Two-month old My Ceviche is a scallop shell’s throw from the ocean south of Fifth Street in Miami Beach with chef Sam Gorenstein at the helm.
It is really just a small takeout window, but you can eat at tables in the lobby of the youth hostel next door or walk a few blocks to dine alfresco on the beach. The menu is simple, with a selection of seafood tacos and burritos, salads and ceviche with Asian, Peruvian and Caribbean flavors.
Gorenstein was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and came to Miami with his family when he was 14. By the time he finished high school, he knew he wanted to cook professionally, and attended Johnson & Wales University. He worked at Les Halles, Michael’s Genuine and BLT Steak, among other South Florida restaurants.
His business partner, Roger Duarte, owns George Stone Crabs, and delivers claws in season. The two came up with the concept of a seafood place with prices under $20 using all local fish bought directly from fishermen.
Each morning, Gorenstein selects and cleans the fish — it could be triggerfish, grouper or big grunts, also known as Atlantic croaker.
He and his crew make ceviche with shrimp, octopus, fish and a mix of all three in citrus marinades with ají amarillo, soy and ginger, crema de rocoto (hot red chile cream) or coconut water. Add-ins include mint, mango, tomato or cilantro, and all are served with spiced popcorn, slices of corn on the cob and boiled sweet potato.
The fish for the burritos is grilled and folded into flour tortillas with coconut rice, pickled red onions, cheese, crema and salsa. Tacos can be had with corn or flour tortillas, as a single or trio, good with guacamole and mango slaw on the side. But it is the bracing ceviche that shines here.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.