Archive for February, 2009

Seviche at Restaurant of Same Name

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Aurora has never never believed me when I have told her that I don’t like seviche.  “You like fish,” she tells me, “whether it’s raw or cooked; and you like citrus; you ilke vegetables.  You like everything that’s in it.”

Reminds me of when I was a kid and my mom would try to convince me to eat things I didn’t like.  Like succoutash.  I think I’m spelling that.  I don’t really even know what it is except that it has corn in it because I remember not liking it as a kid so I have a mental block on it, even if I probably really ought to try it because I’d probably love it now.  But the fact remains that I didn’t like seviche; I’d relate it to gazpacho, which to this day is a soup I’ve only liked once, when I got Whole Foods’s take on it one time in New Orleans, and then it wasn’t even mine because I knew I didn’t like gazpacho so there wasn’t really enough for me so I only got a taste.

So when I asked Aurora where she wanted to go for her birthday, she had her answer ready in an instant.  “Seviche,” she said.  “I’m going to prove to you that you like it.:”

Four months later, we finally got around to visiting.  Turns out I’m pretty fond of their take on the dish, but unfortunately, I still feel like I only got a taste.  Portions are small, and prices are just a bit higher than I’d like them to be–but then again, it is downtown so they’ve got to pay for the real estate.

Rory and I split two trio samplers of offferings from their seviche bar, so we got to taste 6 of their 7 styles.  But every time you order, you can choose what fish you want the various flavors matched with, and the fish choices change daily, so there’s an endless number of combinations you could have.

Aurora and I numbered our cocktail napkin with the number denoting each style and listed the fish we wanted for that style.  Our excellent waiter, Barry, laughed and thanked us, saying, “I wish everybody would do this, it would make my job a lot easier!”  As he rang our order through the POS system, he paused and came back.  “Listen,” he said, “I was thinking that on two of these choices, you should swap the fish that you asked for–the salmon goes really wel;l with the mango, and the shrimp goes better with the avocado.”

Sure, why not–thanks for the tip!  Six of our choices were variations on seviche: citrus-garnished sashimi; vegetable relish on raw oysters.  But even the traditional seviches were pleasing to my palate.  I think texture may have played a role; the components were all finely diced by a cook who shows evidence of pretty good knife skills.  The larger chunks I’ve had in other seviches are more of a turn-off to me.

We also sampled the happy hour braised pork special appetizer.  Aurora described it as “pulled pork on top of jambalaya,” with manchego chesses on top of that.  No kidding.  It was tasty, and attractive, having been shaped ina  ring mold.

The bistec flatbread sandwich can be made with filet mignon or grilled prawns.  We chose the prawns, and were happy with it.

Seviche is located on Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh near Ninth Street.

Rating: 3.725 oranges

Crushing Canned Whole Tomatoes

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

If you’re making sloppy joes (or chili) (or anything else for that matter) and you’re using whole canned tomatoes but you don’t want them in their whole form because they would be too big that way and you decide to crush them with your hands to break them into smaller pieces, be careful!!  They’re apt to burst open like water balloons and spray juice all over the place, including all over your shirt.  So wear an apron.  Or, better yet, go ahead and put the whole tomatoes into the pot and then use your spoon to break them up as you stir them around.