Upper East Side newcomer Mission Ceviche Restaurant & Bar has landed a star in the Times — where critic Pete Wells declares the Peruvian menu a hit.
The UES restaurant was born out of chef José Luis Chávez’s ceviche counters in food halls like Gansevoort and Canal Street markets, where he serves the classic Peruvian seafood dish in a bed of lettuce or rice in lunch-bowl format. Here at his first full-service restaurant, the chef excels in ceviche in its natural form. Wells writes:
Still, nothing on the menu quite rivals the ceviches. They are served, yes, without lettuce or rice, and they are better for it. Mr. Chávez’s creative engine seems to have a high idle, and he has come up with different ways to present dishes that are also on the menu at the fast-casual counters. The “Nikkei” ceviche, for instance — tuna in a kind of modified ponzu sauce seasoned with ají amarilllo and togarashi — now comes with watermelon and a bloop of ginger foam that would never survive a trip from the food court back to the office. Neither would the odd but intriguing attempt at a vegetarian ceviche where the fish is replaced by shiitakes and the leche de tigre takes the form of snow, frozen by liquid nitrogen.
“There is nothing to avoid unless the kitchen brings back the bizarre strawberry-kiwi ceviche that showed up as a special one night,” Wells writes in his latest review, noting that everything else on the menu is a worthy order.
He specifically highlights typical Peruvian dishes like ají de gallina, shredded chicken breast in a “creamy” ají amarillo sauce that’s “soothing and spicy” at the same time and the grilled skewers, such as scallops served with arugula, lime zest, and Parmesan fondue. The cocktails — a pisco sour made with passion-fruit juice — are also worth a try, he writes. One star.