In The Spotlight:

Ensenada import

Fish taco shop brings authentic Baja flavors to Glendale.

May 10, 2010|By Michael J. Arvizu

Fish taco aficionado Joseph Cordova has opened his second restaurant. The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada, which opened last week, complements his flagship restaurant-store at 1650 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Angeles.

Hopefully, Cordova said, the Glendale store, at 604 W. Glenoaks Blvd., won’t be his last. He plans to open six more stores and four taco stands throughout Los Angeles in the coming months.

Cordova got hooked on fish tacos while visiting Ensenada. He described the taco as ugly and made out of plywood.

“But it was always packed,” Cordova said. “What I did was bring what the real, legitimate criteria for a Baja-style fish taco is: corn tortilla, shredded cabbage, salsas (of course), the fish and shrimp always breaded and fried, and cream, a Mexican cream on top.”


And like the restaurant he ate at in Ensenada, Cordova has only three items on the menu: fish tacos, shrimp tacos and drinks. Riding on the success of his Los Angeles restaurant, Cordova decided to open his second. Parts of the new restaurant remain unfinished, and some light fixtures remain to be installed, but so far, Cordova sees his customer base growing.

Cordova uses 100% canola oil in all his recipes. All of the house salsas are freshly made, and all the other ingredients are “about fresh and non-preservative. They’re wonderfully healthy,” he said.

The salsas have names such as “Hot Guac” and “Pineapple Kiss.” Other toppings include “Radish Relish,” “Mad Mango,” “Mango Less” and “La Crema Magica.” The establishment was founded on the legacy of the late “Father Cordova,” an imaginary figure Cordova invented so his “stories” could be told to customers.

In one tale, a display surfboard was used by “Father Cordova” to travel to Hawaii, and another, decorated with drawings of two machine guns, was used to lead soldiers as they invaded Normandy during World War II.

First-time customer Rob Curry of Reseda, who works in Glendale, would always eat at the taco stands when visiting Ensenada, but said he could never find that distinct Ensenada flavor in Southern California.

“I think this is the fish taco I had in Ensenada,” Curry said. “I don’t think you can find this type of fish taco elsewhere. This is the one you get in Ensenada; that’s what you’re trying to do.”

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