Award-winning Coral Gables restaurant La Cofradia has finally become Mixtura, a Peruvian ceviche/pisco eatery with an affordable menu and plenty of seafood dishes. After numerous private tastings and much fine tuning, the newly named eatery is ready to conquer your taste buds.
La Cofradia was a restaurant where business people met for specialty drinks and elegant dining. Today, the new owners hope to attract foodies who might be anxious to try specialties from Peru and a pisco bar at reasonable prices. One of the original owners, chef Jean Paul Desmaison who started La Cofradia back in 2005, departed in 2009.
"I left for personal reasons and because we were starting to feel the economic pinch" he said. "First we lowered our prices because clients were not ordering the expensive menu items. Then we couldn't reduce our prices any more."
"We got a good deal for La Cofradia," said Cesar Vargas, present director of marketing at Mixtura. "There were financial problems involved and we were looking to bring in a chain of Mixtura restaurants to South Florida. It worked out for us. We brought in our own people, including some who were already working at the original Mixtura (7118 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). We're hoping that this second Mixtura will do as well as the one on the beach. A third one is in the planning stages for New York."
(Chef Desmaison has since opened his own place called Jean Paul's House in Wynwood.)
Jose Luis Herrera along with two other talented chefs are at the helm of both restaurants. Herrera got to the U.S. by beating out over 50 other chefs for a position at the Peruvian Consulate in Washington, D.C. He has cooked for President Obama as well as dozens of other political dignitaries.
"I'm an original" he said. "I make my cooking authentic. I don't copy anyone and I don't have to envy anyone. Cooking is my passion. For me it's a gift from God. First there was Inca cooking for thousands of years, then five hundred years ago the Spaniards, who had over 700 years of Moorish influence, invaded Peru. They brought in African slaves who also contributed their cooking skills to my country. Then there were the Italians, the French, the Chinese and the Japanese."
The new menu is beyond ceviche clever. Chef Herrera said, "In the past,fisherman went out to sea for weeks at a time. They discovered that if they macerated their daily catch in lemon and lime juices, the fish would be edible for days. Then they started to experiment with the citrus and came up with wonderful possibilities that produced a variety of tastes."
Their new menu has over 60 different items, most of which are priced under $15.
The ceviches include pescado/fish ($14), mixto/fish, shrimp, octopus and squid ($15), afrodisiaco/fish, with shrimp, scallops and sea urchin sauce ($17), vegetarian/asparagus, avocado, mushrooms, palm hearts with lime and olive oil ($15) and traditional entrees.
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Starting this week, Happy Hour offers 2-for-1 beers, wines, and wine cocktails from 3 to 8 p.m. If consuming beverages leaves you with hunger pangs, try the inclusive four signature ceviches plus four tiraditos for $24. It's a summer special that ends August 31. They're closed on Sundays but as for the rest of the week, Mixtura's tasteful pleasures and pisco bar are waiting for your visit.
Mixtura Restaurant is located at 160 Andalusia Ave. in Coral Gables. Details: 305 914.1300