Hector Plascencia has deservedly earned the reputation of a mariscos master. Once a partner in South Bay seafood destinations such as Día De Pesca, Órale and Maverick’s, Plascencia is a 15-year veteran in the industry and he personally handcrafts every entrée, appetizer and salsa that meets the table.

His latest incarnation, Las Delicias del Mero, Mero! Mexican Grill, has already turned heads in South San Jose while placing an emphasis on family, from customers to cooks. The entire staff is comprised of Señor Plascencia’s relatives and one can tell by their interactions—as well as those with customers—that this is a labor of love.

The interior has a lively nautical décor with walls adorned in a calming ocean blue, and the ocean inspiration dominates the menu. While they do have some non-pescetarian options (e.g. pollo asado, carne asada, chile verde), it would be akin to going to Morton’s and skipping the steak.

El Mero Mero’s house specialty is their fish tacos ($4.10 each), which come in myriad choices: tilapia, halibut, prawns, tuna, snapper, salmon, octopus and even crab. I can firmly attest from multiple visits that these are by far the best fish tacos I’ve eaten. The standouts are their grilled scallops and fried (or grilled) halibut. The tacos are prepared simply, with a little cabbage, guacamole and either pico de gallo or their signature chipotle dressing. Loaded with fish, three of these bad boys will put away even the heartiest of eaters.

El Mero Mero also offers a small but quality selection of oyster dishes, including a nice rendition of classics they call Ostiones Rockafela ($11.50/half-dozen). They’re served with the typical bacon and parmesan and an added touch of their delicious chipotle sauce. These were so rich, cheesy and delightful that even my normally no-oysters-for-me companion was clamoring for más.

On the entrées, the Camarones Al Cucuy ($13.80) offer spicy, homemade comfort. Their devilishly hot red sauce pairs really well with the plump shrimp, fluffy homemade Spanish rice and pinto beans. The only thing that would’ve enhanced this dish are fresh corn tortillas, which are not offered.

El Mero Mero has helped to close the seafood gap in San Jose, providing a much needed boon to the Santa Teresa area—as evidenced by a sardine-packed house on a recent Friday afternoon.

Las Delicias Del Mero, Mero! Mexican Grill
5899 Santa Teresa Blvd, Ste 109, San Jose.