Food Fight

Ceviche Throwdown: Cuchara and Latin Bites Duke It Out

Mexican ceviche and Peruvian cebiche are two very different beasts, as Cuchara owner Ana Beaven and Latin Bites owner Rita Castre frequently find themselves explaining to customers.

"A lot of customers ask why doesn't our ceviche have tortillas, and we have to explain that we don't have tortillas in Peru," Castre explains. "And Ana has the same questions when she has customers in from South America. They want to know where are the sweet potatoes?"

It's hard to say which type of ceviche is superior--Mexican or Peruvian--so Cuchara and Latin Bites are putting their goods to the test. On July 22 and 23 (that's Tuesday and Wednesday), both restaurants are inviting guests to come decide for themselves before a panel of judges makes a final ruling on Sunday, July 27.

On Tuesday, the crew from Cuchara will be moving into the Latin Bites kitchen, where they will be preparing four different types of Mexican ceviche to go up against four types of Peruvian cebiche. On Wednesday, the showdown will be repeated at Cuchara, with the chefs from Latin Bites headed to Montrose to show off their stuff.

The flights of ceviche will cost $20 for four samples (two from Cuchara and two from Latin Bites) or $40 for eight samples (four from each restaurant) plus one Pisco or tequila cocktail. Cocktails can also be purchased separately at either restaurant during the duels.

Diners are encouraged to make reservations, but walk-ins will also be welcome.

The big finale happens on Sunday evening, when wine bar Camerata gets involved.

Castre says that when people started to get wind of the competition, Camerata begged to be a part of it. So on Sunday evening, chefs from Cuchara and Latin Bites are convening at Camerata to serve ceviche to diners and four chefs (Edel Goncalves of Fielding's Wood Grill, Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata, Mark Cox of Mark's American Cuisine and Olivier Ciesielski of L'Olivier), who will judge the offerings and ultimately determine a winner. Sommelier David Keck will create wine pairings to accompany the ceviches.

"The duel is fun," Castre says, "but we also want to educate our customers and show the differences of this amazing dish."

To recap:

First Ceviche Duel Cuchara visits Latin Bites kitchen Tuesday, July 22 from 5 to 10 p.m. 5709 Woodway 713-229-8369 Second Ceviche Duel Latin Bites visits Cuchara kitchen Wednesday, July 23 from 5 to 10 p.m. 214 Fairview, Suite A 713-942-0000

Final Judgment Latin Bites and Cuchara visit Camerata Sunday, July 27 from 5 to 10 p.m. 1830 Westheimer 713-522-8466

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Kaitlin Steinberg