Walk into Cevichela and you are greeted by an infectious smile and a big Latin heart for fresh, healthy and incredible Peruvian cuisine that is Chef Darwin Santa Maria. You will feel welcome and special too. Chef Darwin is from Tarapoto, Peru (what he calls the jungle). He was the Chef/Founder of Selva in downtown Sarasota and Founder of Darwin's on 4th before opening his ceviche & craft beer shack in Siesta Key Village. He has cooked for the likes of AC/DC and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Chef Darwin is passionate and it is his mission to provide the best quality ingredients for all his wonderful menu offerings at a reasonable price.
I tasted the fish ceviche with Tiger’s milk. Tiger’s milk is a traditional Peruvian sauce which is a citrus based marinade of cilantro, garlic, onion, chile and lime that cures the seafood. It was divine. Paired with Darwin’s lime-spiced popcorn and a local craft beer, it's heaven. His selection of local craft beers is excellent.
Chef Darwin now offers poke bowls. Living in Hawaii for a few years I know and LOVE poke. Could Darwin rival what I had in Hawaii? I had my doubts. I was pleasantly surprised that Darwin did not disappoint. Chef Darwin's take on this Hawaiian classic is a perfect marriage of Peruvian and Polynesian cuisine and made this Big Island girl very very happy. Aloha! Poke is cubed raw fish served over rice in a sauce like soy sauce, seaweed, sesame oil or wasabi. Pictured below is the salmon poke over coconut rice, the lobster poke with mango and orange marinade and the seared beef poke.
Both the ceviche and poke were fantastic. Each had a unique marinade and sauce that was just right for the seafood and beef. Darwin’s marinades and sauces hit all the notes it should have yet won't make you feel heavy and full for the beach. The perfect balance of acid, bitter, sweet and spicy. I also tasted the fish tacos with pickled red onions, queso fresco and a perfect pop of cilantro and lime.
Visit Cevichela for a healthy, fresh, flavorful meal to dine in or to take to the beach. You will see why Chef Darwin is bringing the ceviche evolution to the fantastic Sarasota food scene. Cheers!
(941) 349. 0818
Copyright 2016 Kyra Barger. All Rights Reserved.
Photos by Kyra Barger of Faso Photography