A year and a half ago, I attended the grand opening party of Sirena Cocina Latina. This past week, I was finally able to try out their full menu (I know, late to the party, but -- I have a baby, and it's sooo hard to do nice restaurants lately).
I knew from their opening that the food was great -- I mean, surviving in Little Italy for over a year says something about quality. Little Italy is so famous for all of their great restaurants, so of course, Sirena is amazing.
I'm usually not one that notices graphic design, but look at how clever the logo looks with the mermaid tail on the S. It's lovely branding, and a very distinct, memorable design.
The interior is very hip and relaxing, reminding me of some of the restaurants that I visited in Peru. The decor was colorful and light, but there was an elegance that made the restaurant entirely nice date-worthy.
I enjoyed the Joia sodas at the San Diego Spirits Festival two years ago, and was excited to see them on the menu. I love ginger, so the ginger peach soda was refreshing. My favorite, however, was the hibiscus lime. Not too sweet, and so thirst-quenching. The perfect alternative when you want something special but don't care to indulge in alcohol.
Wednesdays are ceviche night (featured ceviches for $9), and that's how we started the night. The Chileano is the signature ceviche at Sirena; it is a very spicy, tangy mixture of octopus, squid, whitefish, peppers, and scallops. It was heaven in a bowl. I love ceviche, with its lime-y, spicy flavor, and I almost wanted to lick the bowl. The two points of toast were interesting and different. Ceviche is a simple dish, but amazingly difficult to make very well, so I'm very impressed with the ceviche at Sirena.
The next course was the Crab Causa -- a fresh crab salad served atop a Peruvian mashed potato. It was just a few, splendid bites, but was delicious. The potato added such a unique flavor, and the taste was just clean and vibrant.
After two great appetizers, it was time for some more substantial fare. Octopus is widely used at Sirena, and one of their crowning dishes is the grilled octopus. Cooked to tender perfection, the octopus was served atop a carrot puree and Peruvian potatoes. I'm not certain that I would have ordered this if it had not been suggested, but I'm so glad that I tried it. It tasted like nothing that I've ever had, in a very good way, and the taste of char from the grill complemented the octopus very well.
The second main was the seafood pasta, a Latin take on a perennial favorite. The sauce was flavorful and creamy, bursting with fresh mussels, clams, cockels, octopus, and shrimp. They certainly did not skimp on the seafood with this pasta, as it was chock full of shellfish.
Dessert was all that was left, and it was a double course! The first item was a special, not normally on the menu -- a passion fruit pudding made with condensed milk, topped with mint leaves, fresh blackberries, and a crumbled vanilla meringue cookie.
The pudding was delicious, and really satisfied a newfound love I have of all passionfruit desserts. It was rich, yet very fruity and fresh tasting.
The final item of the evening was a regular menu item -- an orange flan served with caramel bottom, brownie center, and topped with berries and mint. I love flan, and the caramel bottom was so decadent and toothsome. The berries were a nice, fresh opposition to the rich custard. The brownie bit was the only part that seemed slightly out of place, and almost overkill on the design. Overall, it was an extremely well-done dessert, and very fitting to the chic menu.
Sirena is a restaurant well worth checking out, and is perfect for a date night! I know that I'll be stopping in again!