It’s a cold wintery world out there. But, sometimes all you need is a good meal to warm you up – or, in the case of C-viche – to remind you of a warmer climate.
C-viche opened at 2165 S. Kinickinnic Ave. in late January, bringing a new Ibero-American concept to both Bay View and Milwaukee on the whole. We’ve been eager to take a peek at what they’re doing. And that’s what we did this past week.
The former Lovely salon has been utterly transformed into a warm cozy space, complete with geoglyphic wall art reminiscent of the Nasca lines in Peru.
A long bar lines the north side of the restaurant, serving up regional cocktails, including their signature pisco sour (made with the classic Peruvian brandy), the lima (with pisco and a Rocoto ice sphere) as well as a nice variety of cocktails which take inspiration from Mexico and South America, including a Mescal Mule and Paloma. Respectable wine and beer lists (including some interesting Brazilian and augment the cocktail choices.
On our initial visit for dinner, the restaurant still had a limited menu – though it has since expanded its offerings, serving up a nice selection of items for both lunch and dinner. Nonetheless, we sampled a number of dishes, including two varieties of ceviche.
The classic Peruvian ceviche is made with marinated white fish, red onion and choclo, Peruvian corn, and garnished with sweet potato (pictured above). It was heavy on the onion, but the flavors were fresh and bright. Meanwhile, the Ceviche Ecuatoriano ($14) was more complex and deeply flavored, featuring shrimp with a tangy tomato puree with citrus and herbs.
Appetizers like Peruvian Anticuchos ($9) shone brightly, featuring flavorful skewered beef heart with potatoes and corn, drizzled with huacatay sauce.
The plantain chips served with Peruvian guacamole were deliciously crisp and fresh, and would make a great bar snack alongside a pisco sour.
Meanwhile, Esquite ($8) – Mexican-style street corn – was also flavorful (particularly with corn being out of season), and was served with a generous squeeze of lime, mayo, spices and crumbled queso de cabra.
For entrees, we sampled the Tlacoyos ($11), a shareable vegetarian entree featuring masa cakes filled with seasoned garbanzo beans and topped with wilted greens and roasted red pepper and tomato sauce.
We also tried the Spanish Escabeche de Pescado ($19) featuring grilled salmon smothered with aji panca, onions and red peppers.
On the sweeter side, we tried the Alfajores ($8), shortbread sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, which were a delicious not-too-sweet option that’s great paired with coffee. But, the Torta de Tres Leches ($8) was the clear winner, sporting a light sponge cake soaked in la lechera with a touch of … you guessed it … pisco.
The restaurant still had a few kinks to work out on our first visit; however, we’re excited to see how things evolves as they move forward. Next on our list, we’ll be heading back for lunch to try the Tostadas de Tinga ($12), with shredded chipotle chicken served up on crunchy tostadas or maybe the the chicken mole panini with housemade poblano mole and panela cheese ($10).
Winter hours for C-viche are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.