Beer and Tapas at La Cerveceria
Beer and Tapas at La Cerveceria
It was probably the fact that I arrived late Valentine’s night, or maybe La Cerveceria is naturally an inviting place. As I waited for my Chimay to arrive, I listened to classic Julio Iglesias songs playing in the background because—let’s face it—no Hispanic-rooted restaurant can deny the romantic power of the oldies of the golden age of Latin music. While I was letting the music selection impress me, I had no idea how this East Village establishment was about to blow me away with a series of its well-complementing courses and superb beer selection.
Also known as Beer Bar, La Cerveceria is a tapas bar with a Peruvian influence and a large craft beer selection. The establishment fits in with its neighborhood due to its trendiness, décor and respectably high standards of the food served. The staff is very amicable, and if you stick around for long enough, you’ll notice that the staff’s friendliness extends to one another. Overall, the restaurant definitely mixes this feeling of fine dining with a humble touch while staying deeply rooted to its Latin-American culture.
On the first round of tapas, the waiter brought by our starters: a Tuna Tartar served on corn chips and topped with avocado, lime and herbs. The small plate had the perfect blend of savoriness from the fish, sweetness from the toppings, creaminess because of the avocado, with the chip’s crunchiness adding an exclamation point to the dish. There was also a Lobster Guacamole, which tasted exactly as it sounds: glorious. La Cerveceria’s take on the old chips and guac’ plate actually took a turn into a really creative and original dish here. The guacamole was topped with delicate yet meaty chunks of lobster and shrimp and a delicious house sauce. Accompanying the Lobster Guacamole were tostones, or those thick and tasty deep-fried plantain chips.
On the second course, I was greeted by Causas. Causas are dark Peruvian potatoes, and in terms of texture and color, Causas are similar to refried black beans. The dark potatoes were mashed and topped with hearts of palm, goat cheese, choclo, and avocado. Are you starting to notice a pattern here with the avocado? I definitely did, and I loved every minute of it! I had personally never tried Causas and was really excited to find something new on the menu. Pleasantly surprised, I was ready to continue taking chances with the unknown.
Up next was the Mexican Ceviche, which was a very high point in the night. Having brought a native Mexican to dinner, I was excited to find that he was in complete approval of this dish. The ceviche was filled with fresh calamari, shrimp, salsa picante, herbs, and yes, avocado chunks. I was told that a secret Mexican ingredient was used in this ceviche, making it that much tastier and authentic.
The first few courses were soon topped by my short ribs entrée—a succulent, fatty and juicy plate of short ribs in a house sauce, stacked over creamy mashed potatoes. We also had skirt steak cooked to medium-rare perfection and topped with an awing Argentine-style chimichurri sauce. In all, it was the most perfect ending to a night full of great flavors.
The finest part of eating tapas is the adventure. The life of the tapas eater is one of taking chances on small dishes that are usually traditional yet innovatively and creatively composed. Tapas are a very communal and personal experience where each dish is to be enjoyed by everyone at the table and in good company. La Cerveceria is a fantastic place to take a chance on food and enjoy a wonderful and satisfying evening with loved ones. Help yourself to a beer while you’re at it.