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TLO Restaurant Review: El Sabor de la Baja

Located near N. May Ave. and NW 10th, on a block in the city named “Cellphone Row,” sets El Sabor de la Baja, 2815 NW 10th St.

Far different from the other hole-in-the-walls around that rambunctious neighborhood, it combines new-wave Mexicano with Okie strip-mall fashion, and has quickly become the mejor tropical Mexican food spot in the city, barra ninguno.

Although it's as far from the beach as possible – excluding the needle-clad shores of Lake Hefner – the eatery offers a variety of coastal foodstuffs and turns them into straight glistening edible gold.

I learned this when I stopped by last Friday.

Even though it was around three o’clock, a banda was already setting up their gear as my partner and I grabbed a table by the front where we wouldn’t be in anybody’s way. While the musicians tuned their guitars and tubas in between shots of tequila, our server came over.

As she took our orders, a complimentary basket of the wheat wheels—duros, as they are called— was delivered to our table.

We then ordered some Friday afternoon libations.

She went with the Mazatlán-brewed Pacífico ($5.00), while I grabbed a goblet of non-alcoholic Clamato Sensillo ($7.50). With tomato juice, clam juice, and spicy rings all around our mouths, we toasted this afternoon’s early dinner.

As more customers were showing up, our food was brought out and, I got to tell you, it was a work of true art, with plenty of hot and green sauce to go around.

Expecting typical flimsy eats, my girlfriend had a startling reaction to her food –the Aguachile Tropical ($9.00).

A towering behemoth of shrimp, mango, cucumber, onions, and green and red sauce pilled in a bowl with a few tortillas, it was accompanied by a Camaron Enchilado ($6.50), more commonly known as a spicy shrimp taco.

The taco was extraordinary, with the plump shrimp pushing the tidal boundaries of what a taco with sea-faring accountants should be. With expert dabs of various hot sauces on the table, it was a thrilling affair of spicy crustacean meat.

The Aguachile Tropical was a tropical wonder, but after the filling taco, was a bit too much for her. The mango and cucumber were a treat to behold, but after a few bites, she pushed the plate away in defeat, saving it for tasty leftovers the following day.

While she dabbled in her dish, I was busy drowning in my Mexi-soup blend – The Mariscos ($13.00). A hot soup prepared with octopus, shrimp, fish, onions, and cilantro, it contained a torrent of distinctive flavors that left me completely waterboarded and washed out!

Though I have had my fair share of unique sopas when I lived in South Texas, I've never frothed in anything like this. The amalgam of flavors, all from the sea, were boisterous and boastful like Poseidon himself. The snippy onions and strong cilantro gave it texture, but the plump shrimp and anonymous fish were the seasoned brew, and the strains of octopus provided a little treat. ¡Me comí todo el tazón!

As the band kept tuning the instruments and downing more shots at the bar, I found myself daydreaming, wishing I was on a Mexican beach, enjoying the fresh mariscos, and dancing to the hypnotic beat.

When I snapped back to reality, I took another look around the place and felt a warm tropical fuzziness, knowing that El Sabor de la Baja will be here, sandals not required.

Cómpralo ya!


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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