100 Favorite Dishes

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche

Comments (0)


Tue, May 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM

click to enlarge Bloody Clam Ceviche - G. SNYDER
  • G. Snyder
  • Bloody Clam Ceviche
Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.

96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche.

During the most oppressive days of summer, when the beaches are packed elbow to elbow and waves of heat radiate up from the sidewalks, few things are more refreshing than a bowl of chilled, lime-tinted ceviche. La Cevicheria -- a storefront along Pico in Mid-City, painted a pale-blue and decorated with nautical knick-knacks -- is nowhere near the ocean, but the food it serves is the purest form of beach cuisine.

Owners Julio and Carolina Orellana have dedicated their menu to a pan-Latin variety of stunningly fresh seafood dishes: a tomato-laced campechana; a silky Caribbean seafood stew stocked with squid and mussels; and a neon-green version of the spicy Nayarit shrimp dish aguachile, among other things.

What reigns supreme, however, is the Orellanas' signature Guatemalan-style concha negra ceviche, concocted from a mix of chopped bloody clams, plump shrimp, ripe avocado, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, mint, tomatoes, onions and a wedge of sweet orange. When the clams are pulled from their shells and diced into bits, they ooze an iron-rich substance as dark and briney as squid ink, which gives the goblet its distinctive pitch-black color. It's probably unlike any ceviche you've had before, zesty and pungent from the Worcestershire, cool and revitalizing from the mint, but busting with an unmistakable seawater slap radiating outward like a weathered lighthouse.

You scoop up the cocktail onto crisp tostadas or Saltines, the latter being strangely more addictive than the former. At a certain point it feels a bit like one of those outdated appetizers on the menu at Musso & Frank, a feeling further deepened during the moment when you reach for the squeeze bottle of "yellow Sriracha," a blend of mustard and blistering hot habaneros that the kitchen makes itself. You're several miles from the beach, and a couple thousand more from the nearest Guatemalan ceviche shack, but a place like La Cevicheria has a funny way of making those distances disappear with a few bites.

Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.

100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles

99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1

98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil

97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.

Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Reach the author at gsnyder@laweekly.com or follow him on Twitter at @searchanddevour.

Related Location

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Trans Fats Are Still Hidden in Many Processed Foods, Says the CDC

    Despite legal bans and doctors’ warnings about trans fat, nearly one in 10 processed food products sold in the United States still contains it, according to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet most foods that contain trans fat don't list it on the label,...
  • The 12 Bottle Bar on Ice: An Excerpt + Recipe

    Squid Ink contributor Lesley Jacobs Solmonson and her husband David Solmonson wrote The 12 Bottle Bar "with the hope of offering an inexpensive and accessible approach to classic cocktails," Lesley Jacobs Solmonson says. The book is not meant to be a complete guide to spirits or cocktails. "Instead, we like to call...
  • L.A.'s Best Indian Food Has No Meat

    The first time you enter Surati Farsan Mart is a potentially overwhelming experience. The place resembles a Jewish deli more than a restaurant, and during peak hours, the line can stretch out the door. The clientele are loud and almost entirely Indian. There are more women dressed in saris than...