My wife Hope said she would cook one recent summer night, which meant she had already picked a restaurant for us. She had been craving Seviche for a few weeks, so we journeyed to the middle Highlands for fine dining. Seviche describes itself as a fusion of Latin traditions and classic Southern ingredients.
Note for suburbians — For many outside of the area, the complexity of parking on or near Bardstown Road can be a deal breaker for trying new places. Seviche offers valet parking for a small fee so folks can pull right up to the door.
Round 1: Hope began the imbibing with sparkling Catalonian cava ($10), while I enjoyed a couple fingers of Hendrick’s gin with club soda, a splash of tonic and a couple limes ($9). We told our drinks not to feel lonely; they would have friends soon.
Starters: Hope had been craving one of her favorite guac appetizers in town, which is made to taste at the table ($15). She likes the flavorful spices that don’t add too much heat (that phrase was actually used in her wedding vows), so we requested all of the fresh lime, pico de gallo and cilantro they had on the tray, but also to leave the ramekin of pickled jalapeno on the table so I could decide exactly how much of a glow I wanted to exude the rest of the repast. Another highlight of the starter is that the chips weren’t too salty. Sometimes, at end of a plate of sodium-ridden nachos, I feel like I need compression socks to keep my kankles in my shoes.
We also ordered one of the appetizer specials — the blistered shishito peppers ($9). A large order came out with pickled onions on top and a swirl of gluten-free soy, sesame, ginger sauce and accented with small, edible flowers. The peppers were cooked (or blistered) perfectly with the outer skin just starting to pull away from the sweet peppers.
Round 2 (the tale of the bonus wine): As we pondered our next glass of spirits, Hope noticed a friend being seated at an adjoining table. As pleasantries were exchanged, we found that they actually own a vineyard in Argentina (as one does), and the wine was available at Seviche. They offered to send a bottle of Ambrosia Malbec 2014 to the table. Since turning down free wine is the code Hope and I have set up to alert others we have been kidnapped, we graciously accepted ($0). Kindness note: When you get a free drink, bottle, starter, etc. at your table, it is good to add the value of the item to your bill total when figuring out the tip for your hard-working servers.
Entrées: Meat eaters will do just fine at Seviche; it offers ceviches of tuna, lobster, crab and shrimp as well as steak and non-ceviche seafood entrées. Carcasses for everyone.
Hope ordered the crab ceviche ($19): a good portion of lump crab served in half an avocado with a tangy sauce and micro greens. She used the residual lime from the guacamole dish to flavor it to taste and then would not speak to me until the bowl was completely empty (or I think that was the reason).
I got a slightly off-the-menu, gluten-free vegetarian taco ($27). Two tacos with double corn tortillas and an array of flavorful and visually dazzling vegetables including shredded purple cabbage, a medley of colorful peppers, ruby red tomatoes, a small dollop of wasabi purée and a little cilantro on top with a side of yellow rice and a wedge of lime to accent the flavors.
The peppers and other vegetables had a smoky, grilled goodness and the lime juice made the cabbage pop; once I had eaten the tacos mostly down to the shell, the rice and the remaining soy, sesame, ginger sauce came in to play for a hobbit’s second meal. There were some big flavors in the tacos, so the gratis Malbec paired wonderfully and didn’t get lost as would some of the lighter wines we might typically drink in the summer. •