By Caitlin Marino
Upon arriving to 1111 Peruvian Bistro, I was delighted to find an elegant and sophisticated lounge with a friendly staff, which gave me the initial impression that there was a clear attempt to blend the relaxed environment of a casual tapas bar with the elegance of a high-end restaurant. I was welcomed, alongside many patrons who were also ending their workdays, with a similar need to relax and eat! The kitchen was fully visible and the intimacy of the restaurant was felt throughout. Once settled, it was time to recall what I knew of Peruvian cuisine, and learn more about 1111 which promised a novel twist on traditional dishes.
The menu was explained as containing the staples of Peruvian cuisine, including ceviche and lomo saltado, as well as a few fusion-esque creations from head chef Diego Muñoz, so needless to say I was excited. Below is a quick recap of the food I experienced…
It innately feels wrong to visit a Peruvian restaurant and not try the ceviche, so needless to say the Ceviche Apaltado was the perfect start to my meal! The dish boasts an emphasis on fresh ingredients that include fish, creamy leche de tigre, avocado, aji limo, capers, and olive oil. The fish was refreshing, light, and paired with a ripe avocado and lime-soaked leche de tigre. The latter ingredient is what truly makes this different from other ceviche you’ve had in the past. I’d say it’s the best dish to help kick things off and without hesitation would be placed as one of the top ceviches I have ever tasted!
With the Salt and Pepper Fried Calamari Jalea, Chef Muñoz brings an interesting remix to the traditional calamari. His version features a predominance of pepper in the calamari breading, hence the name. While the flavor had a nice spice that was unique to the traditional oily/fried batter, the strength of the pepper took a bit of the seafood flavor away, which made me nostalgic for simpler Peruvian jaleas.
I found the Fish Cutlet to be a pretty standard snapper dish. The sesame peanut curry and Asian vegetables added a nice flavor, but unless you’re a snapper fanatic, I’d suggest skipping this plate next time to save space for more ceviche or calamari. But kudos on the presentation; the dish is easy on the eyes.
I didn’t expect to try pasta at a Peruvian restaurant, but Chef Muñoz had a nice surprise up his sleeve with the Aji de Gallina Tortelloni. The homemade tortelloni was well paired with ripe cherry tomatoes and a very creamy, savory sauce that combined sage, Botija olives, and pecans. This is a welcome option for those who aren’t exactly fond of seafood.
Chef Muñoz is a master when it comes to the Filet Mignon dish. He brings an upgrade to the typical lomo saltado offered in other Peruvian restaurants in Miami. Instead of French fries, the dish featured fried potato chunks, which was the first time I had seen the dish presented this way and I fell instantly in love. Additionally, the dish offered a good serving of juicy, perfectly cooked filet mignon slices. And, of course, anything with a fried egg is a win in my book. This is the type of innovation you want to see at Peruvian restaurants that otherwise offer the same old menu items that leave you yearning for more.
Chocolate lovers will melt for the Chocolate Temperatures dessert. This dish combines both cold and warm chocolate through mousse and meringue textures. It was a light dessert, which was welcomed after the gluttony of my meal, but the perfect amount of filling to end an excellent dining experience.
Caitlin’s take: I was pleasantly surprised to find such a high-end dining experience available at a moderately affordable price. The restaurant also offers a a great, intimate location to bring someone who you’re trying to impress without breaking the bank (think client meetings, Friday night date night, etc.). Furthermore, the majority of the menu items listed above are included in 1111’s Miami Spice menu, which is available for lunch and dinner every day except Sundays, when they are closed.
Standout dishes: I was most impressed with the Ceviche Apaltado. Consider ordering this as your appetizer in addition to your Miami Spice selections for an unforgettable experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if you become a frequent visitor to 1111 just to indulge in this one dish.