Hours: Lunch, Dinner: seven days
Open Late: Friday & Saturday till midnight, other nights till 11
Bright, loud mariscos place specializing in whole red snapper.
Shaped like a boat getting ready to cast off across Ashland, El Barco isn't short on gimmicks: menus are so absurdly gigantic that one covers half of a four-seat table, and many selections come on huge troughlike platters. The house-made salsas are very good; unfortunately they come with machine-made tostadas. We enjoyed some excellent grilled squid and octopus, fresh and meaty, with a slight char that contrasted nicely with the tender white flesh. The breaded fish and shrimp on our mixed seafood grill, however, could have come from the kitchen of Senora Paul's. The signature dish at El Barco is huachinango, red snapper, which we saw perched in front of about half the diners in the place. Available with a variety of sauces, this whole cooked fish is mounted upright on a rack for easy access and pierced with a number of red plastic swords, as though done in by a mermaid matador. The downside to this presentation is that the fish isn't cooked in the sauce. Still, the moist, flavorful meat alone is worth a trip.
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