Crave Ceviche is a new restaurant that opened just last week, but when I dropped by this past Monday night around 7:30pm, it was like an overstuffed taco, with people pouring out the door. Granted, Crave isn’t very big, it felt as small as my EV room, but is probably about the same size as the first room at Pearl’s Oyster Bar.
After nearly an hour wait (once A heard ceviche, no other food existed that night), we made it to a cozy bar corner (and by cozy, I mean tight squeeze) where we were immediately and cheerfully greeted by our wide-eyed waiter from behind the bar. Crave offers a Mexican style of drinking beer, sort of a beer cocktail, where they add lime, salt and hot sauce to whatever beer you choose. In Mexico, it’s called michelada, but at Crave I think they called it mordido style (I definitely spelled it wrong, but I can’t remember what it really is), so maybe it’s a Spanish version? I found it a bit gross, but then I also don’t like bloody mary’s or any salty drink except margaritas, really. I just went with one of their pricey sangrias ($9! for a not very generous glass). They do call themselves a wine bar, so there is a pretty good wine list, as well.
Now on to the food! The menu is divided by appetizers, sashimi, entrees, sides and a non-fish section. Ever since going to the Red Hook ball fields(post coming soon, I promise), I’ve been craving Latin American food. Naturally, the pupusa dish shouted my name, although it did do battle with the hamachi special which sounded nearly as seductive. The pupusa came with a pile of red snapper interlaced with carrots, microgreens, a couple of slices of a very hot pepper, radish and some other crunchy elements that I don’t quite recall. The ceviche part was “ceviche’d” (a verb the restaurant used) in naam pla (fish sauce), lime and kalamanzi (also spelled calamansi, a citrus native to the Philippines). It did have an almost sharp acidity but the pupusa – which is a thick, corn tortilla from El Salvador usually stuffed with a variety of different things – tempered the citrus. My dish was basically a salad with South-East Asian seasoning, which meant lots of good flavor and perfect for the summer heat.
A decided to go with their UES banker dish – the arctic char ceviche’d in champagne and sea salt, garnished with truffles, strawberries, chives and caviar. It tasted just as good as it sounds. The arctic char – related to salmon which is why it resembles it in the picture below – was incredibly tender and practically melted in my mouth. The champagne imparted a very light, slightly sweet flavor to the fish, which really needed almost nothing. This dish, along with the others in the sashimi section, were served in two sizes, “a little” and “more.” This was the more portion.
Good thing A ordered another dish since that one was a bit small, more as it may be. The filet mignon slider, ceviche’d in Worcestershire sauce (although they spelled it oddly – wostershire or something weird like that) and lemon tasted very much like it looked, a regular old steak sandwich, albeit with some very tasty manchego cheese. I could have used a pickle. It did, however, come with another sandwich staple. Potato chips. Homemade sour cream and onion potato chips. Nice and fluffy, but not enough sour cream and onion flavor. I like Blue Smoke’s homemade potato chips better. Heard their burger’s not bad either.
Anyway, to cap off my meal, I decided to have an oyster shooter, a special of the day served with a dash of cocktail sauce and blood orange (you eat it like a tequila shot). I saw the couple next to us slurp theirs down in obvious enjoyment and once they heard me order one, they asked for a couple more, but were sadly informed that I just took the last one. Muahahaha.
We were given a complimentary dessert cup of caramel covered with a chocolate and chili ganache at the end of our very satisfying meal. I would return to Crave Ceviche. IF I didn’t have to wait an hour.
crave ceviche 946 second ave (50th st)