Based on the first news to trickle out about C'viche, I was expecting the bar to play significant role in the place's vibe. The restaurant was supposed to have plenty of tequila, rum and cachaça for mojito's margaritas and other cocktails. It was meant to evoke the wonders of Baja.
But the C'viche that opened on Greenville Avenue earlier this week is considerably more casual than the picture I drew in my head. There are a few barstools, but I have a hard time picturing anyone gathering around them and tossing back shots. The space is set up as a fast casual, one-and-done sort of restaurant, not the sort of place you'd get comfortable before you'd get sauced.
You place your order at the counter, and then you're handed a plastic tent with a number to take to your seat and wait for your ceviche to come. They're offered in four major flavor profiles, which you can choose to apply to a number of different fish. So, Asian, Mexican, South American or Island flavors end up with scallops, tuna or other seafood. If that doesn't work for you there's an aguachile, poke and other seafood options as well.
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There are also tacos. Suadero, chicken, fried egg and grilled fish tacos can be made with corn or flour tortillas. There are no salsas on the table, like in most taquerias, but there's a rack on the wall near the soda fountain with a number of bottled hot sauces.
Chef Randell Warder, who opened Clark Food and Wine in the space next door, is responsible for the new restaurant. Clark offers a mostly meaty menu that leans heavily on a smoker, so C'viche might seem like a pretty big departure. Warder spent some time in Mexico when he worked for Dean Fearing at The Mansion, though, and now he's sitting on two very different but complementary restaurants.