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Eat This: Citrus Yellowtail Tostada at Crudo Cevicheria

Little Italy’s new-ish crudo spot brings necessary ballast to a traditionally crumbly bite
Citrus Yellowtail Tostada food dish from Mexican restaurant Crudo Cevicheria in Little Italy, San Diego

I have long struggled with the architecture of tostadas. It’s a crispy, edible plate loaded with ingredients. Unlike pizza, tostadas are stubborn and won’t let you fold them to secure your payload. And, unless you are Julia Roberts, your mouth will not have the acreage or cargo capacity needed for this eating project. 

You will bring it to your face, try to anaconda it. And, eight times out of 10, it will break and fall to pieces. If you haven’t taken precautions to attack the tostada over a plate, congrats, you’ve got lap nachos. 

Crudo Cevicheria chef Carlos Diaz knows this. He was born in San Diego but raised in Tijuana, where tostadas are a protected class. That’s why his corn tostada shells are thick, sturdy, and damn delicious on their own—craggy with stalactites of baked cornmeal. They hold up to the task. They’re served in a stack like pancakes. Take one, break it apart, and use the pieces as chips for the homemade guacamole. 

A waiter holding a plate of two cevhich and crudo tostadas from Crudo Cevicheria Mexican restaurant in Little Italy, San Diego
Courtesy of Crudo Cevicheria

And dear god, Chef Diaz’s citrus yellowtail tostada is one of the best things to eat in Little Italy, which is not short on good things to eat. Fresh yellowtail is seared, then tossed with pomegranate ponzu and given both the required fat and acid in the form of a preserved lemon aioli (they preserve their lemons in-house for months). 

Opened last August, Crudo is one of the newer arrivals in Little Italy from the trio who also run taco haven La Taqueria Tijuana: Eduardo Bustamante, Fernando Montiel, and Fernando Gonzalez. They gutted an old dessert shop, built an indoor-outdoor seafood outpost, and tapped chef Diaz and his structurally sound tostadas. 

He can’t do anything about your mouth, though. Tackling the tostada will still be difficult… but worth it.

By Troy Johnson

Troy Johnson is the magazine’s award-winning food writer and humorist, and a long-standing expert on Food Network. His work has been featured on NatGeo, Travel Channel, NPR, and in Food Matters, a textbook of the best American food writing.

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