I had a friend from Puerto Rico visit me this weekend so I decided to give Chicama a whirl. The decor is very sexy. As my friend put it, it makes you think that you're no longer in New York. They played some obscure song that made her ecstatic. She said that she had never expected to hear that song in the states. At least the music was good.
We started with a ceviche of the pompano-family that was mixed with octopus, shallots, jalapenos, served on a pool of blood orange sauce, and paired with tangerines. The seviche ($16) was amazing, albeit a little precious in quantity. The octopus was crisp and not chewy, the fish was pristine fresh, and the sauce was refreshingly sweet without being cloying. We ate it with the yuca fritz which was cut too thick in my opinion. I liked the prep seen in spanish harlem better.
For appetizers, we had fried oysters served in the shell with cheese and spinach and the pureed black beans with fried plantain chips. The oysters were good--hot and crispy. Not a high risk item. The black bean puree dish though, reminded me of a glorified chips and dip platter. Not the least bit impressive. My friend liked it so I kept my mouth shut.
At this point, we were full so we shared an appetizer of Seared tuna served with a rice pilaf. I was very disappointed because they didn't have the suckling pig special that they claim to have on weekends. Sigh. Anyways, the tuna was decent enough in quality and the rice pilaf nearly made me laugh. It was good, but it reminded me of yang chow fried rice without eggs. It even had lettice in it. Good but amusing nonetheless.
For dessert, we shared the tres leches. My friend was craving tres leches and unfortunately she didn't like the passionfruit sauce and the mango foam spin. I thuoght it wasn't bad at all, although, the original prep might be more comforting and soothing.
The best thing of night were the mojitos. They were served with a sugar cane stirring stick that I could not resist. Gnawing on the cane brought back some pleasant childhood memories and I didn't care if I looked like an oaf doing so in public.
Overall, I'd say Chicama was fun. The service was friendly and the decor was relaxing. And aside from the ceviche and the mojitos, the food was actually a little ho hum.