In this age of hypersensitivity to ethnic stereotypes, it surprises me that the logo of Mariscos El Submarino in Jackson Heights — a cartoonish anthropomorphized yellow submarine wearing a bandito mustache — hasn’t inspired a boycott. Maybe that’s because the clientele’s attention is commanded by the food, especially the vaunted aguachile (raw shrimp submerged in a spicy liquid flavored with chili peppers, lime juice, salt, and cilantro). The dish, true to its preparation along Mexico’s west coast, is served in a molcajete. For non-purists, the restaurant serves a “mixtos” version of the dish that also contains morsels of octopus and fish.
The restaurant also offers several takes on ceviche, which differs from the aguachile by dint of the seafood being exposed to citric acid long enough to “cook” it. There are tostadas and they are piled high with seafood and fanned-out avocado slices, and there are two edible “cocktails,” one of shrimp, one of shrimp and octopus.
Mariscos El Submarino is a super-casual place, with a beverage dispenser along one wall and a counter at the back adorned with Mexican flags where business is conducted. You eat off disposable plates and bowls.
Prices are predictably gentle. Tostadas are priced in the low- to mid-teens, aguachiles and ceviches a few bucks more.
The menu is solely in Spanish, but not the kind of Spanish you can’t figure out even if you never took the language in high school: “Especial de la casa”? If you can’t piece that together without whipping out your phrase book, you’re in trouble.
Mariscos el Submarino, 88-05 Roosevelt Avenue (bet. 88th and 89th Sts.), 718-685-2780.