Review: Tacos Y Mariscos El Compa Restaurant, Caldwell, Idaho

Dec 29, 2012 by     6 Comments    Posted under: Boise, Idaho, Restaurants, Reviews
Tacos Y Mariscos El Compa

Tacos Y Mariscos El Compa

There’s a little taco joint in Caldwell that my girlfriend loves. Being the good boyfriend that I am (well some days at least), I drove out to Caldwell to meet her for lunch there the other week. Unbeknown to us, they were closed that day. As we scowled at the list of other Caldwell eatery options (or the lack thereof), we noticed a big vibrant sign one block up the street calling our name; “Tacos Y Mariscos”, or tacos and seafood. Neither of us had eaten there or knew anything about the place, but we wanted Mexican, and that name sucked me in. What followed was some of the BEST Mexican food I’ve had in all of the Boise area.

Tacos Y Mariscos’ Perfect Pork Carnitas Lunch

Tacos Y Mariscos Pork Carnitas

Tacos Y Mariscos Pork Carnitas

I really like carnitas, but I usually go for carne asada or chicken instead. How grateful I am that I didn’t make that mistake at Tacos Y Mariscos! Their chicken and steak are good, but their carnitas is literally the best I’ve ever had anywhere. I don’t even know how to describe it in a way to convey just how perfect it was. For starters, it was perfectly seasoned with salt, and only salt. There was nothing else to disrupt the pork flavor, which is the right way to do it, and a little ballsy for a restaurant to do in my opinion; too little salt and it would taste bland; too much salt and you couldn’t eat it. Tacos Y Mariscos nailed it perfectly. But the real magic to their carnitas comes from the long and slow roasting under low heat. They use big chunks of pork with the bones and skin still on. The slow roasting process literally melts the pork fat into the meat as it all falls apart. It is then fried (I’m assuming in lard) in a hot pan to a golden brown. The result is an extremely tender, extremely moist plate of meat that is almost sticky from the melted fat and collagen of the pig. It’s truly amazing, and is worth driving up from Portland or Salt Lake City just to eat and then drive back home. Stupid stupid good.

Delicious Enchiladas at Caldwell’s new Tacos Y Mariscos Restaurant

Tacos Y Mariscos Enchiladas

Tacos Y Mariscos Enchiladas

As if to say, “we can do everything right,” Tacos Y Mariscos put a plate of perfect enchiladas in front of my sweet pea. The aroma coming from them was intoxicating, and I couldn’t get a picture taken before she dived in. They were every bit as good as my carnitas, just completely different. Again, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly delivered. Who are these people? The enchilada sauce was great, the meat inside was great, and the tortillas were out of this world. I wish I could give you more details than that, but anything else would just be fluff. Just go order them and have a little mouthgasm of your own.

Perfect House-made Tortillas at Tacos Y Mariscos

The corn tortillas in Puerto Vallarta were delicious, and much better than anything I’ve had in the states, up until I was handed some with my carnitas lunch at Tacos Y Mariscos. They make them from scratch in-house daily, and are the most perfect corn tortillas I’ve ever had. They are so fluffy and lite that you almost think you’re eating a flour tortilla. I don’t know how they do this exactly, but it makes me want to never eat a flour tortilla again. Make sure you try these perfect masa corn tortillas when visiting Tacos Y Mariscos.

Tacos Y Mariscos is Known for Delicious Seafood Dinners

Everything I’ve read, watched (they have a couple videos on YouTube), and heard about Tacos Y Mariscos is all about their fresh seafood. Apparently, the owners/chefs are from a coastal region of Mexico, and serve up the seafood delights from their home town. My lunch didn’t afford the taken opportunity to try any of these seafood dishes that comprised half of their menu, but I didn’t worry too much because I knew I would be back. That return visit was just as pleasurable as the first.

The seafood options are extensive. There are at least 10 different shrimp dishes, fresh oyster platters, whole fried fish and fried breaded fish filets, octopus, mussels, and squid. All varying between Ceviches, tacos, tostadas, platters, brothy bowls, and molcajetes galore! It all looks amazing, and choosing one becomes a feat of strength rather than a decision. We ultimately narrowed it down to sharing a molcajete.

Tacos Y Mariscos Molcajete

Tacos Y Mariscos Molcajete

A molcajete is a stone basin (a mortar) that is heated to a good 500 degrees and then filled with a spiced up flavorful broth/sauce and filled with whatever tasty meats the chef chooses. In Tacos Y Mariscos case, those meats are: grilled skirt steak, chicken breast, raw shrimp that cooks in the hot molcajete sauce, bacon wrapped prawns, and a fried fish filet, all garnished with a fried jalapeno and some grilled cactus. Wow! Pretty damn good.

Though not as good as the molcajete we experienced in Puerto Vallarta, it was very very good in its own right. The red sauce was very delicious, though a bit too spicy. But when eaten with their perfect corn tortillas, the spicy heat mellowed to a perfect enjoyment level. And as if the delicious sauce wasn’t enough, each component of the molcajete was also perfectly delicious. The carne asada skirt stake was VERY good, and so was the chicken. The fried fish filet was very crunchy but sill flaky, and I wanted twice as much as they gave me. The shrimp swimming in the sauce were divine, and the bacon wrapped prawns were the best I’ve ever had anywhere. I don’t know what they did to these things, but WOW, their flavor was amazing and they were extremely moist and tender. Even the cactus was good; not slimy, a bit tart, and subtly smokey from grilling. It was awesome. Served with their delicious rice and beans, the whole thing fed us both satisfactorily. $17, what a deal.

But How Do Their Rice, Beans, and Salsa Rate?

10 on the rice, 9 on their beans, and an 8 on their salsa. That’s pretty good folks. Whenever you go to a Mexican restaurant and these 3 components suck, you know that their chefs don’t care enough to serve anything extraordinary. But Tacos Y Mariscos does it right all across the board. Their chefs clearly have a love of food, and a love of pleasing others through it. El Compa means “The Friend.” Friend indeed. Thank you!

El Compa- Tacos y Maricos on Urbanspoon

The Bald Gourmet finds a new Friend at Tacos Y Mariscos El Compa Restaurant in Caldwell Idaho.



6 Comments + Add Comment

  • As a chef, and a connoisseur, of fine international foods, I found El Compa Tacos Y Mariscos 605 N. 5th st. in Caldwell ID. to be a superb restaurant! It would be fair to say that it is as good or better than most of the Mexican restaurants from San Diego south down to the tip of Baja. The variety of menu choices is astounding (unfortunately they don’t have fresh lobster or swordfish) . Every selection my family and I have chosen has always been superb! We have eaten there several times and have never been disappointed! For lunch I recommend the Tacos. Be sure to get at least one of each type of meat, (tongue, brain, Carnitas, cheek, depends on availability; as in Mexico!) Service is great, but at times can be understaffed due to their out of the way location leading to fluctuations in customers. For the quality, authenticity, flavor, atmosphere, generosity,and courteousness,
    MUY BUENO!, excelente! cinco estrellas !!!!!

    • David, I couldn’t agree more! El Compa is exceptional. Thanks for posting. Eat some for me on your next visit. I only get to eat there a couple times a year since I move away from Boise.

  • My husband and I absolutely love Mexican food and cook a lot of dishes at home because we have not been able to be satisfied from these other Mexican restaurants here in Caldwell. I will treat my husband to a new restaurant, I do thank you for the descriptive information on the food alone. I am sold. :-) you have a wonderful day.

    • Let me know how you like it, Lori. The carnitas and enchiladas are both awesome, like I wrote about. But the whole fried tilapia is amazing (ask for extra limes) and so are the shrimp with bacon sautéed in a chipotle sauce!

  • Totally drooling! Are they open at 10pm? Will they be open when I get there after an hour drive, or will I be camping out in the cold, cold parking lot waiting for them to open?

  • Hey dude! I don’t always read stuff you email… sorry. But I’m glad I did today. I’d like to forward this to my wife. Then I’ll email you her email address so she can be set up to receive these as well!

I love hearing from my readers, so please go ahead and leave a comment!


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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.