Saying I love raw fish is a bit of an understatement. Sashimi, poke, tiradito, ceviche, regardless what you call it, by adding a mixture of salty, sweet and tart, the fish is transformed into something quite mouthpuckeringly (I just made up a word) good.
So for all you raw fish aficionados out there, September is the month for you at The Ritz-Carton Laguna Niguel. The ceviche festival runs for the entire month and will see both Raya and 180blũ offering a menu packed with various “ceviches” — term is used loosely as there are several styles to choose from — to tickle your fancy. I attended a preview showcasing what you will expect should you choose to partake in this delicious offering.
If you’re a fan of island style raw fish, there is Hawaiian Ahi Tuna, a stellar interpretation of ahi poke, the jicama and red onion brings a crunch, while avocado adds a creaminess in your mouth. Of course, there has to be a source of heat and tart, and in this particular dish, it is from chile de arbol, ponzu and yuzu. Served with crispy plantain and yuca chips.
Rock Shrimp is also a staple found on the islands, but given a Pan Latin twist here. For that kick, roasted jalapeno and Peruvian sweetie peppers are used. Yuzu, mint, cucumber and tomato marry together bringing refreshing qualities to the palate. However, it is the white soy which piqued my interest. This version of soy sauce is not aged and un-barreled, which makes it an ideal accompaniment. It is clear and does not visually compromise the final product.
Mixto is a combination of octopus, mussel, squid, hearts of palm sweet corn, green onion and citrus aji panca. The ingredients come together to create a spicy, sweet marinade for the seafood.
Baja Scallop is aesthetically presented — in its shell — surrounded by thinly sliced discs of cucumber, enveloped in a tomato and guajillo sauce. Reminiscent of the Mexican coctel, it is a taste I am well familiar with.
Even though all the ceviches which came before Sea Bass are tasty, I must say, this won me over in more ways than one. Served in a coconut shell, the citrus coconut water bath the sea bass sits in is the perfect balance of tartness on my tongue. Candied yams, red onion, cilantro add a hint of sweetness and spice, while corn nuts gives a really delightful crunch. I could go on and on about this particular ceviche, but I think you should just go and try it out for yourselves.
Remember, the ceviche festival runs until the end of the month. Make a trip out to The Ritz Carlton and try one of these delicious creations. All the ceviches are available at both Raya and 180blũ.
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629