Latin America on a Bay View Corner
Great ceviche (and much more) at C-viche
Just south of the Kinnickinnic and Becher intersection lies a taste of Latin America. C-viche rests comfortably on the north end of the Bay View neighborhood, and seeks to bring authentic Peruvian, Argentinean, Mexican and Ecuadorian food to the burgeoning neighborhood. The space itself is well managed, with several tables and a good-sized bar alongside some compelling art along the walls.
Our party met on an April day where flurries were abounding, and we had cocktails on the brain. The pisco sour ($10) is a solid acidic and not-too-boozy cocktail attractively served with a cocktail-art leaf made from bitters in its authentic egg-white foam, while the caipirinha ($9) is fantastic—a mixture of cachaça (a Brazilian spirit similar to rum), the juice from four limes and a bit of sugar makes for a dangerously delectable cocktail. Both drinks proved a nice way to pretend we weren’t still in the later throes of winter.
For an appetizer, we had the esquite ($8), which was more than enough for two. A combination of roasted corn, lime, spices and goat cheese, it has the flavor of the best buttered popcorn imaginable—salty and savory with just a hint of spice in the long finish. It’s served with an amount of chips that initially seems insufficient but quickly reveals itself as the perfect amount, considering the way in which esquite tends itself towards heaping helpings.
Vegetarians will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of C-viche’s grilled veggie panini ($11), which features grilled zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and greens with goat cheese and a garlic aioli on a fresh bolillo bun—it’s a great fresh veggie sandwich. There are several appetizers to choose from, but the most outstanding are the yucca fritas, which remind me of a more complex version of steak fries. Together, they’re served with a delicious ricotta sauce made from the ricotta chile, which they also use in their Hollandaise sauce at brunch.
I had to try the dish for which they are named—minus an “e”—and thoroughly enjoyed it. The classic ceviche ($14) is beautifully plated. Served with corn two ways—a pile of choclo, or hard-boiled kernels off a huge Peruvian corn stalk, and a handful of cancha, fried kernels reminiscent of corn nuts—atop a boiled-then-cooled sweet potato which is itself atop a leaf of romaine lettuce. The ceviche features an attractively assembled mound of flounder marinated in a spicy and brightly acidic sauce called leche de tigre made from ahí amarillo, herbs, lime juice, garlic and ginger. The dish also comes with a generous topping of pickled onions and a shaving of habañero. The flavors commingle wonderfully into a truly excellent serving that is great for one but also perfect for sharing. C-viche also offers a ceviche mixto, which is a mixture of seafood (think fish, shrimp, mussels and squid) and three other kinds, including a vegetarian version.
C-viche provides a great experience, either for the colder winter months where we can pretend, at least through our culinary choices, that we’re somewhere warmer, or for the warmer times as well, where we can languidly sip on a pisco sour and enjoy the rays.
2165 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Handicapped access: Yes