Crave Ceviche Bar
This restaurant is closed!
After milling about second avenue in the forties and low fifties one Saturday night, I realized the choices for a late dinner in this area are slim, especially after 10pm. Sure, you can opt for a tavern, or the blaring music of a nearby club. But if girls (and guys) dancing on tables are not your cup-of -tea, you may be fresh out of luck. That is until we the found ourselves in front of Crave Ceviche Bar.
The first thing you notice is the warm glow of candles as the make your way inside. The second is the painstaking detail in which Crave was created. There’s a beautiful charcoal gray marble bar surrounded by stark white chairs and lots of wainscoting. Rugged 4 x 4’s provide the shelving for bottles of wine. Vino is definitely the drink of choice at Crave. There are a large number of reds, whites and champagnes available by the bottle, or the glass. Prices are moderate, ranging from $8 for a glass of Merlot to $13 for a Torrontes from Argentina. Spiced red sangria, spiked with cardamom and port, is also offered ($32 a pitcher). Beer is a weak spot here. We counted just six varieties, included Tecate in the can for four bucks. For an extra buck, you can have it served up “mordida” style with lime juice, salt and tobasco.
But you’ll forget all about your choice of drinks with your first bite of chef Todd Mitgang’s delightful fare. Mitgang (formerly of Kittichai) draws his inspiration from Latin and South America, as well as Asia. And it’s a world away from what you’d expect ceviche to be. Yes, there is a traditional shrimp ceviche on the menu smothered in fresh lime and cilantro, and served with charred corn and hearts of palm. But other dishes we tried are nothing what you might expect from a ceviche. Take the Colossal Lump Crab. This dish arrived with huge chunks of lump crabmeat served above a bed of stirfried okra and sticky rice. The flavors of Thai basil and grapefruit run strong in this dish. You can eat a little ($11) or more ($15). We recommend more. And we also recommend lots of sharing, so you can sample the Fluke Carpaccio ($13). I’ve never actually tasted raw fluke, but the dish is quite respectable. Thin layers of fluke arrive on a bed of avocado with a soy/ginger dressing. You’ll also find a Yellow Fin Tuna Blt punched up with pancetta, heirloom tomato, and basil aoli ($15). For non-fish lovers, there are house special filet mignon sliders ($6.50 each). The meat is ceviched in worchesterchire sauce and lemon juice and topped with manchego cheese and a dollop of homemade sour cream with a side of chive potato chips. After a few drinks at the bar you’ll be craving several.
Crave is definitely out of the ordinary; a breath of fresh air in a city that could use some fresh air. But if you’re looking to catch a spot at the bar, you might want to hit Crave after the dinner rush, or find yourself manning the sidewalk until one finally opens up!
Review By: Sam Sayegh