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Ceviche, Silver Spring - Closed

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I saw some positive posts about the place over on CH.

Sigh. We're meeting up with friends in mid-afternoon down in the Ellsworth Plaza - they're going to an early movie at the Majestic, and we're headed to the AFI Silver to see The Producers. (yeah, I own this movie on DVD, but the Silver has such great popcorn!) I'm going to petition for an early dinner at Ceviche. They'll probably drag me (kicking and screaming) to Eggspectation instead, but I'll post impressions if I prevail.

Ah, excellent, they have a website:


Edited by perrik
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I walked into Ceviche for lunch today, and grabbed a seat at the end of the completely empty bar. I put my order in, and sat there quietly sipping my diet coke and browsing the menu (a neon green menu that I originally thought was a napkin!). Then out of the corner of my eye, I see someone coming up next to me, taking the barstool right next to mine. He slapped me on the shoulder and said "I thought that was you sitting here." I looked up, and I was like, "Hey! What are you doing here?" Well, it was Manuel Iguina, former GM of Cafe Atlantico and Oyamel, now running the show at Ceviche. That is a very good sign for this restaurant in the near-term, as is the lovely and professional M-F bartender Megha (Megha! How cool of a name is that? I wonder if her last name is Bux.)

So, Ceviche is a huge bar/lounge area with a couple dining rooms attached to it. No question, it's set up to be a bustling lounge scene, with a LOT of space between the bar and the nearest tables behind the barstools. Almost invariably, places "like this" might have good food when they first open, but when you revisit them a year later, they've fallen off the cliff. Right now, Ceviche does appear to have pretty good food - good, not great - and it's worth frequenting as opposed to the boring, bland, never-chains it has for neighbors. With the congenial Manuel in charge, the staff at Ceviche will probably be a huge strength.

Bohemian Rap City

Continuing my Ceviche-induced acid trip, I'm walking back to my car, waiting at an intersection, when this hippy chick comes pedaling up on a bike. Right as we were both about to cross the street (she's still on her bike), I'm right behind her, and I say in my deepest-and-meanest authoritarian voice: "Excuse me Miss. You're jaywalking." She didn't even look up. "Sorry," was all she said, and dismounted her bike to walk it across the intersection. While we were crossing the street, I walk up beside her and put my arm around her. Finally, she looks up and bursts out into a big smile. "Don!!" It was, of all people, Odessa Piper.

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We made an unscheduled stop at Ceviche this evening. I was actually meeting my wife at Mazza Gallerie in Chevy Chase for a movie, but the 30 minutes it took to get from I-95 in Beltsville to NH Ave killed that idea, so we decided to meet halfway in Silver Spring.

Tom's review is pretty spot-on. The lounge is what draws attention here; the dining room is not so much an afterthought as it is just not quite as attractive as the lounge. I actually liked the look of the space very much, though I wouldn't mind if the lights were turned up one notch higher. Strategically placed spotlights and oil table lamps made it possible to still read the menu, which was brought with a basket of fried plantain chips.

For a starter, I chose the restaurant's namesake dish, prepared in the "classic" preparation. I thought it was a pretty small portion for $9.50, and had a little too much liquid in the bottom of the plate, but it was quite good. I would definitely order it again. The highlight of the evening was the Horneado de Costilla Encebollado, a slow-roasted pork rib with lime-braised red onions. I expected something homey and tender, but the skin was perfectly cooked, both chewy and crispy at the same time. It was also nearly a foot long - this was absolutely HUGE, especially when compared to the "small plate" sized appetizers. I entered starving, and could barely finish half of this dish.

My wife started with the Latin-style Caesar salad, which she pronounced very good. A fairly traditional Caesar salad, with fried plantain chunks in place of croutons. She then had the Locro Ecuatoriano, a "stew" of potatoes, cheese, avocado, and egg. It came with a thick soup filling half the bowl, and the solid ingredients stacked into a tower in the center. A very attractive presentation, and my wife barely spoke as she sucked down the bowl in moments. All entrees come with a side of your choice (sauteed potatoes, fried yuca, vegetables in garlic, white rice, or fried plantains). We both chose the plantains, and they were very good.

We decided to forgo the leftover Halloween candy at the house, and sample a couple of desserts. Considering how straightforward the dishes were to the descriptions, the desserts seemed out of place. I ordered a Orange-Chocolate Mousse, and my wife the Guava Cheesecake. The mousse came not in a small dish, but layered with a flaky pastry, almost like a Napoleon. It was very tasty, just unexpected. The cheesecake was deconstructed - the two scoops of guava cheesecake custard were scooped on to a bed of crust crumbs, and each scoop had a slice of Manchego laid on top. The Manchego had no taste at all - definitely not a sheeps milk preparation. The rest of the dessert was fine, but it was a very odd presentation.

They had a decent cocktail and wine list; we didn't partake. The service was friendly and attentive. Every staff member we saw, except for the bartender and busboy, were the waif-like model types. I guess that comes with the territory when you want to be a scene first, and a restaurant second.

Total damage was in the $70 range after tax and tip, with soft drinks but no alcohol. Definitely a good addition to the neighborhood, and will be on my regular rotation when I'm heading to the AFI.

Edited by DanielK
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It takes a lot for me to dine outside of DC...two trips to Restaurant Eve is all my New Year addled brain can remember for 'burb dining in 2005. So when a dear friend of mine from england was visiting the area last week and her friends suggested Ceviche in Silver Spring...well...I wasn't all that enthusiastic.

I'd never been to "downtown" Silver Spring before...and hopefully I'll never be back. What a mess. However, Ceviche was a pleasent surprise. If you are a fan of Chi Cha or Gazuza or other lounges of that ilk, then you will dig Ceviche. Dimly lit, low tables and couches, interesting cocktails (the one spiked with jalapeno pepper is tasty), and a good looking staff. Prices are reasonable, a cocktail that would go for $10 in DC goes for $7 at Ceviche, the wine list included many bottles in the $30 range, and most entrees were in $13-$20 range.

I started with the corn fritters stuffed with gruyere cheese, which oddly looked almost like a corn dog, but stuffed with gooey cheese, pretty tasty but not remarkable. We tried several ceviche, which in general I liked. The pork rib was actually pretty damn good, as mentioned above it's huge: crispy skin, tender meat, and succulent globs of fat. The lime marinated onions really went well with the pork, while the slaw of julineed veggies was just ordinary.

Desserts were ok, sweet and desserty, but nothing to rave about...the deconstructed cheese cake mentioned above was perhaps the weirdest dessert presentation I've seen, it actually looks kind of gross but I thought tasted the best of the bunch. The Mousse was pretty good, as described, flaky napoleon style wafers with mousse in between.

Would I run out to Silver Spring on my own accord to eat at Ceviche again...probably not...but the next time some one says lets meet up in Silver Spring, I'll make the hard sell for dinner at Ceviche...and I'll go with the pork rib!


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We finally got around to checking this place out. I liked the look, sort of industrial with Victorian whorehouse red touches. The cement floor looks very cool but those in heels should look out as it gets very slick.

We both started with the ensalada de palta y queso perfectly ripe avacado, cherry tomatos, and cubes of cheese, dressed with chimi. Very nice way to start our meal.

Grilled salmon with mojo and quinoa salad Cooked a little more than I prefer but still very moist piece of fish. With lime, pickled red onion, an a strangely acidic salad of quinoa and diced vegetables. The salad would be improved by a hit of good olive oil.

Churrasco al chimichurri Boring filet perked up by the garlic and herbs of the sauce.

I was feeling constitutionally delicate this evening, and so didn't even look at the drink menu. We'll definitely go back for a cocktail and some ceviche. It's not a great restaurant, but that block of Ellsworth is such a soul-destroying strip of chain mediocrity that any independent local place should be encouraged.

(Perhaps I've read too many anthropology texts, but the little snack of roasted corn looks almost exactly like fossilized teeth. Kinda put me off.)

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The pork rib continues to rock. Try that next time.
Beth and I went last night and this was one of those places us that left us thinking about other things we could have done with the money as we left. To explain, we are young and don't have a whole lot of money to go out to eat all the time. This is not to say that we don't spend some serious change on dining. We have gone to places in NYC and around DC where we have dropped 200 or more for a meal but when we walk out the door we aren't talking about or thinking about prices. The discussion is "Man can you BELIEVE how good that pork dish was" or "That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen done with a piece of fish". Well when we walked out of Ceviche, having just come from doing some shopping, we were both thinking somthing along the lines of "I can't believe I passed up that new shirt and pair of shoes for THAT."

This is not to say that the food was horrible or the place is really pricey but it is very expensive considering how good the food/drink is and how much you get. I think that for the most part you are paying for the space. If you are with some friends and you are all dressed up and ready for a night out on the town, by all means go to Ceviche for a bite first.

Ok now for the point by point review I will start from the beginning. First pet peeve, which actually burns me a lot more than it should, was that the drink menu had no prices on it. I am not cheap or anything but at a place like Ceviche that has that hip, house music, night club feel you never know when a mojito might run you 14 bucks. And to make it worse when we asked about prices the server didn't know. I just wanted a range. Are your cocktails all like 7-9 dollars? 14-15? 20-25? And as a waiter it always just makes me feel cheap asking about all the prices like that. I know that is my own insecurities but whatever. Just print the prices on there and make it easier on your customers and servers.

So the rest of the service wasn't lousy but there were enough small things that we both commented on it at some point. Our drinks didn't come out until we were both completely done with our appetizers and she didn't really know about a few things when we had questions. I think she was new so I am more than willing to cut some slack. (I came to this conclusion because she had to go check on prices a couple of times and she was REAL shaky with the drinks and plates and stuff.) No biggie I am sure she will get the hang of it and be a fine server in time.

We got some cocktail with ginger and serrano chile in it and a blood orange margarita. The serrano chile one was a bit syrupy but not bad and the margarita was orange juice with red food coloring and sour mix and maybe a splash of tequila but that is up for debate. Really not that good. I MIGHT order a pitcher of these if there was a happy hour special and I was sitting out on a patio in the summer I guess but for a rocks glass at 9 and a half bucks, skip it.

We got the plantain chips and salsa and mixed ceviche for an appetizer. Both were really really salty. I mean to the point that after eating them my lips were kind of burning and I felt a little sick to my stomach from all the salt. The ceviche portion was a bit small 3 mini-shrimp maybe a dozen calamari rings, didn't see the fish and some chunks of waaay overcooked octupus. I imagine the octupus is what a galosh would taste feel like if you chewed on it... The salsa came in one of those ceramic butter ramakins so it was gone after like 3-4 dips for each of us.

For entrees we got the salmon and the mahi mahi. These weren't bad but both were a little overcooked for our tastes and the mahi mahi portion seemed small. It was on a huge pile of rice and covered with a ton of a stewed onion mixture but when you got past all off that it was a pretty small cut of fish. While neither of these dishes were really that bad, I just couldn't help thinking (as I did with the drinks) that I could have made better versions of both of our dishes in under twenty minutes at home for half the price. I think Heather hit it on the head when she said "boring". Both of our dishes were just really boring.

With the two cocktails, chips and salsa, one ceviche and two entrees our check was around 75 pre tip. We were both still a bit hungry but didn't feel like getting dessert. I know that isn't a huge check even by our standards but it left us both sad dreaming about the feast we could have had for that at Samantha's, Rays, cubano's or even just cooking ourselves. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone unless you had an interest in the clubby atmosphere, like a pregame dinner before going out dancing or something. I don't know. For our money we will just go to Samantha's next time we feel like some ceviche.

Oh and there was no pork rib on the menu!

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Unfortunately, I have to second Blake G's review. Last night we found ourselves in Silver Spring, and hadn't realized that RTC was open again. We wasted about $75 at Ceviche: the ceviche was terrible (skimpy portion for $9 and tasted like everything had been pre-cooked and dropped in a bath of very tart citrus juice, rendering it almost inedible) and our steak was bland and tough. Our server dropped dessert menus on the table before we even finished our entrees. Definitely won't return.

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If there were an automated self-service wine bar in metro stations that could be accessed by a smartrip card, passengers might find longer waits for trains during off-peak hours more tolerable. But don’t ask me why one of these makes sense in a restaurant.

Twenty-five bottles can be tapped at the wine bar in the small, awkward upstairs space at the glover park ceviche, representing south America and spain, and ranging in price from about $6 to more than $20 for a full five-ounce pour. The machine is calibrated to also offer one- and three-ounce glasses.

A good introduction on how to use the bar is provided for those who have never encountered it before, but I immediately ran into trouble with my card. There are four different ways to insert it into the machine, and only one way works, although even a slower learner like myself, with some extra help, will eventually get the hang of it. one valuable suggestion is to use the end of the card imprinted with the computer chip, which is indicated by a gold square. If you know that much, you have a fifty-fifty chance of getting things right on your first try. the next part of the challenge was to figure out how to squeeze four pours for two drinkers out of a $25 card and redeem as much of its value as possible. I ended up paying at least as much attention to the cost of the wine as to the wines themselves, which were basically good, but nothing memorable. We each ended up with seven ounces of wine. With more confidence in my algebraic, or even basic arithmetic, skills I might have been able to sample small sips at the high end of the price scale instead of starting out low. Still, just by counting on my fingers we managed to do fairly well, coming in with only $1 left on the card.

A small tapas menu is available in the wine bar area, and the server stationed here is to be commended (and not pitied) for having to run up and down the stairs all night with water and small portions of food served in arty glass containers more suitable for votive candles or resembling ash trays lacking any place to hold your cigarette. A ceviche sampler of good tuna, shrimp and mixed seafood, for instance, is served in three separate dishes on a tray. Tequeno de chorizo were fairly good, followed up by a trio of beef, pork and chicken empanadas. The pastry was a bit too soft and the meats really got whipped, but these were fairly decent too. Although not halfway bad, the latin concept that didn’t work as well for us was the Mediterranean platter of hummus, baba ganouj, tapenade and spinach dip. All were rather loose, and with the exception of the olives, thin in flavor. The spreads are accompanied by crisp pita bread cut into sharp crow beaks, which are fun implements for attacking the food.

Over the course of an hour, the novelty of the wine bar wears off entirely and it is about as entertaining as a coca cola machine. On the way out I couldn’t help but wonder about the full menu being served in the dining room and my thoughts turned to this: if businessmen can drink beer on the bus in berlin, why can’t we do it here? and with summer coming up, if the park police want to insist on fencing up thousands of sweltering revelers for the fourth of july fireworks the least they can do is serve beer, which used to be plied by the bucket on the mall in more glorious times.

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