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Ceviche

Mike5966 Jun 16, 2011 12:57 PM

Had the scallop ceviche at Eastern Standard last week and it was alright. My Venezuelan buddy, his wife makes a killer ceviche at home but I can't just go invite myself over, and this warm weather has gotten me all bothered for it. I tried making it at home and it was alright, too, but I cheat and add too much salt or avocado or mango and all these bastardized ingredients to compensate for my lack of understanding of how to make just the pure acid-denatured fish stand on its own and taste good.

Who has good ceviche? Furthermore, what is authentic ceviche, and who has it? How does one determine if the ceviche is good? Is it supposed to be unadorned and relatively bland like sashimi? Is the texture supposed to be a little rubbery? I want to learn what ceviche is supposed to be and what it can be, and I want to do it in Boston. Preferably at a place with a nice bar.

  1. g
    gourmaniac Jun 16, 2011 01:06 PM

    rincon limeno in East Boston.

    8 Replies
    1. re: gourmaniac
      MichaelB Jun 17, 2011 07:26 AM

      +1 for Rincon Limeno. Delicious, refreshing, and a very abundant serving reasonably priced. (No bar, though.) Theirs is exactly as chefmatician describes the peruvian style below. I prefer the plain fish version (pescado) to the fish & seafood version (mixto) - I find the fish has better texture and the little shrimp in the mixto do get a bit rubbery. The octopus salad there is also great and a very similar preparation.

      -----
      Rincon Limeno
      409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

      1. re: MichaelB
        Alcachofa Jun 17, 2011 09:03 AM

        +2 for Rincon Limeno. There is a friendly bar next door.

        1. re: Alcachofa
          g
          grant.cook Jun 17, 2011 10:29 AM

          I love the RL ceviche.. I was burping lime for like 2 days after my last chowdown there..

          And I've had one the best empanada's in a long time there..

        2. re: MichaelB
          l
          labonbon3 Jul 13, 2011 03:05 PM

          can you byob?

          1. re: labonbon3
            galleygirl Jul 13, 2011 05:18 PM

            They have beer and wine....altho the wine is the kind in screw-top individual bottles you get on airplanes....

        3. re: gourmaniac
          t
          Taralli Jul 26, 2011 09:11 AM

          Back to RL last night & happy to find they now have cold & hot tapas that include some favs like the cerviche served in a martini glass & easily was good for the 2 of us who like seafood - just as fresh & good as ever. Things that we ordered were: Ceviche Mixto - marinated seafood in lemon & onions w/crunchy nuts & soft kernals (tapas portion); Yucca a la Huancaina - hot, fried yucca w/room temp huancaina sauce(spicy cheese sauce); Lomo Al Jugo - steak tips mixed with onions & tomatoes (from the breakfast menu); Carapulcra Peruvian pork & chicken with dry potato sauce; & Seco de Cabrito con Frijoles - Peruvian style lamb with rice & beans. The lamb dish was our favorite, falling off the bones w/savory beans & rice. Plate of lime wedges and their pungent, spicy red & green sauces. Just a wonderful medley of flavors & textures. Also got a side of fries which came w/more rice that we barely touched - we were so full, which meant no Mazamorra morada this time around. Chicha Morada for drinks. Service warm, efficient & friendly as always.

          1. re: Taralli
            g
            gourmaniac Jul 26, 2011 09:17 AM

            Thanks Taralli: I really like the seafood here and never thought to get the lamb. Next time.

            1. re: Taralli
              Mike5966 Jul 26, 2011 10:21 AM

              This sounds just so heavenly... I have been trying to make it out there for weeks. Thanks for the review!

          2. d
            drewinmrblhd Jun 16, 2011 01:08 PM

            Cilantro in Salem has a very nice ceviche, last time I was there, it was only about $10. If you are up around the north shore, give it a try! They are located next to Salem Beerworks.

            1. C. Hamster Jun 16, 2011 04:09 PM

              I thought the ceviche at Eastern Standard was disgusting. The rest of their food has been much better.

              I'm glad you asked this question. I dream about the ceviche on Balthazar's seafood tower.

              -----
              Eastern Standard
              528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

              1. Boston_Otter Jun 16, 2011 04:55 PM

                I dig the ceviche at Solea. But I don't have extensive ceviche experience.

                1. h
                  hynespb Jun 16, 2011 05:03 PM

                  I thought the ceviche at Tico was delightful.

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                  Tico
                  222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

                  1. chefematician Jun 17, 2011 07:05 AM

                    Machu Picchu in Somerville does a decent rendition of Peruvian ceviche. I've had it somewhere in East Boston (maybe Rincon Limeno?) but it was so long ago that I don't remember. Different countries are going to have their own versions of authentic ceviche. Quick story; I was traveling in Mexico and I stopped for ceviche. The person I was with (a Peruvian) was horrified that we were served ceviche with tomatoes and avocado. In Peru, that would be a ceviche sin. It would NEVER happen. Most of the ceviche I've eaten has been Peruvian ceviche and it's pretty simple. The dish consists of fish, lime juice, salt, and maybe some rocoto if you like it spicy. It's served with sweet potato, big toasted hominy and a "salad" of really thinly sliced red onion that's been soaked to remove some of the bite. It shouldn't be rubbery. Different types of fish will require different amounts of time in the lime juice to "cook" and if it's rubbery that means the fish was probably soaked too long. After you eat all the fish it's customary to drink the liquid that remains on the plate. The Peruvians call this liquid leche de tigre and they consider it to be one of the best parts of the dish.

                    -----
                    Rincon Limeno
                    409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

                    Machu Picchu
                    307 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chefematician
                      Mike5966 Jun 17, 2011 07:33 AM

                      Thank you! This is exactly the kind of reply I was looking for. I did find the rubberiness a little off-putting, but in my head I was thinking maybe that's how it is supposed to be. Thanks for the clarification.

                      Looks like Rincon Limeno will be the first place I try based on the aggregate responses from others. Keep the recommendations and info coming! Thanks!

                      1. re: chefematician
                        c
                        cevichelover Jun 28, 2011 10:34 AM

                        although there are different "authentic" versions of ceviche in each country, it is a dish that originated in peru and most other types of ceviche are a spin off of this original recipe. i've had versions from other countries and none come close to the quality of peruvian ceviche. aside from the apparent red onions and lime juice, the sauce that the fish is marinated in also has a bit of pureed garlic, pureed yellow peruvian peppers, salt, pepper, and depending on your tolerance for spiciness either rocoto chopped up in small bits and mixed in with the lime juice or cut up in slices that are placed on top of the fish. some people also add a tiny bit of pureed celery. the fish used in the top restaurants in peru is sole fish. sea bass is also good. in terms of cooking time, some people like to serve it immediately after mixing ingredients, others like to wait for up to 30 minutes. you'll learn what you prefer as you make the dish a few times, but one thing is for sure, all of the ceviche has to be eaten, none left over for later as the fish will go bad.

                        if you do want to try a good non-peruvian alternative in boston, i recommend the ceviche at ole mexican grill in inman square.

                      2. Bob Dobalina Jun 17, 2011 07:17 AM

                        Thanks for this post.
                        I had the ceviche at Rincon Limeno several months ago - I think it's high time to try it again tonight...
                        Had the ceviche at Chez Henri - I would pass on it. Just not that good on the quality/quantity/price metric.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                          Bob Dobalina Jun 20, 2011 08:18 AM

                          Had the ceviche at RL on Friday night - just so good...the mixto - calamari, fish, shrimp - simple, delicious, love the two kinds of corn bits, even the sweet potato chunk is great.
                          Then got the fried seafood - best version of fried seafood I've had - so crispy, perfectly fried, great breading almost like a panko, but super crunchy -
                          Also a chicken empanada that was oddly dusted with confectionery sugar - and somehow oddly appealing...

                          Way too much food for two people - I really need to go here more often than I do...

                          1. re: Bob Dobalina
                            g
                            gourmaniac Jun 20, 2011 09:02 AM

                            I once did your menu (minus the empanada) alone and painfully had to leave lots on my plate unfinished. This place is a gem.

                            1. re: gourmaniac
                              Infomaniac Jun 29, 2011 06:35 PM

                              Same menu here too, minus the empanada and always are plate is unfinished. I have to try the dusted chicken empanada now. Oddly appealing enough to spark my interest.

                        2. f
                          ferret Jun 17, 2011 07:45 AM

                          This is my dream restaurant - I've visited the one in San Francisco a number of times. It started in Peru and is slowly spreading but if I had one nearby (I'm in Chicago) I would be there (almost) daily.

                          http://www.lamarcebicheria.com/web/in...

                          Fortunately the New York location appears to be opening soon.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ferret
                            lipoff Jun 17, 2011 10:28 AM

                            +3 for Rincón Limeño.

                            La Mar is a good Cebicheria. If there's one thing I learned from a recent trip to Perú, it's that there's more than one way to do ceviche. The first six photos below show the ceviche sampler at La Mar in Lima, Perú. They were each good in different ways. You can even have avocado in your ceviche!

                            I found an even better ceviche at Chifa Royal, a Chinese restaurant in Lima which did a Chinese ceviche, with lots of ginger a touch of soy and wonton skins. The best ceviche I had in Lima was at Cebicheria Lobo de Mar Otani, a small place run by a Japanese chef who adds ginger, soy, shaved celery and probably some umami to his very fresh fish.

                            You can also have tiradito, which is like ceviche, but instead of the fish being cut into cubes, the fish its cut into longer, thinner strips. The sauce for a tiradito generally has fewer onions (or no onions) and the fish is served more raw, generally with the acidic sauce added just before consumption. I have not seen this in Boston, but you can find it in New York . . . a little closer than going to Lima. Or you make it at home. Hake from the New Deal Fish Market makes for excellent tiradito.

                            -----
                            New Deal Fish Market
                            622 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                             
                            1. re: lipoff
                              lipoff Jun 17, 2011 10:19 PM

                              I take that back, Rincón Limeño does do tiradito now, but it was just okay (happened to go earlier tonight!). The sauce itself was excellent if a bit non-traditional (very heavy reliance on onions, which is not unheard of, just unusual in a tiradito) but the fish was only okay. It was cut quite thick, and was a bit chewy. I would stick to their ceviche, where the same fish texture works better with more marination and different knife work.

                              1. re: lipoff
                                c
                                cevichelover Jun 28, 2011 10:12 AM

                                a la mar will be opening up in NYC early this fall! i'm already planning many trips down to the city this fall just to eat there. what i love about gaston's restaurants is that they offer high quality, authentic peruvian dishes as well as really creative twists (using peruvian ingredients) on the traditional dishes. most peruvian restaurants in the US unfortunately do not really put much effort into perfecting their dishes and offering up servings that are truly authentic, in part because there has not really been a demand for it and also because using the traditional ingredients can get quite expensive for a restaurant.

                                1. re: cevichelover
                                  Mike5966 Jun 28, 2011 11:27 AM

                                  What are the traditional Peruvian ingredients?

                            2. m
                              mleighn Jun 17, 2011 12:39 PM

                              My favorite ceviche is Ecuadorian style ceviche, which unfortunately I have not found in Boston (or even any Ecuadorian food for that matter). The shrimp ceviche is my favorite (they actually cook the shrimp first though). It is very limey with tomatoes, red onion, and even a bit of bell pepper occasionally. AND the secret ingredient is ketchup (not kidding). The flavor combination is perfect. Here is a link to a recipe I've made, so you can get an idea. http://laylita.com/recipes/2006/07/15...

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: mleighn
                                lipoff Jun 17, 2011 02:07 PM

                                You can get Ecuadorian style shrimp ceviche at Sabor Latino in Milford. I think that Cuchi Frito on Main St in Brockton (much closer to Boston than Milford) offers this as well, but I'm not totally sure. If you like Ecuadorian food, you'll want to go there anyway though.

                                1. re: lipoff
                                  m
                                  mleighn Jun 19, 2011 04:24 PM

                                  I do not mean to totally take this off topic, but please TELL ME MORE about these two places you just mentioned (Sabor Latino and Cuchi Frito). I had limited luck with googling but they both look very promising. Is Cuchi Frito a store that is associated with a restaurant or just a restaurant? I have been searching for Ecuadorian food in Boston for three years and as of next month I will have access to a car and can try these places out!

                                  1. re: mleighn
                                    lipoff Jun 19, 2011 07:58 PM

                                    Well, Sabor Latino has a nice website, complete with their menu:

                                    http://saborlatino-restaurant.com/

                                    And yes, Cuchi Frito is both a store (selling Ecuadorian food as well as roofing supplies) and a restaurant right next to each other. A car may be the preferred way to get there, but the commuter rail does run from South Station right to Brockton. If you want to have dinner there, call first for hours, as I recall they close verrry early.

                                    Sabor Latino is further away, but worth it!

                                    1. re: lipoff
                                      galangatron Jun 20, 2011 09:26 AM

                                      have you tried the cuy at sabor latino?

                                      1. re: galangatron
                                        lipoff Jun 20, 2011 09:53 AM

                                        No, but I really, really want to! My good friend is Ecuadorian and some weekend when he visits from New York we plan to go with a small group for the Cuy (Guinea Pig). Just like Peking Duck, you need to order 24+ hours in advance.

                                        1. re: lipoff
                                          Bob Dobalina Jun 20, 2011 11:00 AM

                                          Any knowledge of whether the guinea pigs are sourced from a food provider vs. some other means? *shudder*

                                          1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                            galangatron Jun 20, 2011 11:01 AM

                                            they're usually shipped frozen from south america

                                            1. re: galangatron
                                              Bob Dobalina Jun 20, 2011 11:33 AM

                                              That's a relief!

                                      2. re: lipoff
                                        f
                                        foodish Jul 1, 2011 06:03 PM

                                        Oh my gosh. This is the best news I've heard in a long time! My husband is from Ecuador (he happens to be a private chef and his shrimp ceviche is to die for), but we've been scouring the web for years looking for a place that serves Ecuadorian food (there's some great places in CT, but that's a hike).

                                        Thanks CH. Stay tuned for our review!

                                        1. re: lipoff
                                          g
                                          gourmaniac Jul 6, 2011 09:06 AM

                                          Did a drive-by in Brockton (I know, it sounds gang-related), and there was no evidence of Cuchi Frito at the address I found on the web (Main street near Court). Did I miss this or has it closed?

                                  2. atg106 Jun 18, 2011 10:53 AM

                                    I think Solea in Waltham has a decent ceviche. They alternate types of seafood used, and I remember it was a sizable portion for the price.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: atg106
                                      Jolyon Helterman Jun 20, 2011 04:46 AM

                                      The scallop ceviche at Tico is the best ceviche I've had in a really long time.

                                      -----
                                      Tico
                                      222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

                                    2. p
                                      pathfinder Jun 29, 2011 04:22 PM

                                      The best ceviche that I have had in the last month have been at Zolcalo and El Centro.

                                      -----
                                      El Centro
                                      472 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pathfinder
                                        Mike5966 Jun 29, 2011 05:26 PM

                                        I see no reason for me not to walk down to El Centro and have this ceviche TONIGHT. Hopping in the shower now.

                                      2. Mike5966 Jul 6, 2011 04:16 AM

                                        Haven't been able to make it out to Rincon Limeno yet. But I was able to try Tico and Machu Picchu.

                                        Tico has a tiny portion for $16. The garde manger told me they make it to order so it doesn't get all that much time to cure, I guess. It just didn't have enough flavor. It was more like chopped up Southwestern-flavored sashimi than ceviche.

                                        Machu Picchu had a roadside stand on the Cambridge side of the Charles on July 4th. I was on the last leg of a 6-mile run and I could smell the chicken roasting on their grill from 2 blocks away. I felt as if I had come upon a desert oasis. My heart rejoiced and I approached the counter. A beautiful woman held out a toothpick with a big chunk of white flesh on it. As I put it in my mouth, she looks at me and says "ceviche... It's from Peru." I wanted a whole big mess of it immediately. Only had $3, though, and one order was $6. Heart sank, told them I'd visit them soon at their real location and began to walk away. The woman signaled me back to the counter and offered me a half-portion for my half-payment. They had spicy and mild, I got the spicy. It was DELICIOUS. This was the first time in life I'd ever really understood how good ceviche can be. No fancy ingredients. Just the fish and the marinade, maybe some onions and peppers in there but not much else. It was salty, ice cold, refreshing, and had a bracing but 100% pleasing acidity. I drank the juice at the end. I was so happy to finally "get" ceviche. Thank you, Machu Picchu. Your ceviche kicks Tico's ceviche's overstyled and overpriced ass.

                                        Incidentally, I have decided to do a food pilgrimage to Peru. Maybe sometime this fall.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Mike5966
                                          9
                                          9lives Jul 6, 2011 06:56 AM

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577597

                                          Jose Duarte from Taranta organized a culinary tour of Peru a few years ago. IMO, one of Boston's great chefs and all around nice guy. Might be worth checking if he has another trip planned.

                                        2. h
                                          heypielady Jul 26, 2011 12:09 PM

                                          Mr. and I went to Rendezvous in Central Sq last night for their Monday night tapas. All of the seafood tapas were a hit and reasonably priced at $4-6. The star was the fluke ceviche. Lots of flavor, perfect texture, and similar to what I've had in Costa Rica. I made some scallop ceviche a few weeks ago (bastardized with mango and orange juice in addition to lime juice) and I really wasn't pleased with it. The fluke ceviche at Rendezvous really scratched that itch.

                                          Looking forward to getting more at Rincon Limeno.

                                          -----
                                          Rincon Limeno
                                          409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

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