Gilberto Cetina -- the Chef and Owner of Chichen Itza brings you Holbox [pronounced: hole-bosh]. Holbox like Chichen Itza is dedicated to serving Yucatecan cuisine a unique melange of influences from Europe, Mexico and the Carribbean. Proteins like chicken, turkey and pork are the main proteins at Chichen Itza but ceviches are a big part of their cuisine too (enter Holbox). Holbox is the newest counter at the Mercado La Paloma located in the Figueroa Corridor of South Los Angeles, with their fish coming from the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico they are sure to bring you the most authentic Yucatecan flavors you can get in the U.S. I got to try said flavors last night just two days before opening day, and I'm happy to have been the guinea pig of this feast.
Our evening started with freshly baked bread and butter made in house with a glass of Lemonade that at first taste you instantly knew this was not Country Time lemonade. The flavors so obvious-ly fresh not sweet and so very citrusy and tangy. The bread was fresh and crispy yet soft and edible. Fresh being the theme of my entire dinner.
First to arrive at my place on the counter the ....
Black Cod Ceviche lime juice, tomato, onion, cilantro. avocado. salsa roja
You'll love this ceviche because it's so fresh and simple --- the quality ingredients really shine.
Then came the blood clams this was the dish I was most excited about. Now I grew up eating these whenever we could find them mostly on short trips to T.J. when I was younger. They're not seen very often on menus out here, they seem a bit hard to find. In fact The chef mentioned he believes they are illegal in T.J. now. I don't know the whole details on that but was just so very excited to get into these babies. They were every bit as delicious as I remembered shucked a la minute and drizzled with a bit of their sauce and a squirt of lime. raw natural goodness.
Pata de MulaRaw fresh Blood Clams shucked a la minute served with morita sauce and lime.
Cocktel MixtoOctopus, Shrimp, oysters and avocado
This beautiful cocktel well it's pretty enough to be a cocktail. I'm not a fan of bloody Mary's but if bloody Mary's tasted like this I'll be all over them every Sunday. Made with an in house ketchup that includes fresh squeezed oranges in it it has a slight sweetness and tartness. It's absolutely perfect I ate up all the seafood with my spoon, and chugged down the rest.
Halibut Fish Tacohandmade tortilla, cabbage, chile-mayo, and salsa verde
Just heavenly seriously people it's Hali 'Bout these fish tacos imagine the juiciest most tender grilled halibut on a handmade tortilla, that alone is enough to make a great taco but then top it with their in house salsa verde and you've got a phenomenal taco. I had two of these and honestly had I not eaten that really good bread at the beginning I would have had like three more.
Chile Guero Relleno de Jurelyellowtail stuffed chile
Imagine the fanciest, cutest japaleno popper you've ever seen, now imagine it stuffed with Yellowtail instead of cheese. It's genius! Now if only they could serve these at a Super Bowl party, then I'm there for sure.
Pulpo en su Tintabraised octopus in squid ink sauce At this point I was so full but I wasn't going to let that stop me from trying this pulpo taco. I'm so thrilled that my stomach can handle more than I should eat cause this taco was awesome! Seriously I love octopus. I'm a texture eater and I love being able to actually chew my food. This octopus was tender but still had a nice chew to it - it was done just right! not a lot of fuss to this dish either, served with some tomato on a tortilla (did I mention they're made in house?) The tortillas are just so great.
That concluded my dinner and If that's not a Holbox of reasons to visit -- then visit and try something else on the menu. One things for sure you'll love something on the menu and if you're dining with someone who's not big on seafood not to worry Chichen Itza is just a few steps away.
Holbox opens Friday February, 17th at 11:00 a.m. Go be the first of your friends to try it.