Dia de Campo | South Bay | California, Seafood | Restaurant
At Dia de Campo in Hermosa Beach, chef Tin Vuong, along with executive chef Ken Johnson, tackles Mexican cooking, with an emphasis on seafood. From the large, almost unwieldy menu, you choose from all manner of familiar Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, as well as a wide-ranging "ceviche-esque" section, which allows Vuong and Johnson to play whatever games they please with raw and almost-raw fish. It's this section of the menu that is most gratifying, and where the mix of chef-y, New American touches mixed with Mexican sensibility works best. Hamachi and one small but brilliant piece of uni sit on the plate surrounded by a wild tropical salad — green papaya, mango, peanuts, with half a passion fruit to scoop it up. It's a crazily acidic and bright mash of flavor, but when you get a bite with all the plate's components, it's also pretty brilliant. — Besha Rodell

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