Video of our Day at Doretta
Fresh and vibrant cuisine, sexy décor, and an attentive staff is what lives at 79 Park Plaza, the coveted space occupied by Doretta Taverna Raw Bar. Many of you may know the location, as it once housed renowned chef, Michael Schlow’s, beloved Italian restaurant Via Matta.
When we first heard Via Matta was closing, we shed more than a few tears, as we both enjoyed many late evenings at the fine dining staple. But, after spending the day at its replacement, the hole in our heart was quickly filled with all sorts of fresh and yummy goodness.
The name Doretta is based on the Greek word for gift, dora. And Schlow certainly has given a gift to Boston in his Greek restaurant, where the focus is fresh, simple, and healthy ingredients. Not only is the Greek-inspired cuisine a welcomed diversion on the Boston dining scene, but the décor and layout quickly made Doretta a new Boston favorite. We imagine this upcoming Sunday, May 1st, Doretta’s popularity will reach new heights when its alfresco dining, that allows the outdoors to flow in and out of the restaurant, officially opens!
Walking into Doretta, we wondered how we ended up in Greece so fast! With a market-style raw bar, stand alone center bar, and an open air patio, one definitely gets the feel of being transported to a Mediterranean Plateia, or town square; and a very sexy one at that!
Local Boston artist, the talented and down-to-Earth Adrienne Schlow, is responsible for that sex appeal. (Yes, she shares a last name with Michael, because she’s his partner in crime, i.e., his wife. :))
Her provocative artwork of mysterious women are peppered across the restaurant’s walls. Female forms and feminine faces provide a lovely distraction.
Along the back wall is her 60 foot hand-painted mural that truly is a delight for the senses.
And finally, you’ll find our favorite, her metallic sketches of a restaurant scene, tucked away on the walls of a cozy corner nook. Creative visual musings that will keep you and your guests talking well through dessert.
Warm amber and taupe tones, along with well-placed unique lighting help to complete the sensual and inviting environment that is Doretta.
At the center of the restaurant, resides an island bar that comes to life at night. We love that every seat has a view, leaving you free to look around the market place. And when you do look around, the gorgeous raw bar immediately catches your eye. This truly is the centerpiece of Doretta. Beautiful fresh fish chill out on ice along with shellfish. Workers bustle about, preparing foods. Colorful fresh ingredients decorate the counter tops and shelves.
The sight definitely primed our palates for some of that heavenly food! That’s where super cool, Executive Chef, Leo Asaro comes into our story.
Teach A Girl To Fish… and Then Fillet
So, besides sampling amazing Greek wines and fantastic food. The real reason we were at Doretta was to learn how to fillet a fish and make this gorgeous ceviche!
Ceviche is a delightful raw fish dish, cured with citrus juices and dressed to the chef’s heart’s desire! It’s healthy and perfect for the upcoming warmer weather. No oven or stoves required! Served cold or at room temperature, it is a refreshing, lite, and healthy meal, and one we were simply dying to learn how to make.
We both thought ceviche would be a great recipe to have in our haute entertaining repertoire. And, we couldn’t think of a better restaurant in Boston from where to steal a ceviche recipe or learn how to make it, than the one that has the most beautiful display of fresh fish!
There was only requirement, we had to try our hand at filleting! After all, one of the best places to make ceviche is on a boat with the fresh catch. And, you certainly won’t find any Whole Foods fish man to do the deed for you there!
Lucky for us, Executive Chef, Leo Asaro, was kind (and patient) enough to allow us into his kitchen and yield his sword (er, knife). We were thrilled to meet Chef Leo, who turned out to be not only a great chef, but just a nice and funny guy who was a good enough sport to let us kiss his fish. 🙂
Now, we have to confess, Chef Leo made the entire process look about as easy as slicing through butter. Admittedly, he did have a fantastically sharp (like hair-splitting sharp), long, and thin knife. But, after our go at it, we’re thinking he just has some mad skills. 😉 So, here you go hauties, how to fillet a fish and make ceviche. Don’t forget to read the proceeding post on Greek wines with Doretta GM Megan Cormier – YUMMY!!!!
How to Fillet a Fish
For this demonstration, Chef Leo chose a handsome yellow tail snapper. The one thing you MUST have for ceviche is fresh fish. And this poor guy may have been swimming with the fishes just that morning. In other words, his resume was perfect the job.
Besides a nice fresh fish, you also need an excellent knife. If not, you’re apt to bruise your well sought after fish. We’re pretty sure we managed to bruise our poor guy on our first try, even with Chef Leo’s super sharp and thin knife. So, the other important thing you’ll need is a steady and quick hand.
Once you have your fish, your knife, and calm nerves, you might also want a pair of rubber gloves. More so to keep your fishy nice and clean.
- Lay fish down on the cutting surface.
- Grab the fish by the collar. (Where the head meets the body.)
- Lifting the fins and the gill with one hand, gently slide the knife toward the head, but not all the way through.
- Then, working in the other directing, keep the knife as close to the spine as possible, gently start to remove the meat by sliding the knife horizontally across the fish, staying close to the spine. TIP: You may want to grab onto the tail.
- Remove the scales using the same technique, skin side down, holding the fillet by the tail and cutting as close to the skin possible.
- After, remove any fish scales or tendons that might remain.
- Run your finger down the fillet and feel for bones. Pull out with large tweezer.
- Repeat on the other side.
Making the Ceviche was pretty easy, considering we just kicked back and watched Chef Leo in action. But, we’re pretty confident it was easier than filleting the fish. 😉
Make your marinade at least 8 hours in advance.
- Fish (can be flesh or parts of the fish)
- Lemon juice
- Orange juice
- Sliced red onion
- Cilantro stems
- Mint leaves
- Sliced jalepeno
- Add a few dashes of salt to fish parts/flesh. This will start the curing process and draw out the juices and flavor from the fish.
- Mix all of the ingredients. Don’t worry about getting any seeds from the citrus, as you will strain it later.
- Let everything hang out together in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
- Strain everything very well through a sieve, really pushing down to extract all of those good flavors that have spent the last eight hours getting married.
- Diced fish (any shape your heart desires)
- Lemon & Lime juice
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Crispy fried rice
- Micro greens
- Purple shiso
- More olive oil
- Cut the fresh fish into any shape that strikes your fancy.
- Coat fish in olive oil.
- Add lemon juice & salt to start the “cooking” process.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the marinade or “juice.”
- While it continues to cook, add kumquat, cucumbers, jalepenos.
- Once the ceviche is plated, add thinly sliced and curled radishes, crispy friend rice, micro greens, purple shiso, mint, and more olive oil.
If you’re a die-hard ceviche lover, or really want the visual, feel free to watch the un-cut ceviche video here:
Uncut Ceviche Instructions
The ceviche was pretty amazing! Thanks chef Leo! What made the experience even cooler (yes, besides cooking with the executive chef from Doretta in THEIR kitchen) was eating the ceviche at the Chef’s table.
For special occasions, you can rent the chef’s table for a romantic dinner, a corporate event, or for a good time with a group of friends. We’re pretty sure Chef Leo will deliver the fun! 🙂
A huge thanks to Doretta Taverna Raw Bar, Jenn McDermott, Megan Cormier, and Chef Leo Asaro.
Stay Tuned for Part Two, Where We Enjoy Some Lovely Greek Wines with the Beautiful and Haute Megan Cormier
Until then, practice your fillet!!!!
Love, Kim & Jess