Chattanooga Now El Mesón creates seafood specialties

Chattanooga Now El Mesón creates seafood specialties

July 10th, 2011 in Chattnow Dining

El Mesón Restaurante Mexicano prepares fresh summer drinks at the bar. From left are Eddie, Tony, Raul Jr., Raul Sr. and Alberto Ruiz.

El Mesón Restaurante Mexicano prepares fresh summer drinks...

El Mesón Restaurante Mexicano's menu features a variety of seafood recipes this summer. "We really try to specialize in seafood dishes because they are so popular in the Hispanic community," says Tony Ruiz, the eldest son of the Ruiz family and owner of the Northgate location.

Seafood specials are available every Friday and Saturday with El Mesón's chefs preparing recipes with everything from whole fish like tilapia to oysters and mussels. The restaurant's shrimp cocktail is prepared with tomato, cilantro and avocados served in a cold tomato sauce.

"In some regions of Mexico, shrimp cocktail is made with ketchup," says Ruiz, who is proud of his family's Jalisco-style recipes. "We make ours from scratch with tomato sauce, shrimp broth and freshly squeezed orange juice."

Ceviche can be made with lime-marinated shrimp or tilapia and is served in a pico de gallo and fresh lime sauce. Ruiz says there is always a seafood recipe on El Mesón's Sunday brunch buffet as well.

Chunky guacamole.

Chunky guacamole.

El Mesón prepares everything from scratch, including fresh salsas and a new guacamole appetizer. There are eight different salsas available with summer selections like pineapple and mango habanero. The new guacamole appetizer is made to order with fresh lime, chunky avocados and, upon request, fresh jalapeno.

Happy hour at El Mesón is every Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. with $2 pints, two-for-one house margaritas, frozen sangrias, house wines and well drinks. El Mesón features specialty drinks at the bar with a variety of margaritas. The tropical margarita is a mixture of mango and peach tea with vodka. A Margarona is a new concoction with 20-ounces of frozen margarita topped by a Coronita (a miniature bottle of Corona) that is opened and turned upside down in the margarita glass. Ruiz says as the customer drinks the flavor of the beer mixes with the margarita.

Shrimp tostado.

Shrimp tostado.

Freshly made mojitos are also available in a variety of flavors, including mango and pomegranate. Monday evenings from 4 to 7 p.m. (at the Hixson location only) guests who purchase two alcoholic beverages and sit in the bar area will have access to a free taco bar. The special is only available to customers eating at the bar and some restrictions may apply.

Ruiz says to spread the restaurant's popular entrées to a wider audience, his family is thinking about opening a third location near downtown Chattanooga.

LOCATION: 2204 Hamilton Place Blvd. and 248 Northgate Mall Drive, Suite 114.

PHONE: Hamilton Place 894-8726 and Northgate 710-1201.

HOURS: Both locations are open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

turday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.