Seafood la 57 looks like a new food truck in South Park, but is it?
Was it Mariscos Nine Seas or Ocean 97? For many years, there has been a Mexican seafood truck drawing long lines of loyal fans to the Target (née Gala Foods) parking lot in South Park. It just hasn’t always been the same name painted on the side of the truck.
A fried fish taco for $1.80
Whether Nine Seas or Ocean 97, the food more or less stayed the same, with fried or grilled fish tacos starting under two bucks each, alongside an assortment of mariscos ranging from oysters and shrimp cocktail to ceviche and aguachile. Always served with a complimentary styrofoam cup of seafood stew.
The so-called tropical fish ceviche, featuring mango
This summer, fans showed up to find a new truck in their place: Seafood la 57. More than a few were upset. These mariscos trucks had become part of local lore, the sort of spots you take out of two guests to show off San Diego’s taco largesse. At first glance, the new truck appears to be an interloper, heralding the end of an era.
But not so fast. Though the crew working it was new to me, they insisted Seafood la 57 has the same food and ownership people have lined up for all these years. A few months back, someone in the Ocean 97 truck told me change was coming — some sort of buyout or split I think it was. But these guys tell me the change is mainly about establishing a more modern, social media friendly brand.
A coconut split into juice and flesh in the shell
At any rate, my fried and grilled fish tacos were the same as they’ve ever been, and kept that lovely $1.80 apiece value price. They still offered that seafood stew, and the menu still featured the likes of smoked marlin and octopus.
Aside from the name and paint job, the biggest change I noticed was an increase in the variety of ceviches available. I tried a new, tropical fish ceviche — made so with little chunks of mango — and found it to be the most satisfying ceviche I’ve tried this side of the pandemic. It washes down nicely with a serving of coconut: juice served in a cup with the carved flesh left inside the shell with optional tajín. The truck is pushing its “Tostada Loca,” a mountain of a dish topped with shrimp, ctopus, oysters, and more.
A spot-on grilled fish taco
Online, I’ve seen a few commenters hate on Seafood la 57, assuming it was an entirely new business ruining a good thing. Others have been more pointed in their complaints, claiming this truck doesn’t properly de-vein the shrimp in its aguachile.
I can’t speak to that, personally, and maybe it’s a new crew finding its legs. The batter of my fried fish taco was a little soggier than normal, but I’ve come to expect that occasional inconsistency from this high-volume truck. But it tasted just as I expected, and my grilled taco was right on the money. Hopefully, that’s a sign Seafood La 57 will rise to the food truck stature of those that came before it.