I realized a little too late that the Uptown Theater I purchased tickets to was in Grand Prairie, not in the Uptown neighborhood of Dallas, where I live. Always up for an adventure, I decided to make the most of my mistake — eat someplace on Main Street, Grand Prairie before the show. Surely a Main Street anywhere has something worth eating, right?
I hit up the city’s website for a recommendation after discovering D’s own couldn’t help and chose Agua Azul. The restaurant’s website read “Mexican Seafood.” “I don’t know what ‘Mexican Seafood’ is,” I wrote my dining companion, “but I am willing to find out.”
The restaurant is within sight of the theater’s neon marquee, though on a cold, dark night you might not want to walk the distance between the two. It was a festive welcoming: piñatas dangling from the ceiling, a merry Mexican soundtrack, walls painted like underwater scenes, and heart-shaped balloons leftover from Valentine’s Day filled the space, which includes a long bar and many more tables that first meet the eye. I noticed we were the only non-Hispanics in the joint — a fact that would remain mostly true for our entire visit (a lone Caucasian gentleman did sit down right as we were leaving).
I started with the ceviche tostada, which was merely catfish and chopped tomatoes in lime juice with a side of iceberg lettuce and a couple of slices of avocado. It was tart and light and the tostada stayed crispy under the fish for the duration of the meal.
For my main course I ate a fish called Wanda. No, sorry. I ate a dish called papayot, a whole red snapper baked in tin foil and served with “house rice.” The fish was huge and gorgeous and cooked to perfection with veggies – carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli – inside its packet. I especially appreciated how the carrots under the fish had caramelized a bit on the foil. Sausage bits gave the rice a nice smoky flavor. There were also bits of carrots and baby shrimp in the rice. But overall it was too salty to be edible. I ate every last bit of that fish, however.
If you’re the less adventurous sort, as my dining partner was, there are fajitas, quesadillas, and even a burger. But I’d stick with the fish if I were you. And maybe look at the address before you buy tickets to something with Uptown in the name.