A little over five years ago I used to have lunch at this little Cuban dive in Downtown Miami called La Cibeles. It was owned by two very nice gentlemen, Juan Chipoco and Luis Hoyos, who would be seen there every day tending to their patrons. I watched over the years as they struggled to make their restaurant grow but the economy had taken a downturn and business was hard for everyone. After nearly two years of struggling with their restaurant, the opportunity for growth finally presented itself and La Cibeles changed to a new concept and was re-named
CVI.CHE 105, a Peruvian restaurant. The concept took off in an enormous way and within a year they had purchased the locale next door and expanded their restaurant to seat over 200 people.
I went to have dinner there the other night and was completely blown away by the transformation. From the decor, to the service, to the food, and the ambiance…everything was spectacular.
We started off with the most amazing drink recommended by our waiter. It's their take on the pisco sour called Maracutini (Mojito, Pisco, and passion fruit juice). The drink was refreshing and delicious. I'm still dreaming about the explosion of flavors in this drink and the nice buzz that accompanied it.
At each table they offer complimentary roasted Peruvian corn kernels. They are kind of like toasted corn nuts, but better! It took all my self-control to not act like my grandmother used to do with equal packets and dump the whole dish of kernels in a ziplock in my purse for later.
We ordered an appetizer appropriately named the Ceviche Seafood Orgy which contained mixed raw seafood swimming in Tiger milk. This dish had incredible texture and flavor. Each citrusy bite brought a burst of tingles to my taste buds. The second appetizer was the Stuffed Potatoes with Prawns and Avocado. I nearly fainted in my seat. The potatoes were so creamy and delicious that you'd swear they weren't potatoes at all. The combinations of the flavors of the dish were magnificent.
For the main dish we ordered Sautéed Lomo Steak. Soft pieces of steak, bright tomatoes, yellow Peruvian peppers and onions seasoned with soy sauce and sautéed in a fiery wok with Pisco 100 flames and the chef's secrets, then served with crunchy French fries and delicious white rice. I know this is going to sound silly, but their rice was outstanding. Soft and buttery, a perfect contrast to the rest of the dish. It was stand out memorable.
Finally, for desert we ordered a trio mousse sampler which included Passion Fruit Mousse (a creamy and delicious dessert made with pure maracuyá pulp and decorated with grated chocolate), Lucuma Mousse (soft combination of lúcuma and a sprinkling of chocolate) and Chirimoya Mousse (a soft blend of chirimoya, meringue and a sprinkling of chocolate as topping). Creamy sweet happiness in small glass cups is what those deserts were. The plate had the word "Peru" written on it with cinnamon and lime gel leaves down the side. I tasted the gel leaves...mmm...lime flavored. It's the attention to detail and flavor that made the meal and the restaurant absolutely spectacular. I loved it.
I was so happy for Sous Chef Luis Hoyos and Chef Juan Chipoco for working hard and struggling to create their American Dream. It's establishments like these that merit a visit and support from the local community. If you are ever in the Downtown Miami area, perhaps catching a show at the Adrienne Arsht Center or a Heat game at the American Airlines Arena, drop by CVI.CHE 105. It's well worth the visit.