Sometimes I peg a restaurant for one thing and never branch out. I made that mistake with Seviche, a tapas and happy hour restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh. I’d been there for happy hour numerous times, but never tried more than chips and salsa to eat.
So when Seviche asked me to come in for a tasting – and offered me a $50 gift card to give away! – I figured I should give the fish a chance. I’m so glad I did! (Details on the giveaway are below.)
On a Friday night, Scheidt and I were greeted by a totally packed restaurant. We sat at the kitchen bar, right next to a display of bright-pink sushi-grade fish on ice. Chef Jeff Caulkins explained that the restaurant is making great progress on serving locally-produced foods – something that isn’t always easy for a Latin-themed restaurant in Pittsburgh in the winter. While they’ll always have to bring in the seafood, this year the winter menu featured local squashes and mushrooms. Come spring, Jeff is looking forward to having fun with locally-grown fingerling potatoes – the thumb-sized spuds that are perfectly suited to Seviche’s bite-sized aesthetic – as well as regionally-sourced asparagus and haricots verts.
Speaking of bite-sized, of course we ordered seviche (which is also spelled ceviche or cebiche). I let Scheidt be in charge of ordering our platter of three preparations ($18). He chose Scottish salmon with avocado and corn; Island Creek oysters prepared “fire and ice” style with habanero pepper and prickly pear granita; and our favorite, ahi tuna quickly seared and topped with pickled ginger and shaved fennel with a roasted garlic ponzu sauce and a drizzle of wasabi mayonnaise.
Let me tell you: the ginger-fennel salad on top of that tuna was the highlight of the whole plate. I mean, the fish was luscious and I even liked the oysters, but the fennel was transcendent. I asked Chef Jeff about it – he probably got a little tired of the ponytailed girl at the bar raising her hand like she’s in the seventh grade – and he said that he is 100% against “non-functional garnishes.” He said he always feels sad when plates come back to the kitchen, fish demolished, untouched salad pushed to the side. That little salad on top of your seviche might be the most exciting part – so eat it if you get the chance!
Aside from the fennel salad, our favorite dish of the night was the Cuban Sushi Roll ($12). This was definitely different from your standard roll: salmon, calabaza, jicama and avocado rolled with nori and sticky rice, then topped with sushi-grade tuna, fried malanga shreds and a sriracha mayonnaise.
If someone in your group is squeamish about raw fish, there are also plenty of fully-cooked options. We tried the Bistec Bocadillo ($10), a quesadilla-like finger sandwich made on lavash stuffed with seared filet mignon, Jarlsberg and caramelized onions. It was served with French fries and would definitely please an American palate.
As for happy hour, Seviche has a great one: $5 signature cocktails (including my favorite mango mojito), $4 glasses of wine, $3 beers and $5 tapas, from 5 to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. to midnight on Saturdays. For bonus points, follow @sevichepgh on Twitter and you might get free tapas or free mojitos!
If you want to win that $50 gift card – and I promise, you do! – leave a comment about a restaurant you love that has more than meets the eye. Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EST, Friday, March 26.
- Leave a comment on the blog (not Twitter, not my personal Facebook page) about a restaurant you love that has more than meets the eye.
- Make sure to use your real email address, because otherwise I won’t be able to reach you if you win. (Email addresses are never, ever published on the site, so you are always safe from spammers.)
- You must leave your comment by 11:59 p.m. EST, Friday, March 26.
- Only one entry per commenter.
Le Fine Print
No purchase necessary. Winner will be selected at random by Burghilicious using Random.org. All entries received after the giveaway comment deadline will not be considered. Duplicate entries will be disqualified. Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to confirm receipt of the email. If the winner does not reply within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Giveaway has been sponsored by Seviche with the assistance of Nakturnal.