The ceviche trio at Surfish Bistro is almost too pretty to eat, says Bookistan. Almost, but not quite. "It's always just scrumptious," she says, "and they use impeccably fresh fish." Pick any three ceviches from the menu—ahi with grilled pineapple, oysters in leche de tigre (citrus marinade), seafood in rocoto chile-lime sauce, and a half dozen more. The trio's a signature starter and one reason hounds think this Peruvian-and-beyond restaurant deserves more attention than it's gotten since it opened last spring in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Surfish is "somewhat under the radar," Bookistan says, "particularly given the high quality of the food."
Marion Morgenthal loves the chupe, a creamy shrimp bisque with corn and fried quail egg, and has also enjoyed roasted chicken with chimichurri sauce, among other things. Don't expect classic Peruvian: Chef Miguel Aguilar (Coco Roco, Mesa Grill) thinks globally, drawing on flavors from Asia and the Mediterranean. So a ceviche of seared white tuna and avocado gets a lift from Japanese ponzu (citrus-soy) sauce; another, with octopus, is seasoned with kalamata aioli. And miso turns up in cauliflower cream soup and "Chino-Latino" spareribs.
Aguilar, a TV-tested Chopped champion, also thinks visually, brightening his plates with streaks and splashes of color. Artfully presented food sometimes comes in meager portions but not here. Bookistan and a companion recently split a ceviche trio and two other appetizers and "could barely finish, there was so much food!" She finds Surfish "exceptional both for the quality of the food and the innovative touches on the menu. An undiscovered gem."
Surfish Bistro [Park Slope]
351 Fifth Avenue (between Fourth and Fifth streets), Brooklyn