Sunday, June 06, 2004

South American Ceviche In Houston

When I was talking to Anita about restaurants I mentioned ceviche - fish and seafood marinated in lime juice which cooks it and she said she doesn't eat fish or shrimp. She also doesn't eat fuzzy foods including peaches and mint.

Today I see Robb Walsh is checking out some different ceviche.

Details: Snapper ceviche $14 !!!!
Fried seafood $15 Good
Salmon pescado en salsa a lo macho - OK
Cau cau $13 !!!
Grilled grouper with shrimp $18
Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 11 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 8 p.m.

Where: 9419 Richmond, 713-952-4200.

You have to specify your fish when you order it here. There's grouper or snapper ceviche for $14 a plate. Tilapia or catfish ceviche is $12. All are served Peruvian-style with a slice of cold cooked sweet potato and a little round of cold cooked corn on the cob.

"Get the snapper," the manager says as he stops by our table on the way to the kitchen. "It mixes best with the marinade." The fish comes to the table combined with octopus, squid and mussels with red onion slices on top. Judging by the falling-apart texture, I suspect the octopus and squid are cooked a little before they're marinated. Flecks of a fresh green herb coat the seafood. The waitress explains that the stuff is cilantro, which has been ground so finely, it resembles a pesto. It's by far the best ceviche I have ever eaten.

My dining companion gets cau cau de mariscos, a variation on a pre-Hispanic Peruvian stew. The original version of cau cau is tripe stew mixed with crushed potatoes. In cau cau de mariscos, a seafood stew is substituted for the tripe. Squid, shrimp, mussels, octopus and their cooking liquid are mixed with potatoes and green peas and an herb mixture that includes mint. The seafood stock is thickened by the potatoes and forms a delicious and unusual sauce.

Robbs fascinating review also tells you more about South American cuisine while he also investigates the chili con queso at Tio's Tex-Mex.

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