Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Divino Ceviche

I discovered a true Peruvian gem in the Doral area a couple of months ago during a business lunch and I decided to return for dinner to see if the adventure was just as incredible the second time around. It was. The place is Divino Ceviche, located at 2629 N.W. 79th Avenue. You might miss the cozy restaurant, situated in a neighborhood shopping center, but you won't forget it once you try their delicious cuisine. 

Part of a large mural inside the restaurant

Chef Christian Encalada
Divino Ceviche is owned by two brothers, Christian and Frank Encalada, who shared a vision and worked hard to achieve it. Christian is the Executive Chef, while his brother Frank is the manager. The restaurant has a pleasant feel to it and offers a fusion of Peruvian gastronomy; combining the traditional ingredients and signature techniques with a modern touch. I noticed a steady flow of regulars while I was there, and the ambiance was friendly and inviting. On the weekends, you can enjoy live music and a fun, interactive setting.

Cristal Beer
No one can eat just one
Dinner started for me with a refreshing Peruvian beer: Cristal. It is one of the most beloved brands in Peru, boasting  a smooth, genuine taste. Our waitress brought out a complimentary basket of their crunchy, sweet potato chips, with a small tray of Huacatay (a spicy green herb sauce), Peruvian corn, and Aji Amarillo (Peruvian yellow pepper), to dip them in. To say the least, it was addicting. Definitely a fun way to peruse the menu. I had a whole bunch of dishes I wanted to either try for the first time, or repeat from my last visit. I started off with the Ceviche Divino; their Chef's specialty and an original take on the Peruvian staple. Picture your traditional ceviche and now add shrimp, avocado and mango, marinated lightly in lime juice, Peruvian limo chili, fresh cilantro and onion, all garnished with sweet potato and choclo (Peruvian giant corn). Wow, it was mind boggling!

Ceviche Divino

Causa Camaron
Mini Tacu Tacus
The next appetizer we had was my personal favorite: Causa Camaron. A simple dish, I always have to order a causa whenever I go to a Peruvian restaurant. I find it irresistible. Made with mashed potatoes, the secret of this dish is found in the popular yellow peppers. Divino Ceviche's version is spectacular! The cold mashed potatoes were creamy and smooth, seasoned with Peruvian yellow pepper, oil and lime, and filled with prawns, mayonnaise and a mouth-watering special sauce created by the chef. I am craving it right now. At this point I wanted to try a hot appetizer I had seen on the menu on my last visit but hadn't sampled: the Mini Tacu Tacus Con Lomito Fino (Beef Tenderloin) and Huevos de Codornis (Quail Eggs). These sounded incredibly interesting and they tasted even better than they sounded. The Tacu Tacus were made with cooked rice and beans mixed together and seasoned with garlic and Peruvian yellow pepper, then fried and topped with a quail egg, and creole sauce. The combination of the flavorful meat with the egg and salsa made each bite a pure delight. Definitely a must-have.

Close up of paradise

Jalea Mixta
Suspiro Lucuma
I still had room to try an entree and I went with another old favorite: the Jalea Mixta. This is a volcano of crispy, tasty fish, squid, shrimp and mussels; served with yucca, an enticing creole salsa, and a side of housemade tartar sauce. I loved it. The seafood was very tender and fresh while the breading was nice and crispy. We didn't leave a single piece behind. Finally came time for dessert and I was going all the way. I usually have a Suspiro Limeno but tonight, I wanted to change things up so I ordered a Suspiro de Lucuma. Suspiro translates to sigh in English and that is exactly what I did as I ate my sweet finale. Lucuma is a delicately flavored, tropical fruit native to Peru. If I had to describe the taste of the dessert, I'd say it's a bit like caramel custard mixed with a hint of pumpkin. And to bring it all together? A little bit of Pisco. Totally insane. It had a creamy consistency that melted in my mouth and tickled my taste buds. I now have two Peruvian desserts I absolutely adore!

I was so happy to find this treasure in Doral and I intend to visit often. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it. You will walk out with a smile on your face and plans to return. For more information, you can call Divino Ceviche at 305-406-2345 or visit them online at http://www.divinoceviche.com/.

Divino Ceviche Peruvian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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