Best Bubbling Cauldron of Sea Creatures

Mariscos El Gato

Staff Pick

One of the hardest things about dining at any seafood restaurant is making the difficult decision as to which specific sea creatures to consume. Do you go with the shrimp, the tried-and-true staple of even the most pedestrian of seafooderies? Or maybe the buttery and tender deliciousness of the scallops? Perhaps you're up for the challenge of tearing some crab legs apart and liberating the succulent meat within? Well, when you’re at Mariscos El Gato (4561 Gravois Avenue; 314-282-0772), you can have it all. Just order the Molcajete Kora, a bubbling cauldron of sea creatures and spices, and there's no need for tough choices. The Bevo-based Mexican eatery serves the seafood stew — consisting of crab legs, bay scallops, shrimp, octopus and clams — in a cast-iron mortar that retains so much heat that the chile-infused red broth your sea bugs are swimming in is still boiling when the dish hits your table. The Nayarit seasoning brings delicious (though not overwhelming) chile heat to the whole affair along with a bright citrus tanginess that, together, elevate the dish well beyond the garlic-butter-soaked standard of most seafood joints. Best of all, it's a large-enough portion that it can easily be shared between two people — although for the full god-of-the-sea experience, you might consider downing the whole thing yourself. —Daniel Hill
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