Restaurant: Seviche – A Latin Restaurant, Louisville, Kentucky
After a lot of talking about doing it…and then never…never…ever getting around to actually doing it…my roommate and I, along with our co-worker, Justin, have been making a point of visiting various local restaurants in the ever-expanding foodie city of Louisville, Kentucky. And why shouldn’t we? It’s in our own backyard. We live here…and yet we fell into always going to the same spots over and over again. And yet, Louisville is really finding its voice in the culinary world. Why overlook the spoils that we are readily provided?
Yesterday, we upgraded a little as far as restaurant choice. We opted to go to Seviche – A Latin Restaurant, located on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky. In all the years I’ve lived here, I have often walked by this restaurant, gazing in as I’ve passed…seeing the white table cloths and wondering…what the food was like.
Tack onto that the fact that the restaurant’s kitchen has three-time James Beard semifinalist, Anthony Lamas, at the wheel. Anthony Lamas has been featured at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, and Bobby Flay’s Breeders’ Cup “A Taste of the World” event. He proudly serves only sustainable seafood at Seviche. He opened Seviche in 2005 and since then, the restaurant and Lamas has garnered major praise and attention. Esquire magazine said that “Seviche has emerged as one of America’s best and most innovative Nuevo Latino restaurants with plenty of the chef’s personality in every dish.” It later states that if you have time for one meal in Louisville…you should make it Seviche. In 2011, Lamas won the title of Extreme Chef on the hit Food Network show by creating a wedding menu with $99 worth of ingredients from a 99 cent store.
As for the restaurant itself, it was named “one of the ten great places for Latin flavor and flair” by USA Today in 2009. Louisville, Kentucky is very lucky to have this little gem. Honestly…I was impressed, hands down, even before I reached the restaurant.
You see, with my special dietary needs, I tend to look at menus ahead of time and then get in contact with the restaurant itself in order to better prepare for my visit. It’s always good to know if I’ll be dining on a protein bar while my friends eat or if I, too, can indulge in the food that is being served. That being said, I sent an e-mail to the General Manager, Hap Cohan, who replied promptly to my inquiry about gluten-free and vegetarian options. After all, I was heading to a restaurant known for…seafood…so I wasn’t sure what would be good for me to eat. He replied that they do not have any gluten-free vegetarian options on the menu, per se, but the chef would be more than happy to make something for me. They often do a local vegetable plate with whatever fresh produce is in house…or they could build an entree with the items that are on their regular menu. He also recommended the gazpacho that was served during the summer. He asked for my name and party I am dining in so he could notate my requirements on the reservation so the chef and manager on duty would be aware when we arrived.
And when I arrived, I didn’t even have to specifically ask for the gluten-free menu. The hostess was already grabbing for it for me. I felt a lot of relief. We were seated and given a chance to look over the options for dinner. I was really stoked about being all dressed up for dinner at local restaurant that has received so much praise and high accolades for its food and its chef. I already had an idea of what I’d be eating…but then an option caught my eye on the gluten-free menu. So, I think I had my mind made up right away. As for drinks, while they had an amazing list of alcoholic beverages to choose from, with a 20 mile run awaiting me the following morning, I stuck with water, which comes with a cucumber in the glass. Refreshing. And different. Loved that. When Justin arrived (fashionably late), we all settled in to decide on what we’d like to eat that evening.
Time to place our orders. Justin went with the Mahi Mahi Tacos ($19.00), which included pico de gallo, cabbage, and a cuban lime aioli. Cathy went off the specials menu…ordering first the Sopa de Dia, which that evening was a Chipotle Cheddar Potato Bisque ($7.00). With that, she went out of her comfort zone, ordering the Albacore Tiradito Seviche ($15.00). She always said she hated tuna…so this surprised me. Turned out she forgot Albacore was tuna.
As for me, I ordered the Roasted Beet Salad ($13.00), which included lemon arugula mojo, capriole goat cheese, and mustard.
With our orders in, we were able to sit and chat, drink our water (or in Justin’s case…his mojito)…and just talk about whatever we wanted…that didn’t involve work. As we all work together…that seems to be the way of it. And it’s nice that way.
When food arrived, I was just blown away by the sheer beauty of the plates. First of all, every plate on our table was a different size and shape. We joked with the waiter who brought out the food about it being culinary Tetris. But, we managed to get it all on the table and soon we were diving in. Cathy first tried the soup, immediately falling in love. She said it was right at her heat threshold…the perfect amount of spice and heat without it killing her palate. This is saying something because, as stated before, she is a heat and spice wimp! As for her Albacore Tiradito Seviche…she was in love. It was paired with watermelon, yuzu, and chili flakes with it. And yeah…she was enamored. With TUNA!! I applaud her foodieness. I told her not to judge tuna by the stuff in the can. She agreed!
We asked Justin how his Mahi Mahi Tacos were, and he was already done with one of the two he was served. Obviously…he was impressed. This was good, because he didn’t look at the menu before coming to the restaurant and had a bit of sticker shock at the prices. It was good that the food did live up to the cost. Besides…sustainable seafood. That’s important.
But…with the gluten-free vegetarian dining at a Latin Restaurant known for seafood dishes…well…I was the tricky one. First of all, the Roasted Beet Salad looked stunning. So bright and vibrant. Beets are a great food for runners. So, that was part of the reason I chose it with my long run the following day. It’s supposedly like legal doping. Who knows. I’ve grown very fond of roasted beets, so this salad won me over. Pairing it with the goat cheese and the mojo and mustard was fantastic. Fresh tomatoes were scattered about the beets as well. Super delicious. I savored each bite. And this was not a giant salad by any means. But every bite of it was amazing. I definitely cleaned the plate.
When our waitress returned…we had clean plates and smiles on our faces. She inquired if we were interested in desserts. Cathy said…”We are always interested in desserts!” She retrieved the dessert menu and we made the initial inquiry as to what, if anything, was gluten-free. She didn’t think anything was, but went to the kitchen to check. She returned a short moment later, saying that the renowned The “Avocado” dessert was gluten-free, as was the Bourbon Butterscotch Pudding and the Housemade Ice Cream. Since they were known for The “Avocado,” Cathy and I decided we had to get that. So we decided we would split it. Justin got one all to himself.
The “Avocado” ($7.00) is avocado ice cream, formed into the shape of half an avocado and sitting in a chocolate shell. The pit is a bourbon chocolate truffle. It is accompanied by dulce de leche and a coffee pine nut soil. It definitely sounded intriguing. And…hello…avocado ice cream. SOLD!
This dessert was gorgeous. Literally…gorgeous. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was plated beautifully and totally looked like an avocado. I love whimsical dishes and this definitely was a fun play on a favorite food. All in delicious dessert form. It looked gorgeous, but how did it taste? SUPER! Cathy took the “pit”…the bourbon truffle…and ended up saving it for last because, while she is not a fan of bourbon…she loved the flavor of that particular morsel. The avocado ice cream was fantastic. Seriously. It was mild, but had light citrus (perhaps lime) notes to each bite. The chocolate shell was crumbly and yummy. And that dulce de leche…the best pairing with the avocado ice cream and chocolate. As for that coffee and pine nut “soil”…when you put everything together…it was magic in your mouth. I was beyond impressed. I was in dessert heaven to be honest. One of the best desserts I have ever been served. Seriously. EVER!
I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment about visiting Seviche if you had just one restaurant to go to in Louisville, Kentucky. Be prepared for a high quality meal…and with that…higher prices than someone might be accustomed to paying. But Seviche, the servers, and the chef all took great care of me and worked with me and my food allergies. For that, I am forever grateful. And the food…it blew me away. I’ve been spoiled. I loved every bite of everything I ate there. I’ve heard good things about their guacamole (also on the gluten-free menu), so next time I venture to that restaurant…I think an appetizer might be in order.
For what it’s worth…Seviche is worth its weight in gold because it really does put out fantastic food, great service, and it’s all right here in my own city. I am one lucky gluten-free girl.