- 1538 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY, 40205
- (502) 473-8560
- Overall User Rating:
- (3 ratings)
- Sunday-Monday 5:00-9:00 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 5:00-10:00 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5:00-11:00 p.m. (Bar and lounge stay open later.)
- Official Web Site:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic study in visual contrast than the chicken liver anticuchos and the albacore tiradito that Anthony Lamas has recently been serving in the newly renovated Seviche: A Latin Restaurant.
In Peru, anticuchos are the quintessential street food, usually made from organ meats, marinated, grilled and skewered. At Seviche, the skewers penetrate crunchy chunks of meat so dark it might have been mined from rich soil; a succulent tangle of caramelized onions rides atop each liver, and a rich poblano pepper sauce reinforces the dish’s earthy looks, while at the same time lightening its deep flavor.
The albacore tiradito, another dish with Peruvian roots, is as bright as a Caribbean festival. Finely sculpted chunks of gently seared fish are perched atop wedges of melon, garnished with fresh herbs, and finished with a translucent sauce that packs citrus and heat ($15).
The two dishes — one earthy and visceral, the other sunny and jubilant — seem to come from opposite extremes of the human appetite. But their shared Peruvian origins exemplify Seviche’s imaginative mastery of the full range of Nuevo Latino cuisine. Both dishes reveal that Lamas and company are brilliant manipulators not only of flavor but of texture: strands of caramelized onion melting into crusty liver; the crunch of melon that emphasizes the epiphany of exquisitely rich fish. Such revelations are hidden everywhere on the menu.
Seviche has long been one of Louisville’s signature restaurants, occupying a prominent place at the center of Bardstown Road’s restaurant row.
Chef/owner Lamas ranks among the city’s finest, and has earned abundant national recognition for his focus on using sustainable seafood and for the quality of his work (including a recent victory on the Food Channel’s “Extreme Chef”).
General manager Madeline Doolittle leads a knowledgeable and well-trained staff.
And most diners were probably quite content with the physical front of the house as it was before: quirky corners, tight angles and a serviceable patio gave the place an intimate Bohemian feel that seemed perfectly attuned to the neighborhood.
But when ear X-tacy moved to the Douglass Loop, Seviche closed for a month this summer and took over a big portion of the vacated space. The renovation has yielded outstanding results, not only in dining-room amenities, but in an expanded kitchen that Lamas is using to expand his menu in fascinating new directions.
From a diner’s perspective the new space is — for the first time — as dramatic and visually arresting as Lamas’ food. A dining room serves as frame for a chef’s art, and the old Seviche, for all its charm, wasn’t an adequate showplace.
Nor was it flexible enough to serve folks who might want to drop in just for a cocktail (maybe one of bar manager Chris DeRome’s inventions) and a snack of guacamole, made tableside ($11), or to sample the signature seviches ($15-$17 each, or $25 for a tasting of three and $41 for a tasting of five).
Perhaps more important is the new kitchen space — space that enables Lamas to exercise his playful imagination in new and intriguing ways. He uses the low temperature sous vide technique to create a juice-rich version of pollo asado, served with delicate chanterelle mushrooms, a comfortable bed of couscous, and perfect little spears of asparagus ($25). Borrowing from molecular gastronomy, he’s using liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze caramel corn — perhaps the only ingredient that could improve the amazing macadamia brown butter ice cream, a butter-oozing concoction that tastes like grown-up butter pecan. He’s in the process of bringing in toys like an anti-griddle, which will flash-freeze, say, lozenges of chocolate.
Never fear, though. The old-school dishes are as fine as ever: The green-chile Caesar salad generates a crisp, piquant heat ($9); and a big chunk of ivory-white lump crabmeat rests in a spicy red bath of heirloom tomato gazpacho.