The short version: knowing I am an absolute cheap bastard, knowing there’s $12 lobsters down the street, knowing how much I despise “gourmet” food trucks… Cuyutlan is a great, historical place in LA to eat seafood.
Prelude: lobsters are obviously expensive, but as a dog palate Serious Eats commenter snarked not too long ago: is the higher ingredient cost worth the higher product price? Depends. I will pay $9 for a grass-fed beef burger in a sit-down counter-order restaurant. But to stand for a rather unfilling $12 lobster roll?
Cuyutlan: Boyle Heights. No one but obese low-income earners walk by. The truck is parked by the sidewalk in front of a coin-up laundry. There’s another generic quesadilla truck across the street. This isn’t too far away from Breed St.
Lobsta Truck: wherever there are “cool gatherings”, or on Wilshire’s falsely named Miracle Mile.
Winner: Lobster Truck when you don’t have any laundry.
Cuyutlan: simply prepped ceviche, cocteles, seafood tacos. Unfortunately, jaiva is always imitation crab/surimi, so SKIP THAT, unless you’re in Baja. But we don’t like to go to Baja, so SKIP the jaiba/jaiva.
Lobsta Truck: all things faux-Maine. Lobsta, chowda, and rolls. Lobsta roll just went up another $1 in May.
Winner: Cuyutlan, they have crackers (for the cocteles). Lobsta doesn’t (for the chowda)
Cuyutlan: $12 yielded lunch for 2 (3 ceviches on tostado, 2 fish taco, 1 bottle of soda. The fish tacos were solid, and on par with the best of Ensenada styles in LA. They were here in NINETEEN SEVENTY FIVE, and they survived in one of the most Mexican neighborhoods in LA without Twitter, without appearances on La Taco’s Taco Madness, without a blogging sister-in-law. The ceviches were not extraordinary. But it served 2 generations of Latinas as Friday night treats. We can argue Baja authencity to death, but the sense of satisfaction after eating here, and … , is as if the community kitchen reached out and touched the soul.
Lobsta Truck: $12 got 1 sandwich. After said 4-5″ sandwich crossed the pass, a sense of disgust washed over me, and I left without procuring accompanying sides. Chowda is $6, so soup & sandwich would be $18. The sandwich itself was adept at straddling the mayo vs. butter debate after I asked for both mayo & butter. Seriously, how can one not love butter, how can one not enjoy mayo? The debaters are stupid. Get both. Regardless, eating this sandwich outside of a wine shop renders the experience absolutely soulless and gutless. They are the nicest people, no doubt.
Winner: Cuyutlan, by the length of 4 Lobsta Truck rolls.
Overall winner: Does it matter? No one except I (and 7 yelpers?) visit Boyle Heights to eat what some may consider an ordinary ceviches from a ratty shack. Maybe if the truck’s in East Los, it’ll blow the hell up. Y’all keep going downtown for those hip-hoppy grilled arrachera. Cuyutlan, even without this post, will churn along just fine; its 1 stainless steel bench will probably survive another 37 years.
Marisco Cuyutlan Colima
2238 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033
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