By Stephen R. Lang
Have you ever had one of those “by chance/stop-in” restaurant experiences that changes your life or viewpoint? Well, for me that would definitely have to be the first time I experienced South Beach’s newest hotspot—Cvi-Che 105.
Cvi-Che 105 is located in the old Kim’s Chinese Restaurant on the traffic side of Lincoln Road and West Avenue on South Beach (near Hôtel Gaythering). The corner, long-desolate, needed something simple, clean, crisp, and fun to command it as well as something to anchor such an iconic rounded building. The owner, Chef Juan Chipoco, who also has a second location in downtown Miami, realized the potential for that location and created a ceviche oasis that was desperately needed in that area.
I was introduced to Cvi-Che 105 after an event in downtown Miami and was with a group of people; someone had instructed us that we had to go there. After some time and a little bit of a wait (it was a Sunday dinner crowd in South Beach after all) we were inducted into the Cvi-Che 105 experience. The perfectly seasoned Peruvian roasted corn kernels were just the tip of the iceberg that would have each of us talking about this meal for months (and seconds on the corn)!
Cvi-Che 105 has made the most of their prized commodity—space. Americans are generally used to having a lot of space between things and here you are in closer quarters and after a few minutes you do not even notice it. With strategic overhead lighting, you fall into a world all your own—your own table. Though we did not order an appetizer, on my next trip in I will be ordering a causa. Causas are prized Peruvian potato dishes (similar to polenta cakes) that are shaped and prepared with anything from shrimp, boiled octopus, or crab meat and then finished with peppers, cream sauces, and avocados. They are prepared in a variety of different ways and you will definitely find something that gets you started.
When ordering at Cvi-Che 105 it is best to take a minute or two and talk to your server. They will guide you in the best direction that will make your meal memorable. I was in the mood for a paella-style dish with rice and seafood, and I ordered the Arroz Especial con Mariscos. It contained selected grains mixed with flambéed seafood with their secret cilantro cream 105 Sauce and seafood reduction. It is then mixed with some dark beer, Chicha de Jora, vegetables, and a hint of Salsa Criolla for a zing.
One of my guests ordered the Sudando de Pescado that has the consistency of a stew and arrives with some steamed white rice to add to it. The name, according to Google Translate, is Sweated Fish—but this is where the stew idea comes in. It’s succulent fish that is slowly cooked in a secret seafood broth that is then highlighted by colorful tomatoes and tender Arequipan onions.
My third friend ordered (now my absolute favorite) Lomo al Ferrocarril, which translated means Back to Rail, and after looking at it I would assume they mean the railway. This is the perfect hearty steak and eggs dish with bright tomatoes, Peruvian yellow peppers, and onions that are wok-fried; fried plantains are also featured. They offer the Lomo Saltado, but why leave off the fried eggs? I have returned on two additional occasions and have ordered only this dish!
On the next trip in, I will not only try one of their causas, but most likely their Ceviche de Pulpo, which is fresh octopus marinated in Chulucanas’ lime juice, and mixed with Arequipan onions, cilantro, and some red pepper. I think I would definitely be in Ceviche Heaven.
Cvi-Che 105 is world-famous. While on a trip to Tel Aviv, I ended up talking with a woman who comes to South Beach on a regular basis for work at Telemundo. Her face lit up just thinking about it and she claims that she always stops in each time she is in town. No matter where you live, if you find yourself hungry in South Beach, stop in, take a break, go with a friend, and enjoy life for a little while.
Be sure to follow them on all their social media accounts at @ceviche105 and view their latest creations. They are also available for delivery and catering.
Cvi-Che 105 South Beach
1245 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach