I know this isn’t news, really. The soft opening for this Lakewood favorite happened back in April; the grand opening took place in May. But I hadn’t been since long before the fire, so I thought I’d share some thoughts about the new space. For one, it’s bigger and brighter and more beautiful than before—not that I have any real complaints about the old space. I used to live in Lakewood and ate at La Calle Doce quite a bit. It served its purpose as a neighborhood Tex-Mex joint just fine. The big deal here is seafood, though, so at a media dinner last night we were bombarded by plate after plate of seafood specialties. Calamari–fat, meaty strips–had just the right chew, and I loved the heat of the accompanying chipotle dipping sauce. Another hit: shrimp cocktail, which is presented kind of like a soup in a fiery (but cold) tomato broth. The wedge of avocado cut through the heat and made it a refreshing summer appetizer.
Among the misses were ceviche, which looked so beautiful on its tostada, but the fish was so tough it was nearly inedible. A red snapper fillet with garlic crust was way too fishy; we could smell it long before the plates were set before us. Better were the clam shells stuffed with shrimp and cheese and served with buttery little toasts, as well as a shrimp enchilada (even though the picture is horribly unappetizing.) But by far the best bites of the night—even if the photo is the worst of the night—were the fish tacos. First came mahi mahi, then blackened salmon. Both fish had nice textures, thanks to proper cooking, and the salmon had a bit of heat. Plus there was all that great crunch from the slaw. I will definitely go back–even though it’s no longer my neighborhood haunt–for a plate full of fish tacos.