Best Bets: Ceviche

Ceviche at Swanky's Taco Shop.

Photo by Michael Donahue, MIchael Donahue // Buy this photo

Ceviche at Swanky's Taco Shop.

Andy Keuter looked at the ceviche on my plate when he passed my table at Swanky's Taco Shop.

"What is that?" he asked, looking at the mixture of shrimp, cucumbers, red onions, tomatoes, cilantro and orange and lime juices.

The word "ceviche" didn't strike a pleasant chord with Keuter. He recalled a deckhand who ate ceviche last summer. "On a fishing trip in Garibaldi, Ore., a guy had a bag of the stuff he kept dipping into," he said.

They were on a boat in the Pacific Ocean. "Everything smells like fish."

The man used tortilla chips to scoop the ceviche, which was made with rockfish instead of shrimp, out of "a gallon size Ziplock."

Keuter, who likes to cook, knew what ceviche was, but he'd never tried it. He definitely knew he didn't want to try it that day.

Keuter was persuaded to try some of Swanky's ceviche. "That's really good," he said after his first bite.

"That's awesome," he said after his second or third.

I agree with Keuter; the ceviche at Swanky's is excellent. It's served in a martini glass with a side of tortilla chips dusted in paprika and Swanky's blend of spices. You dip the chips into Swanky's homemade hot sauce, which actually is on the mild side and sweet. You then scoop some ceviche onto the chip and pop the whole thing in your mouth. It's incredible.

The order is generous. "It can be for one or for the whole table," said bartender Bradley Wilson. I ate just about all of it myself.

Swanky's Taco Shop is at 4770 Poplar Ave., (901) 730-0763; and at 6641 Poplar Ave. in Germantown, (901) 737-2088.

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797;

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