Deep into summer, when a bouillabaisse or even a grilled fish seems like too much, that's the moment for ceviche. What can be simpler or more refreshing than raw fish or seafood "cooked" in lime juice and garnished with chile and cilantro? We've all enjoyed the basic, but some newish places are giving ceviche its due with a more expansive choice of ingredients, higher firepower and even mix-and-match menus. Before the summer is over, get your ceviche at any of these spots while we wait, impatiently, for Ceviche Project to open in Silver Lake.
Bar + Fish Modern Mariscos
Inside Picnik in Old Town Pasadena — look for the word "bar" in lights to the left of the courtyard — is this small ceviche bar from Corazon y Miel's Eduardo Ruiz. (He's also involved in the sausage and beer pub.) The menu is minuscule, just a handful of items, and changes every few days, depending on seafood sources. Shrimp are piled high on a crisp tostada, the whole crowned with billowy coconut cream perfumed with kaffir lime. Even better, the terrific aguachile of sea bass or other fish doused just that moment in lime juice with plenty of chiles, shaved radishes and pistachios.
168 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena (626) 793-8008. Open Thursdays through Saturdays. Ceviche items, $8 to $12.
At Picca Peru, Ricardo Zarate features just two or three ceviches. But at Paiche, his Peruvian izakaya in Marina del Rey, he gets deep into the dish. First is ceviche criollo made with sea bass in leche de tigre (lime with garlic, ginger and fiery chiles). And then comes a selection of sashimi-style ceviches served in a bowl with the intense sauce at the bottom and the seafood of your choice on top. That could be tuna, squid, shrimp, uni, yellowtail, blue prawn, jumbo scallop, halibut, crab, sea bass, salmon, albacore, octopus or kampachi. Hard to choose, but all great with a Pisco sour or a shot of mezcal.
13488 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey, (310) 893-6100, paichela.com. Ceviche, $14 to $25.
At Petty Cash, Walter Manzke serves the Pacific Coast ceviche called aguachile. Anybody who's surfed in Baja knows the chilled raw seafood cocktail with homemade clamato. At this rambunctious spot you can get a bespoke aguachile. Choose three kinds of raw seafood from a long list that includes oysters, scallops, gulf white prawns, octopus, hamachi and even live Santa Barbara prawns. Oh, and you can add uni to any ceviche for $10 more. Better bring a calculator, though. The ceviche bar can get pricey. Still hungry? Have a Baja fish taco of mahi-mahi in Negra Modelo beer batter.
7360 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 933-5300, www.pettycashtaqueria.com. Ceviche, $12 to $19.