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Elegant and fresh at Casa Escobar

Pictured is the ceviche served at Casa Escobar at the Malibu Inn. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
12:54 pm PST February 12, 2014

When the ceviche at Casa Escobar at the Malibu Inn comes to the table, it’s hard – if not borderline discourteous – to simply dig into such a beautiful dish, which itself almost demands a certain reverence for presentation alone.

Served in a margarita glass, Casa Escobar at the Malibu Inn’s “Ceviche De La Casa” features a delicate mahi-mahi marinated in fresh lime juice. The fish is tossed with a pico de gallo made from tomatoes, onions and cilantro, and is topped with avocado chunks, micro-greens and two elegant tortilla chips.

Looks aside, this $15 appetizer is an ideal starter for one or two diners before enjoying any of the 30 items on Casa Escobar at the Malibu Inn’s limited menu, which will upgrade to a full menu of more than 100 items in March. 

The citrus essence of freshly squeezed lime juice pairs exquisitely with the mahi-mahi’s subtle, yet pointed flavor. The pico de gallo is made from fresh produce grown in Oxnard, just a few miles north on Pacific Coast Highway, and helps call attention to the freshness exuded by this dish.

“In this area people look more for healthy and lighter dishes, so we’re trying to bring them lighter dishes like this ceviche,” Manager Daniel Arias. “Everything is homemade. We make everything from scratch, and that’s something people notice in our flavors and quality.”

While the ceviche is ready to go, Arias said customers should be eager to try the restaurant’s chicken breast with mole poblano, which will roll out with the full menu this March. 

“Mole poblano is an acquired taste because it’s a mix of chocolate spices and chiles, and I would say it’s the most elaborate dish that we have in Mexico,” Arias said. “This mole is the perfect balance of spiciness and sweetness, because it’s not too much of either, and is served with black beans, Spanish rice and corn tortillas.”

With the full menu will also come a sampling of dishes and flavors that encompass the essence of authentic Mexican cuisine. 

“We specialize in food from all over Mexico,” said Arias. “We have mole from Puebla, we have tamales from Michoacán, seafood from the Gulf Coast – we don’t focus in just one area of Mexico, we focus on all areas in Mexico.”

The diverse selection at Casa Escobar is what Arias said has distinguished the restaurant since it was founded in 1946. 

Now located in the historic Malibu Inn, Casa Escobar recently returned to Malibu after it was bought out of its former location on Cross Creek Road five years ago.

Other dishes not to miss:

• Chef Enrique’s Chipotle Shrimp Burrito: This dish features a flour tortilla filled with shrimp, black beans, rice, tomatoes, onion, cilantro and a creamy chipotle sauce.

• Enchiladas Dona Rosa: These unique enchiladas feature Grandma Rosa’s original sauce and a choice of two enchiladas with shredded chicken breast, cheese or spinach.

• Mexican Kale Caesar Salad: This salad is made of fresh romaine hearts, kale and shaved Parmesan cheese, all drizzled with a Caesar dressing.