I arrived in Mt. Dora a little early for an appointment recently — it’s difficult to gauge how long a drive it’s going to be and I lucked out with light traffic. So I decided to pop in to a restaurant that specializes in ceviche, sometimes, as in this case, spelled cebiche.
That’s Mr. Cebiche to you, pal.
And by the way, this isn’t a place you just pop into, not unless you already know where it is. I had the address, but as I drove down Donnelly Street in the sleepy downtown, I couldn’t spot it. It was only after I parked the car and walked to where the address should be that I discovered it’s inside a sort of arcade of businesses, on the second floor, in a charming little space that overlooks the street below.
Because I had only a half hour before my appointment, I ordered something that could come out quickly. And, not so coincidentally, was the signature dish of the place: ceviche. I mean Mr. Cebiche. Ceviche, of course, is generally fish that is “cooked” in citrus juices. Because this is a process that takes time, and a dish that is served chilled, I knew that ceviche wouldn’t require any cooking. And seeing as how I was the only customer in the place at the time, I was pretty sure I’d be in and out in no time.
I was late for my appointment.
Maybe the person running the kitchen — Mrs. Cebiche, perhaps? — figured I wasn’t in a hurry (even though I had communicated to my server that I was).
Whatever. I did enjoy my ceviche, the Mixto Limeno, which included pieces of shrimp, mussels and squid (the menu said that there was also calamari included, but I didn’t fall for it) with a bit of rocoto, a red pepper sauce that is a specialty of Peru. All of it delicious, especially the shrimp.
I also ordered some Papa a la Huancaina, sliced boiled potatoes topped with a fluffy cheese sauce tinged with a yellow pepper. And before you say that it was the side dish that slowed the order, you should know that it is also served chilled.
In fact, the coolness of ceviche and potatoes made it a perfect meal for a stultifyingly hot summer day.
I’ll look forward to visiting Mr. Cebiche again. Maybe if I dine there often enough I can be on a first-name basis with him.
Mr. Cebiche is at 411 N. Donnelly St., Mt Dora. It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The phone number is 352-735-8106.