Okay, so there's no such thing as ceviche season...yet. But why not make it one? We look forward to oyster season all year, spend the winter biding our time until the crawfish are big enough to eat, and even go bonkers for the short window of time when delicate squash blossoms are in peak bloom.
4705 Inker St.
April is prime-time for Texas shrimp and red snapper, and a good month for other Gulf species including blue crab, flounder and black drum—all creatures that taste terrific served cold with lots of refreshing citrus juices. April is also the time of year when the first licks of heat begin whipping up off the asphalt and the sun suddenly feels uncomfortably intense rather than welcomingly warm. These are all indications, at least to me, that it's time to start seeking respite in the cool, crisp, clean flavors of seafood coctéles and ceviches.
We're spoiled for choice in Houston when it comes to chilled seafood cocktails, whether it be the vuelve a la vida filled with plump oysters and sweet tomato sauce at Tampico or the intriguing black clam ceviche with green plantains at Andes Cafe. The ceviche well in Houston is deep and delicious. But if you're just dabbling and/or you want to get acquainted with ceviches for your first-ever ceviche season, head to La Fisheria.
At this cute, brightly-painted bungalow near the Heights, chef Aquiles Chavez serves a trio de ceviches that's great for the first-timer or the indecisive. Three different preparations are offered: a standard ceviche in which snapper is cured with lime juice and served with avocado, onions and chile powder; a verde ceviche which substitutes the lime juice for Seville orange juice and tomatillo sauce; and my favorite, the ceviche enclamatado de pescado y camarón. Translation: fresh shrimp and snapper marinated in clam, tomato, and lime juice—a little salty, a little sweet, a little tart, a lot perfect.
Okay, so "a lot perfect" isn't a thing either, just like ceviche season. But you may not find the trio de ceviches at La Fisheria entirely perfect; at $18.95, it's quite a costly appetizer. And there's something strangely off-putting though hilarious about a restaurant menu made to look like a newspaper advertising the genius and celebrity of its chef (who is more often found in his home country of Mexico these days, attending to the La Fisheria branches across the border, than in Houston). But it's hard to take Chavez's cheeky, larger-than-life personality too seriously, and it's a little easier to stomach that ceviche price when you consider the freshness of the fish and the overall feel of the sunny, cheerful spot that's almost a vacation in and of itself: a little Key West, a little Veracruz, a little Mexico City, a lot of fun—and perfect for cooling off and enjoying ceviche season.