946 2nd Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets
about $120 for two, with five drinks, with tip
Depending on whom you ask, ceviche may have originated from Peru or Ecuador. Wherever your allegiance lies, it’s seafood marinated in a citrus-based concoction to “cook” the meat without heat. Crave Ceviche Bar doesn’t want you to forget what they’re trying to serve you–everything is creatively “ceviche’d”. I had fun determining which taste originated from where.
The Kona Kampachi, my new favorite fish from Hawaii, was marinated in pressed lemons and tomato paste. The chorizo happily melded with the natural sweetness of the kampachi. The puré of artichokes and red peppers balanced everything out. Spain, right?
I loved the salmon tartare in yuzu and huckleberry. A mess of galangal, capers and white truffle essence may sound confusing but for some reason works here. I couldn’t miss its Asian-flavor galore. Throw in the oven-roasted tomatoes and cauliflowers and you have yourself some old Italian influence. We enjoyed the black cod sashimi with roasted beets and crispy latke ceviche’d in apple cider vinegar and yellow bean apple purée. It could be your next Hanukkah special! I found the spicy yellow fin tuna the most simple, but at least the yuca made it somewhat exciting.
In a more hushed setting, restaurants like Le Bernardin have thrived in the New York City scene for years. Maybe it is Eric Ripert’s footsteps that Crave Ceviche Bar is following. They have a raw section on the menu, as well as “cured but cooked” and also traditional dishes using shrimps, lamb loin and Peking duck in the same vein that their midtown counterpart has “almost raw”, “barely touched” and “lightly cooked” selections.
Each dish will set you back at least $14 with the most expensive topping at $28. Add the cocktails the cute bartender mixes behind their newly-licensed bar and you’re looking for a $120 bill for two. After a couple of hours, we were tipsy and out of cash but still hungry. I can’t explain how we ended up at a Japanese bar for a pitcher of Sapporo draft and a big bowl of pork belly soup afterwards, but Crave Ceviche Bar definitely made us crave some more.