Coconut Grove Restaurant 33 to Open Saturday

Owners Sebastian Fernandez and his wife Leslie revamped the Coconut Grove space for their Peruvian-inspired restaurant, 33.EXPAND
Owners Sebastian Fernandez and his wife Leslie revamped the Coconut Grove space for their Peruvian-inspired restaurant, 33.
Courtesy 33

Coconut Grove is packed with artsy boutiques, outdoor cafés, and dive bars, but a new little spot has squeezed onto Commodore Plaza.

Chef Sebastian Fernandez, formerly the food and beverage director of Coral Reef Yacht Club, and his wife Leslie will officially open the doors to their new restaurant, 33, this Saturday in Bombay Darbar’s former location in the Grove.

Even though it features colorful, Peruvian-inspired fare, 33 is all about getting back to basics. Chef Fernandez’s menu strips down the frills of upscale dining and returns the focus to the food. Fernandez says he’s grown “tired of overwhelming plates,” which is why each dish at 33 contains only five ingredients or fewer. Why the numbered name? The couple can provide a lengthy list of reasons why the digits are significant, but Jesus' age at crucifixion, the couple's home address, and the Grove's zip code are among them.

The pair redesigned the space and constructed all of the decorative details from scratch, and it shows in a homemade, charming way. The bar is built from copper and refurbished wood; a bicycle hangs high on a wall, and mason jars serve as light fixtures. The emphasis on simplicity fits right in with Peruvian cuisine, which Fernandez describes as "simple but tasty and straightforward." 

Causa limena ($13)
Causa limena ($13)
Courtesy of 33

Causa limena ($13), the traditional layered potato dish, receives a flavorful face-lift via seared tuna, spicy ají amarillo sauce, purple potato purée, and a lusciously smooth olive sauce. Aside from the boiled and unseasoned chunk of purple potato that for some reason accompanies it, the ceviche de corvina ($16) is a well-executed version of the Peruvian staple. With lime and ginger at the forefront, the dish hits all the right notes of brightness, acidity, and heat without overshadowing the fish’s natural flavor.

Ceviche de corvina ($16)EXPAND
Ceviche de corvina ($16)
Photo by Julie Harans

Aside from the boiled and unseasoned chunk of purple potato that for some reason accompanies it, the Ceviche De Corvina ($16) is a well-executed version of the Peruvian staple. With lime and ginger at the forefront, the dish hits all the right notes of brightness, acidity and heat without overshadowing the fish’s natural flavor.

Seared scallops ($17)EXPAND
Seared scallops ($17)
Courtesy 33

Corn purée adds a complementary sweetness to miso brown butter and seared scallops, and a purée of purple cabbage is presented as a gorgeous purple streak on the plate ($17). The scallops themselves are well seared, with a tender interior and a crisp, caramelized exterior.

French toast bread pudding ($11)EXPAND
French toast bread pudding ($11)
Courtesy 33

The French toast bread pudding ($13) has a dense, buttery interior with charred edges that will have guests digging for the perfect crunchy bite. The crust’s bitter note – whether intentional or not – balances the sweetness of vanilla ice cream and a thick dulce de leche drizzle. It also provides some much-needed texture to the meal, whose plates otherwise featured mostly rich, smooth, and creamy elements.

Overall, the minimalistic approach produces a solid showcase of seasonal ingredients and Peruvian cuisine.

33 is located at 3195 Commodore Plaza in Coconut Grove. Dinner is served from 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday; the restaurant is closed Tuesday. Lunch and brunch service will launch soon. To learn out more about 33 and stay up to date on its upcoming lunch and brunch service, visit Facebook and Instagram.


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