Ceviche House, Florida's First Peruvian Restaurant, Still Around After 30 Years

Categories: Review
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Parihuela, seafood soup

Ceviche House sits inside the longstanding Miller Square plaza on 137th Avenue and Miller Road. Serving up tallarin saltado, aji de gallina, chilcano, and of course, ceviche for over thirty years, owner Jose Lopez is responsible for bringing Peruvian cuisine to Florida. At one point Lopez had four restaurants in South Florida, but now he's focused on his original location alone. "It's very hard to find real Peruvian chefs," he explains. Rather than skimp on authenticity, he closed a few of his locations.

One would expect that anointing his restaurant "Ceviche House" that the place would specialize in ceviche. There are eight types of ceviche on the menu, but unfortunately, the taste and quality don't add up to a namesake restaurant.

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Ceviche de la casa aka signature ceviche

We tried the ceviche de la casa ($24.95), which Lopez assured us was plentiful. We have to say that we've had better ceviche in several other places. The leche de tigre aka citrus marinade, was okay, not extremely flavorful or noteworthy. We took offense that the shrimp were already cooked, as were other seafood ingredients. Upon asking Luisa Marinel, chef and Lopez's wife, she confirmed our suspicions. "Yes, they are steamed beforehand."

The ingredients of a ceviche, be they shrimp, octopus, fish, and so on, are to be raw and then "cook" in the lime juice. Not only do we feel that this affected the flavor of the ceviche, but we found it disappointing that our homemade ceviche is better-tasting and more authentic than the one served at the first ceviche restaurant in Miami.

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Lomo saltado

Fortunately, the parihuela ($14.95), or seafood soup, was savory and chunky with seafood, though not worth fifteen smackeroos. The lomo saltado ($11.50) was decent, prepared with churrasco instead of the usual palomilla, which enhanced our enjoyment of the otherwise nondescript dish.

Upon trying the desserts, we felt as if there should be a name change - Postre House would be a much better representation of what to look for inside.

After our comped meal, we were full, but not satisfied. Not so much because the food was average, but because we were expecting much better ceviche from a restaurant claiming to be the house of ceviche.

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I have been coming to this restaurant for 15 years, and to me it is the best ceviche I've had by far.  As a Peruvian immigrant I must bring to your attention that you have made mistaken assumption on how ceviche is properly cooked and has been cooked for many years in Peru.  While the citric acid present in lime juice will cook the fish; octopus, calamari, and specially shrimp must first be cooked /steamed. Lime juice will not properly cook anything, it will just make the seafood become denatured (look it up). Using only lime juice will not only NOT cook them, but also will not kill the bacteria or parasitic worms in shell fish.  Simply for health and safety issues, these three ingredients must be cooked first. Saying you take offence to the shrimp being previously cooked, is like saying you take offence that corn tortillas are made of corn.  To be a food critic, one must be knowledgeable not only of the ingredients, but the history behind each dish.  Specially this being a newspaper that is meant to inform and instruct. I would have expected this post to be informative and not a personal opinion on how you think ceviche must be cooked.

Andrea Hasbun

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