What is in this article?:
- Restaurant customers, chefs embrace ceviche
- A gateway to the raw bar
The once-misunderstood seafood dish is growing in popularity.
A gateway to the raw bar
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While ceviche is most often found on menus that have heavy South American influence, other types of restaurants are also experimenting with their own versions of the fresh seafood dish.
A Toute Heure in Cranford, N.J., currently features two types of ceviche on its seasonal, ingredient-driven menu: a traditional scallop ceviche with house-made Sriracha sauce and an off-the-beaten-path snapper ceviche made with pickling brine and fresh herbs from the restaurant’s garden.
“Ceviche and raw bar menus in the past were limited to places that had a raw bar or were serving South American cuisine,” said ATH co-owner Andrea Carbine. “[Now,] chefs are playing around with flavors from all over the globe.”
Ceviche is doing so well at ATH that when Carbine and her partners open 100 Steps this fall, a New American restaurant across the street, it will include an entire bar dedicated to ceviche and other raw seafood. “For a lot who might be squeamish about raw bar … [ceviche] gets them over the mental barrier,” said Carbine. “It’s a gateway food into the raw bar world.”
Though it has grown in menu importance, ceviche is still most often found on the menu at fine-dining and casual-dining restaurants. Miami-based Sam Gorenstein hopes to change that with My Ceviche, a fast-casual ceviche bar.
“I knew ceviche had become popular in the U.S.,” said Gorenstein, a native of Colombia. “But there wasn’t a place where you could walk up to the counter and order a great ceviche at an affordable price like in South America.”
My Ceviche, which opened its first unit in South Beach in 2012, is an order-at-the-counter, build-your-own menu in the style of Mexican Grill. Menu items include ceviche with any combination of whitefish, shrimp or octopus with a choice of six different sauces; ceviche bowls, with marinated seafood atop coconut-jasmine rice or cilantro quinoa; stone crab claws; and sides such as corn on the cob with queso fresco, guacamole and chips, and poached sweet potatoes. Ceviche orders come in 16- or 24-ounce portions and are priced between $10 and $14; the bowls are just $9.95.
Gorenstein and his partner recently opened a second, larger location in downtown Miami with tables and beer. A third location is set to open inside the Miami International Airport in 2014.
“Ceviche now is what sushi [was] 20 years ago,” said Gorenstein. “And it’s so much better than sushi. It has no carbs. It’s pure protein. Once you put a little bit of ceviche in your mouth … it’s a captivating flavor.