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Cebiche Tasting at La Mar, San Francisco

Cooking octopus is very difficult. What's so difficult is to make it tender. When you boil octopus, it has a tendency to get chewy and lose its flavor. When done "properly," octopus is just wonderful - sweet and tender similar to nice abalone. That was exactly what I got at La Mar and became my instant favorite. Grilled Octopus was the most flavorful and soft octopus I had at any restaurant in the US. My encounter with Peruvian cuisine and its deep heritage with seafood happened around the year 2000. I learned and discovered their wonderful dish called "ceviche," which I always thought was a Mexican dish. I am still unsure of the exact difference between Mexican ceviche and Peruvian Cebiche, but Peruvian Ceviche to me tastes more refreshing and refined, a lot closer to a Japanese pallet like me, who is used to eating raw seafood as sashimi. Cebiche (different from Ceviche) at La Mar hides nothing and brings out all the wonderful flavor of ingredients- shrimp, octopus, squid, lime juice, Peruvian Chili, and sea salt. I suspect the ingredients ration and how long to marinate determine the taste of Cebiche. Cebiche Mixto is the one I like. For lunch, Cebiche Tasting is an excellent choice. By the way, there is a difference between Ceviche and Cebiche. La Mar SF Pier 1.5 Embarcadero. San Francisco. CA 94111 415.397.8880

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