Okay, so it’s not technically an all you can eat ceviche party, but considering they just added a whole batch of new ceviches to their already robust menu, China Chilcano is setting you up for success if you’re looking for a place where you can eat your weight in citrus cured fish. From now until August 5, José Andrés’ most criminally under loved restaurant (at least, it doesn’t seem to get as insane as Oyamel or Jaleo) will be serving up eight new ceviche dishes featuring everything from pearl oysters to duck breast.
Feeling overwhelmed? Confused? Frightened? Sit down, order a Pisco Sour and let us tell you what’s good.
To ease you into your new all ceviche diet (no carbs! Or whatever!), kick things off with some crowd pleasers. There’s always the Ceviche Classico with its home-y sweet potatoes and crunchy cancha, but break away from the main menu and try the Anticuchero, which features smoked mackerel, burnt potatoes, avocado and a helping of leche de tigre dotted with ají panca peppers. The combination of the smoked mackerel and the burnt potatoes creates a smokey, right off the grill flavor. It’s like Peru-style ceviche and BBQ had a love child.
Let those smokey flavors linger on with the Palteado which includes a buttery hamachi, a rich avocado leche de tigre (that I would buy by the gallon if someone would let me), bright heirloom cherry tomatoes and a light sprinkle of smoked oil. It’s a delicate fishy wonderland in your mouth.
Now that you’ve acclimated, it’s time to up the ante. Grab a round of the Ostras a la Chalaca with Acadia Pearl oysters, a dash of finely chopped red onions and tomatoes and in classic Andrés fashion, a leche de tigre foam. The cold briny mixture is sure to clear your palate and get you ready for some of the weirder stuff China Chilcano has up its sleeves, like the Ceviche Chalaco that features fried calamari. Surprise surprise, fatty fried food is the perfect compliment to the citrus heavy flavors of ceviche. Drunk people are always right. Cold fried food is the best.
Finish your meal on a high note with an order Tiradito de Pato Nikkei and the Ceviche de Cerezas. The first dish includes tender slivers of duck breast, a spicy and citrusy ají mirasol ponzu, a touch of furikake and some wakame. It’s a rich dish that shifts from flavor to flavor like a chameleon, which means the de Cerezas is a good follow up. It’s basically a dessert ceviche, which means it’s basically cold cut fruit with a cherry sauce drizzled on top. Dig into the cherries, lychees and strawberries and order another pisco. You survived Ceviche Fest.