Tuesday, June 16, 2009

GlobalPittsburghEats - Pittsburgh's Seviche Offers Tantalizing Mix of Style and Taste

A little secret - if you go to Seviche, sort of a Latino sushi bar nestled in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, they'll roll out the red carpet if you tell them it's your first visit. Even if it's not. They won't care. Any excuse for more fun.

Located at 930 Penn Ave., Seviche offers a taste of Cuba and Miami in a Pittsburgh-friendly sort of way. Plenty of beautiful people, sure, but also several regular folks like us. One night we were there, the manager's parents were there from the 'burbs, hugging and high-fiving with customers and staff. Only in Pittsburgh.

Seviche (the food) is an ancient preparation of raw seafood in a citrus marination (traditionally lime juice) that has the effect of essentially cooking the meat with a refreshing and invigorating result. There are usually fresh veggies and spicy peppers involved, too, so it's a delicious combination.

Seviche (the restaurant) boasts "an eclectic blend of traditional Latin American recipes and modern ingredients infused with international influences."

Any of the knowledgable staff will tell you that the kitchen’s main attraction is the seviche bar, which features 15 fresh sushi-quality seafood selections that may be ordered in seven different preparations.

Diners can choose from raw Ahi Tuna, Scottish Salmon, Hamachi (Yellowtail Snapper), Bahamian Conch, Oyster or Fish of the Day, and semi-cooked Lobster, Shrimp, Crab, Octopus, Scallop, Mussels and Calamari.

Seviche also offers a wide selection of Tapas, the small-plate servings heavy on seafood also traditional in Latino cultures, and Bocadillos, which are a kind of rustic sandwiches of pork or beef. The menu can be confusing, given all the possible combinations, but our server was happy to make good recommendations.

The bartender whipped up a wicked Mojito (repeat after me, "It's my first time here,") and the wine list looked excellent.

Executive Chef/Owner Yves Carreau came to Pittsburgh in 1984 from his native France (via Los Angeles) to manage the kitchen at the Churchill Valley Country Club. Four years later, he opened his own venture, Asiago, a French/Italian restaurant, located in One Oxford Centre, downtown Pittsburgh.

As the Seviche website boasts, "Carreau now brings his worldly sophistication to Pittsburgh with both Seviche and the Sonoma Grille, a melting pot of international cuisine, wrapped with a California twist."

An evening at Seviche, which offers valet parking at a reasonable price, is like taking a trip to South Beach or Havana minus the hassle and expense. A great asset to Pittsburgh.

930 Penn Ave.
Cultural District

Hours: Dinner Mondays-Saturdays 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Prices: All plates, $7-$12; desserts, $8; wines, $6-$16.

- Thomas Buell, Jr.
GlobalPittsburghEats offers occasional candid reviews of international restaurants in the Pittsburgh region.

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