There is something about eating with a good chef that makes you stop and experience the dish more fully. Much like a sommelier will advise you to test the scent of wine before you drink, Chef Antonio motions for me to inhale the scent of the dish he has put before me, a bowl of Jamaican “jerk” ahi tuna ceviche. I immediately detect peppery summer radish and the sweet bloom of tamarind. “I really want people to see the food first, then enjoy eating it,” he says, and there are so many flavors to enjoy in this ceviche. I have a bite and then pause, because there is a delightful amount of complexity here. Sweet mango and a “jerk” spice of cinnamon and cumin richly enrobes ahi tuna that is sustainably caught in the South Pacific. A generous portion of fish is lightly ceviched in lemon and served on warm tortilla chips. Dancing on top of this savory ceviche is toasted coconut and micro greens. You will also catch hints of jalapeno and red onion, and micro-rectangles of cucumbers. Chef Antonio is taking you on a tour of the world through ceviche, and I feel that I might be sitting on a tropical beach in Jamaica, relaxing.
Of his new dinner menu, Chef says, “When people come for dinner I want them to have a special, different experience than lunch here.” He invites you to enjoy a glass of wine and good company, and explore his new menu.
Angela Borda is a Santa Barbara food writer who is delighted to be blogging about one of her favorite restaurants, Kanaloa Seafood.