Often when it’s cold outside, our bodies crave hot and hearty foods; beefy stews to warm the bones, rich soups to comfort the soul, or century egg congee exfoliating face mask. The stigma of this seasonal dining isn’t something I believe in – yes a steamy hot bowl of pho tastes best when it’s minus-ridiculous degrees outside, but it tastes just as good in the summer when you can sit and sweat over a bowl of rich and earthy bun bo hue or a bad ass dac biet with sliced chilies and girlfriend repellant. I recently hit up this spot that serves a typical warm weather dish all year around.
Ceviches, a new cevicheria in the plateau; if you couldn’t guess from the name, this place specializes in lasagna and homemade charcuteries. Actually a South-American dish of raw seafood cured in citrus such as lemon and/or lime, mixed with a myriad of fresh herbs, spices and magic is the wonders of ceviche… but you knew that. The ordering process is simple and straight forward; you pick the size (four to choose from), pick your seafood (fish, shrimp, octopus, or a mix for a dollar extra), then pick your accompaniment – nine to choose from, passion fruit, tamarin, avocado, mango, tomato, hearts of palm, coconut, lemon or cactus.
We started with the empanadas served with an spicy mayo dipping sauce. Three deliciously light and savoury pockets of cooked fish and spices went well with the smokey dipping sauce… let’s be honest here; if it’s wrapped in dough and fried, give me 10, I don’t care what’s inside.
As always, I ignored all warnings of eating something carefully because of it being hot. Coming out of a deep fryer, you would think I’d have the mental capacity or common sense to wait before chomping down on what literally is a hot oil sponge… but no. It’s a sacrifice that I make for food in stupidity. When someone says be careful because it’s hot… listen to them!
We also had an order of paella to start, figuring we’d lay a nice solid base foundation for what’s to come. The mix of shrimps, squid, and mussels hugged by soft rice perfumed with saffron was warm and substantial.
This is the small mixed ceviche with avocado served with plantain and yuca chips. The ceviche was incredibly fresh with bright citrus and wisps of fragrant cilantro. Generous nuggets of plump and tender pieces of seafood tightened throughout our meal and the crispy chips and fried corn nuts added great texture to each bite. The avocado added an inherent creaminess to each mouthful and helped with the tartness of the dressing from sucking your face into the back of your head.
We also had a mixed ceviche with passion fruit. This version had a subtle sweetness to it that went well with the overt tartness of the dressing. We ended up using the ceviche as a “dip” for the chips that accompanied our dishes – which I’m not sure if that’s the typical or traditional way of enjoying ceviche, but it should be.
A small selection of latin specialty products line the wall as well as a few homemade chili jams. I was explained that the ceviches found here don’t necessarily subscribe to a typical traditional or school of ceviches. Pulling aspects from all different renditions and versions of this dish, the team behind Ceviches has made their own Montreal unique interpretation of this South American dish.
More often than not, a welcoming smile and bright greeting from Maria the owner will surely help guide you through your first experience at Ceviches. This place is a great spot to stop for a quick bite that will propel you to a coastal beach somewhere in Latin-America nibbling on something fresh and inviting… even in your fur Sorels and Canada Goose.