Undersea party

Erika Saldivar brings over the pescado empanizado at El Pescador, where the maritime decor, multimedia singing and buckets of Corona on ice go down smooth.

Erika Saldivar brings over the pescado empanizado at El Pescador, where the maritime decor, multimedia singing and buckets of Corona on ice go down smooth.

Photo By David Robert

The life preservers hanging on the front doors of El Pescador suggested that I was in for a more entertaining than usual dining experience. My suspicions were confirmed as I walked in and was greeted by a live keyboardist—it was 7 p.m. on a Tuesday—singing a Mexican canción in the midst of a disco-style light show. As the hostess guided my friend Bob and me to a table, I was drawn to the navy-blue carpet scattered with little yellow anchors and the sun-bright booths set against cobalt-colored walls.

I noticed that the blue and yellow colors were in keeping with the Corona paraphernalia sprinkled around the restaurant—wallpaper, umbrellas, salt and pepper shakers, and tucked into corners, giant parrot replicas with Coronas clutched in their talons.

As Bob and I looked over our menus, Bob pointed out the refreshing sound of chirping birds in the background. The twitter was actually coming from one of those “moving” photographs, where it looks like water is running down a waterfall and into a mysterious pool. I was impressed that despite the inherent quirkiness of some of the oceanic props, El Pescador actually did manage to make us feel like we were somewhere near the sea. The environment is fun, brisk and refreshing.

The menu at El Pescador is suited to family dining. There are American dishes, classic Mexican dishes, “Fisherman Specials,” fish fillet options, pastas, cocktails, soups and a children’s menu. Most of the dishes, however, do include some type of sea animal, from shrimp and cod to octopus.

The booth behind me contained a large group of friends and/or family, including an 18-month-or-so-old girl who was apparently enjoying the food, as her face and fingers were covered in it. The little girl’s playful attitude and the rubbing of her messy fingers on my sweatshirt, which I found quite endearing, enhanced the restaurant’s charisma even more.

I went with the pescado empanizado, fish-fillet option ($9.95), three breaded fillets with french fries, beans, rice and a salad-style array of vegetable trimmings. The cod was moist and rich within its lightly spiced and crispy coating. The fries were typical but tasty steak fries.

Bob ordered the pollo con enchiladas ($11.95). It was a piece of grilled chicken breast with two cheese enchiladas and the same garnishes as I had. The chicken was mildly seasoned and was pretty standard as far as grilled chicken goes—in a good way.

For dessert, I went for the very American milkshake. It was vanilla, made with Dreyer’s ice cream and wasn’t nearly as sweet as it was creamy. If you ask me, too much sweet in anything is overkill and detracts from the other fine qualities of something as multifaceted as a milkshake. Bob ordered flan, from which I stole a few spoonfuls. It was denser than many flans I’ve had, which might sound contrary to the light, fluffy custardiness of your typical American-style flan, but it was very appealing.

The table behind us kept ordering ice buckets full of Coronas. Despite not being a big beer drinker, I wanted to order a pail myself because it seemed to be in keeping with El Pescador’s merry theme. It’s a party under the sea for everybody. The place is such a hoot; I wouldn’t have been surprised if all of a sudden the crabs and lobsters hanging in the nets over our heads started singing along with the keyboardist. It’s just that fun.