It was on a rare rainy day in sunny Miami, that I arranged to meet Chef/Owner Sam Gorenstein of My Ceviche at his barely one year old location at 1250 South Miami Ave in Brickell.
Splashing my way into the casual and relaxed spot that is My Ceviche, I forgot immediately the rain and wind just outside and was transported to a rustic beach shack, complete with natural stained and white washed wood , the whimsical bright green My Ceviche fish logo, “ Go Fish Go Fresh ”, and high top picnic style tables.
A small seating area outside was protected by the elements with an overhang, and inside the counter and tables and chairs were filled with regulars and business types on lunch…not a tourist to be found.
My Ceviche, with two locations, the one here in Brickell and the other in South Beach, at 235 Washington Ave in SoFi caters to a wide range of customers, all in search of fresh ceviche, local fish and healthy eating.
Chef/Owner Sam Gorenstein, smiled when I arrived, offering me a spot at one of the high top tables and with pride and passion shared with me his story of growing up in Colombia, where ceviche was considered “street food”. He described the local cevicherias where the ceviche was kept in coolers along the beaches or strapped to bicycles.
Sam, whose cooking pedigree includes heading up the kitchen of BLT Fish in New York City, and opening BLT Steak at The Betsy on Ocean Drive,( where he was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Rising Chef in both 2010 and 2011! ) embarked on this new venture after meeting partner, Roger Duarte, finance entrepreneur and founder/owner of George Stone Crab in 2009.
Together they recognized the need to offer fresh local fish prepared daily and to take a giant step away from the traditional ‘Seafood and Steak” restaurants that dominated the Miami food scene. Sam, always wanting to do “his own thing” with his personal stamp led the two to open the first My Ceviche in 2010.
My Ceviche, both for take out and dine in, does just that! When I asked Sam about the fish, he rattled off a list of local fishes that he uses and offers when available in his ceviche. He was surprised how many restaurants still feel the need to fly in fish when the Miami waters offer such a flavorful inventory. Of course, Mahi Mahi topped the list as the “favorite” Miami fish, but names like trigger fish, lion fish, black grouper, strawberry grouper, cobia and snapper are all local fishes he secures daily.
The fish is marinated in a simple blend of citrus juices, lime, cilantro, and other ingredients to create a refreshing mixture that is served as its own dish, or added over mixed lettuces, coconut jasmine rice or cilantro quinoa.
On my visit, I ordered the Traditional Ceviche with combination of Fish, Octopus and Shrimp. Chunks of flaky white Mahi Mahi, substantial pieces of octopus and whole shrimp were marinated in a delicate balance of citrus, avocado, tomato, cilantro, red onions and jalapenos. Another favorite was the Aji Amarillo with aji Amarillo, a South American hot yellow chili powder, and ginger added to the marinade. Asian Ceviche adds just a hint of soy, thai chiles and seaweed and mango. Prices which include a chunk of sweet potato, ¼ cob of yellow corn, and a bag of spicy chipotle flavored popcorn is priced at $11.75 for medium and $14.75 for large. I had no problem devouring the large one myself!
The seafood tacos are another great light lunch or dinner item. We ordered three reasonably priced at $9.95, again, the fish was fresh and a good sized portion. We chose the grilled fish, charred octopus and my favorite the raw tuna, which was chopped into small cubes and tartare style. Served on either a soft tortilla, corn tortilla or lettuce each taco was also enhanced with pickled red onions, queso fresco, radishes, cilantro and salsa.
And if a Burrito is what you crave, My Ceviche's Octopus Burrito was just named one of the Top 16 Burritos in the US by Thrillist ...and the only contender from Miami. Stuffed with octopus, coconut jasmine rice, Mexican crema, and queso fresco it is no wonder it made the list!
Speaking of salsas, and sauces… My Ceviche offers a free self serve “condiment bar” with no less than 10 different hot sauces, salsa verde, picante, and plenty of cut limes to squeeze generously over the fish and ceviche.
Other sides include; guacamole and chips, charred corn on the cob with queso fresco and crema, tostones, and, lime spiced corn chips.
A daily special chalkboard highlights new additions to the menu including for the non- seafood lover…an adobo-citrus grilled chicken served as a taco, burrito, or over rice or salad. There is even a Vegetarian burrito priced at $7.45.
And, if you crave stone crabs, you can order online or on the spot for delivery from Georges Stone Crabs… ” from the ocean to your door in 24 hours”. in season Mid- October to Mid- May depending on availability.
In chatting with Sam, we talked a lot about the changes in Miami’s food scene. Sam stressed the creativity he sees in the new restaurants and how the patrons are becoming more aware of local ingredients and authentic dishes. Even though he loves his role as chef and menu creator, he is genuinely enjoying the business and marketing end of running My Ceviche and his eyes twinkled when I asked him about plans for the future. Watch for a new My Ceviche coming soon in South Miami… 5900 SW 73 Street (next to Winn-Dixie and Deli Lane)...
My Ceviche- http://myceviche.com/
South Beach Brickell 1250 South Miami Ave 235 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, Fl 33139 Miami, Fl 33130