Culture & Dining
Mi Compa Chava
by Julie Lozano
It was 7:10pm on a sunny Tuesday, when my partner and I were unexpectedly met with a modern industrial restaurant playing heartbreak ranchero music. Once we were seated, our server gave us the challenge to order in less than 10 minutes because the kitchen was closing. Immediately we took in the refreshing smell of seafood with hints of citrus and spice. We skimmed through their extensive menu filled with cultural titles and rich flavor descriptions. Within 5 minutes we picked what we would remember as our first time (definitely not our last) at Mi Compa Chava.
We really didn’t know what to expect, what was offered to us as a last resort, resulted from mere luck. We sat in front of the chef’s bar, where every movement and conversation in that small space felt like a dance and symphony working together. As our food was being mindfully assembled in front of us, we enjoyed a “Compa Miche” served with mezcal and red aguachile. Later on, we were swept away with a “Chava Cheve”, a frosted Pacifico with a generous rim of candied chili, topped with an oyster and its green aguachile. All crafted by house bartender, Daniel Reyes.
As for Chef Salvador Orozco, he has always been close to the sea, being born in Guamuchil, Sinaloa and raised in Huatulco, Oaxaca. With 13 years of culinary experience and 12 years working alongside Daniel Ovadia in high end restaurants. His dreams for a marisqueria came sooner than expected, at just 32 years old during a pandemic he left the Bull and Tank Group to gift us “Mi Compa Chava”. His signature seafood menu features influences from across Mexican seas and caught by his own personal fishermen. Truly exceeding all your expectations for mariscos.
I love a good history lesson, but we all know what you came for.
To start, we ordered fresh Oysters from Punta Abreojos, Baja California and Chocolate Clams also from Baja California. Not a single piece of clam was wasted and they were probably the biggest clams I’ve ever seen. Right after, from their selection of Tostadas Bien Reportadas (basically abundantly served) we ended up picking three different tostadas.The first one to come around was our Colima-style Ceviche tostada, topped with avocado and salsita marisquera. Finely chopped fish with citrus, onion, cilantro, and chile verde. Quickly after, a tostada bigger than my hand was placed in front of me. The Callo de Hacha (Scallop) bathed in aguachile inspired from playa “Las Bocas”, Sonora. A base of smoked pate de corvina (croaker fish), fresh cucumber, topped with 6 huge scallops, and purple onion. We were spiced out at this point and our wills to take any more spice was taken over by the Chapita. Two sides, three different fish in the same tostada. Right half with a salad of pargo (snapper) and yellow fish tuna. On the other side came with perfectly cooked octopus, topped with avocado and salsa macha, the signature salsa marisquera of the house. The house chile morita or salsita marisquera, had our lips begging us to stop but our taste buds asking for more.
At this point, we were grateful for the amazing flavors we picked in such a short time. As our server was taking our plates away, he mentioned that someone canceled an order of an Almeja Empapelada. He did not have to finish his sentence for our faces to say yes.
Moments later, a large plate containing a Chocolate Clam filled with shrimp bits, octopus, melted oaxaca cheese and topped with Macha mayo and avocado came to our table. On the side came with 3 flour tortillas to accompany the mix.
At this point, we were questioning all our choices as we took our last bites and then began daydreaming about all the other delicious looking food others were enjoying. This extensive menu was no joke, and neither were the items we’re highlighting because well, we wished we would’ve tried them all.
For something small and personal, please try anything from the Sachimis and Botanas (Appetizers) menu, or the Ceviche Tripón. Featuring two different types of scallops, cooked and raw shrimp, octopus, serrano peppers, lime, cilantro, and chiltepin pepper.
For a little bit of everything for everyone, order the Botana Placozona. It comes with yellow fin tuna, raw and cooked shrimp, three oysters from San Buto, scallops, octopus, smoked marlin pate, six crab legs, tomato, cucumber, onion, chiltepin, salsa marisquera, lime and tortilla chips.
For fans of spicy foods, order the Aguachile Negro de Camaron or Black Shrimp Aguachile. This dish packs a punch, containing raw shrimp from Topolobampo, Sinaloa, green aguachile, cucumbers, purple onion, and the green chiltepin pepper. This tiny pepper comes with an extremely pungent flavor with a smoky bite.
If you’re looking for something to share with your love, test your love over La Señora Torres which holds a pound of scallops, raw and cooked shrimp, octopus, tuna, onion, avocado and the chile morita. It presents itself in a cylinder mold creating a tower dripping with citrus and filled with some of the freshest mariscos you’ll ever have. She’s a mouth dropper for sure as we gawked and contemplated if we picked the wrong menu items.
Lastly for dessert, (if you have the stomach for it) is the house flan with cheese and cajeta.
Save room for a cold creamy touch at the end of this gastronomic experience. And because we were so spiced out, when we asked for the bill our server brought us a small traditional woven bowl with two fluffy and flaky coconut marshmallows. These marshmallows were the final touch for us, because they come from a local dulcería in Mazatlán called “Los Suaves”.
Chef: Salvador “el gallo” Orozco, @gallorozco born in Guamuchil, but grew up in Huatulco and has always been close to the sea. At 32, he left the Bull and Tank Group, where he was a co-proprietario chef due to the pandemic and started Mi Compa Chava from the bare minimum to fully embraced by locals and tourists alike.
Some final thoughts:
Make a reservation because even on a Tuesday, they are packed. Or play it cool and take your chance to get sat at the bar to watch the chefs craft from start to finish.
Mi Compa Chava brings together a bit of Mexico from everywhere making it everything.