The gastronomy of Peruvian cuisine can be appreciated to a whole other level just in the Upper East Side of Manhattan at a cozy, and charming place called Mission Ceviche. Mission Ceviche has achieved what a lot of places have not in recent years— water the mouths of every single person who tries their food. The energy can be felt throughout the entire place— it is full of happy minds, happy stomachs, and happy palates. They definitely know how to fulfill one's thirst for a good drink and definitely know the way to our tummies!
On our visit to this place, we were amazed at how vibrant and energetic the staff and the people were. It is a place to definitely release stress, and just enjoy good, well... everything. We obviously started with some drinks. A variety of cultures can be met inside, and they all serve one purpose— bringing Chef Jose Luis Chavez’s modern take on classic culinary dishes.
For the drinks, we started with lots of Pisco sours (of course!) and some other drinks! Brad had the Witch Hunter. As Mission Ceviche put it: “The Witch Hunter is not only a cocktail, it’s an experience.” They could not be more right. That drink is their take on the Old Fashioned with Palo Santo. They use a Japanese Kikori Whiskey (which is lighter, brighter, & more delicate than traditional Japanese whiskies, and an exclusive homemade reduction of Inca Kola (a soft drink created in Peru) to sweeten it. I had the Smoking Dove (aka Mezcal Paloma). They use an exquisite Mezcal called El Silencio, which is made in Oaxaca, Mexico, using the traditional process. Agave-grapefruit cordial, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and aranciata Rossa (made from oranges and blood oranges from Italy). It is a very peculiar drink. I absolutely loved it. The others had pretty much similar drinks— two Maracuya Sour which was an amazing concoction of Pisco, limón juice, sugarcane, egg white, and passion fruit and a Chupa Cabra (yum) which was Singani 63 (that’s brandy, by the way), D’Aristi Xtabentun honey liqueur (liqueur made in the Yucatan region of Mexico), goat cheese, micro cilantro, and lemon juice. It certainly was weird, yet very friggin’ good!
As for the food experience, it is something truly unique that has to be experienced in person, though we will try to provide with the best samples and examples as to what we felt when we were eating them. We started off with the Ceviche Mixto, which had mixed seafood, aji Amarillo, tiger’s milk (very critical part of Peruvian ceviche; it is a mix of citrus, chiles, aromatics, and fish stock flavors), corns, and sweet potato. We felt an explosion in our mouths. The flavor of it was tremendous and it was hardly contained. It was extremely free and exciting, and it most definitely made us go “wow.” We also had the Yuca Fries, which was the huancaina sauce, summer truffle, queso fresco, and parmigiano reggiano. When ordering this, we definitely did not expect what we were served. It is completely different (unsure whether it was because of the sauce or not), and it is soft and savory.
For the second round of appetizers, we had the Pulpo al Olivo and the Roll Anticuchero. The Pulpo is Spanish octopus, it had ahi panca marinate botija, olive aioli, and Peruvian purple potatoes. It wasn’t chewy (what the hell), it was delicious, and it definitely did not feel like we were eating something gummy. It was cooked to perfection. It was perfection. The roll anticuchero, on the other hand, was really international. We all felt different countries in a single dish, and it was flabbergasting (especially when the guy came with the torch in hand). The roll anticuchero had white asparagus, avocado, American wagyu, and anticuchera sauce.
To sum the entrees in one single word: ambrosial. And we are not exaggerating. Three of us had the Lomo Saltado, one had the Salmon Anticuchero , and one had the Arroz con Mariscos (the winner). Every single dish was exceptionally pleasing to taste, but the arroz con mariscos had a je ne sais quoui. It was especially delicious.
After eating, all we wanted was to nap… just kidding. We were full! And we needed a drink to finish it off. We closed it with an “El Capitan” cocktail. It had the South American brandy (Pisco), angostura bitters, sweet vermouth, and carpano Antica formula vermouth. It was strong, and different. It definitely helped with finishing the courses the right way.
Mission Ceviche is a place that’s worth visiting over and over again. We fell in love with it, and its fantastic ambiance and people, and will definitely visit every time we’re in New York. We absolutely love the chef's imagination and his creativity when it comes to spicing it up to another level. We rate the place 5/5 stars.