Camaron pelado

Camaron Pelado is the opposite of fool’s gold. It may not dazzle from the outside but at its core it’s 18 karat. Those who know of it seem to celebrate it endlessly.

This down-home and wonderfully un-self-conscious restaurant specializes in Mexican seafood with a nod toward the Yucatán Peninsula. There were several caldos de mariscos to choose from, but on a strong recommendation from the waitress I went with the Siete Mares. The large bowl cost $9.69, but was brimming with shrimp, oyster, octopus, fish, and smelts, all in a spicy tomato broth.

Next, we ordered a modest $8 filete de pescado a la Veracruzana, a breaded filet of white fish served under a sauce of bell peppers, onions, green olives, and spices. This wasn’t as well-received as the soup — my dining companion felt the sauce was too wet and drowned the fish — but I found its flavors intriguing. The green olives, I was told, suggest a distant connection to Mediterranean cuisine that made its way over to the islands off the Mexican coast. Insights such as this make me want to know more about the cuisine of the Yucatán, because it sidesteps, to a degree, the false split between Tex-Mex and interior Mexican foods that dominates the San Antonio restaurant scene.

A small serving of Camaron Pelado’s ceviche de pescado would suffice, but we enthusiastically over-ordered the $10 large version. The citrus flavor was strong, but didn’t overwhelm the tomato base. Camaron Pelado uses a tomato base in a lot of their dishes (or I had a habit of ordering most of them). The Dos Equis michelada, for example, was more Bloody Mary mix than beer.

We finished with the Huachinango (Red Snapper), which I ordered grilled but arrived fried. I’m not a fan of deep-frying unless its chicken, beignets, or Wurstfest Oreos, but the huachinango was crisp and flavorful.

Camaron Pelado is definitely not “the same old thing,” especially when it comes to San Antonio seafood, and for that it deserves your attention.

Camaron Pelado
1113 Pleasanton Rd.
10am-9:30pm Sun-Thu; 10am-11pm Fri-Sat
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