to accommodate guests simply looking for a traditional Mexican plate. Menu options include tacos, burritos, fajitas and enchiladas.

Edmundo said no meal at his family's restaurant would be complete without a drink to wash it all down. He suggests a house specialty: The Michelada.

"It's very good with the seafood," he said. "It's a bloody Mary made with beer. It's a little different. It has tomato juice, lime juice and salt. We puree some cucumbers to make the mix. It's a limy salty mix that we mix with the beer of your choice."

The restaurant also offers a full cocktail bar serving margaritas, daiquiris and other adult beverages.

Edmundo suggested that anyone not necessary confident in their love of seafood try a mild fish dish known as paella.

"It has chicken and shrimp and a fish fillet," he said. "It's not out there too much. A lot of people are skeptical about oysters and octopus, which we have. Paella is just a good introduction to seafood. Try it."

Good to know

Mariscos Playa Azul

1301 E Robinson Ave

Springdale, AR



NAN Dining Guide Spotlight on 07/08/2018

Print Headline: Fresh seafood offered at Mariscos

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