Peruvian ceviche is definitely having its moment in NYC right now. Early in the summer, new spot La Cevichería opened on the boardwalk at Beach 98th in the Rockaways, and just a few weeks ago, we reported that Kion Ceviche had opened in Williamsburg (the second ceviche restaurant to pop up in the neighborhood in the last year). Now, the pescado parade continues, with nine of NYC’s most prominent Peruvian restaurants coming together to battle it out for the title of Best Ceviche and Best Tiradito in the city. The competition, which everyone can attend (!) culminates on Tuesday, October 7th with a panel of celebrity judges and a fish feast for all. When this news arrived in my inbox I was all:
So yeah. The victor of this competition is actually me, since getting to eat ceviche and tiradito from nine restaurants in one sitting = ME, WINNING EVERYTHING.
Here’s an overview of what we can expect:
Ceviche: This is one of Peru’s most famous contributions to the culinary world — you will find variants in many other countries, (and its birthplace is hotly contested by Ecuador), but the general consensus is that ceviche’s roots go back some 2,000 years to present day Peru. It is typically made from fresh, raw fish (and in the case of ceviche mixto, an entire medley of raw seafood) that is marinated in lime juice, flavored with spicy ají, and topped with tangles of chopped red onion. The burst of limey, salty, spicy flavors in the marinade are so revitalizing that the leftover juguito is served as a hangover remedy called “leche de tigre.” Think of it as Poseidon’s Bloody Mary (minus the tomato part. and the vodka part). Also, I can’t confirm this, but I’m pretty sure leche de tigre is what is keeping La Tigresa del Oriente alive.
Tiradito: When most people hear “raw seafood” they think sushi, and this dish definitely draws more directly from the Japanese influences that can be found in Peruvian cuisine. But compared to ceviche’s storied 2,000-year legacy, tiradito is the new kid on the block, having only become popular in the last 20 years or so. The main difference between the two dishes is the way the fish is cut: whereas ceviche is chopped roughly into cubes, tiradito is sliced sashimi-style, and dressed in a sauce that includes ají amarillo, lime and occasionally soy and ginger. It also skips the onion garnish, you know, in case you were hoping to make out after your meal.
Participating restaurants include:
•Coco Roco (392 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
•Desnuda (122 East 7th Street, NY, NY 10009)
•La Cevicheria (Concession at Beach 97th/Rockaway Beach, NY, NY 11693)
•Manka (216 Glen Street, Glen Cove, NY 11542)
•Panca (92 Seventh Avenue South, NY, NY 10014)
•Raymi (43 West 24th Street, NY, NY)
•Runa (110 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701)
•Surfish (351 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215)
•Warique (852 Amsterdam Avenue, NY, NY 10025)
There’s one New Jersey interloper in there, and I’m not sure where Chimu is in all this, but I’m pretty excited nonetheless.
From now until Sunday October 5th visit any or all of the participating restaurants, order their special competition ceviche and/or tiradito and if you like it, post a picture on instagram using the #CevicheVsTiradito hashtag along with the name of the restaurant. One online voter will be randomly selected to join the judges’ table and can invite three friends to the Final Tasting Event on October 7th where the best ceviche, the best tiradito and the best Peruvian fish dish overall will be selected. You can try your luck with us too — enter below for a chance to win two tickets:
Otherwise, you can just buy tickets to the final tasting event for $25 here, which includes ceviche and tiradito tastings from all participating restaurants + Cusqueña beers and Pisco cocktails.
Final Tasting Event:
Tuesday October 7th, from 6:30 – 9:30
Humphrey at the Eventi Hotel
851 Avenue of the Americas at 29th Street