The bill of fare at 7 Mares is so extensive that it takes two separate, small-print menus to include it all. Typical Mexican-restaurant dishes are present — fajitas, nachos, tacos, etc. — but as the name of the place suggests, seafood stars. (7 mares = 7 seas, not 7 female horses.)
Highlights include whole red snapper, bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheese and jalapeno peppers, a fabulous chile relleno in which you really taste the poblano pepper as well as the shrimp and cheese inside of it, and various combination plates of shrimp, fish, squid, calamari, and octopus. This is a menu on which so many dishes are so inviting that even a few visits seem only to hint at all the pleasure to be had.
Meals begin with huge circular chips and an intriguing salsa that is a tomato-sweet relish dotted with hot pops of jalapeno pepper. If you like heat, be sure to ask for green salsa. It’s a thick puree that is not just hot but intensely chile-flavored. It goes well on just about every dish, and is so beguiling that when there was no food left on the plate, I found myself dipping pieces of grilled toast in it.
By the way, margaritas come in three sizes. Large is cartoon-huge — so tall that it’s a physical impossibility for anyone less than 7 feet tall to simply lean over and sip from the straw. You must either raise yourself up out of the seat or grab the glass and bring it down to lap level.
An unlikely shopping-center storefront that looks bland from the outside, 7 Mares is a spacious restaurant with booth-and-table seating and tasteful seafaring decor. While it does draw its share of culinary pilgrims who have discovered the extraordinary food, a large portion of the clientele appear to be local families, friends, and co-workers. Waitresses, who are no better speaking English than I am speaking Spanish, are as helpful and friendly as can be.