Seviche’s Head Chef Anthony Lamas And Bar Manager Christopher deRome Talk Louisville, Movies, & Old Forester

As seen on Food Network’s Extreme Chef and the Cooking Channel’s America’s Best Bites, Chef Anthony Lamas is one of Louisville, Kentucky’s most prominent chefs. Headed by Chef Lamas, Seviche is a popular Latin-American restaurant in Louisville. Beyond its adventurous fare — black cherry ice cream made with charcoal and fresh cherries, avocado ice cream, and dry-ice lobster ceviche being three of the interesting menu options — Seviche is also popular for its monthly Dinner & Movie series. Taking place in the private dining room of Seviche, tickets to an evening of the Dinner & Movie series cost $95 and include drink pairings; movies already screened include Casablanca, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Chocolat, and When Harry Met Sally.

I learned about Seviche while recently traveling to Louisville to meet the team behind Old Forester bourbon; Old Forester and Kentucky were both featured in the new hit film Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I was connected with Seviche’s Head Chef Anthony Lamas and Bar Manager Christopher deRome for some Q&A. Interestingly, both Lamas and deRome are both Louisville transplants and have the same reason for moving down south. More on the stylish yet relaxed Seviche can be found online at www.sevicherestaurant.com.

How would you describe Seviche to someone who’s never been there before?

Chef Anthony Lamas: Seviche is a Nuevo Latin-American restaurant that comes to life with southern ingredients. “Nuevo” means new or modern, which is exactly what the restaurant pursues in our dishes – embodying new, exciting flavors and visually pleasing presentations that are inspired by my Latin-American heritage. Seviche is intentional about sourcing sustainable, regional ingredients that then come together in never before seen ways.

Chris deRome: Seviche serves delicious, bright and savory dishes made with the freshest fish you can get in the country with one of the finest, most unique chefs in the city. It’s comfortable and welcoming. I would say that around 90 percent of my bar customers are regulars because Seviche is that kind of place where people want to gather. On top of it, Seviche customers know they are going to be getting the best meal they’ve ever had, every time.

What’s your favorite dish on the Seviche menu?

Chef Anthony Lamas: My favorite dish on the menu is my Skirt Steak because of the way we marinate it. It gives it so much flavor and it makes it incredibly tender. It’s truly delicious.

Do you have a favorite cocktail on the Seviche menu?

Chef Anthony Lamas: My favorite cocktail on the menu is the Pisco Sour, as made with egg-white and Pisco, and the reason I love it is because we top it with our homemade Mamajuana. Our bar manager Chris makes a Kentucky version of Mamajuana in-house with local herbs, ginger, local honey, port, and dark and white rum, which is mixed in a bottle and set aside for the flavors to infuse.

Chris deRome: The Ghost Rider is my favorite because of the infused bourbon we create to complete it. I actually created this cocktail on accident while hosting a spirit vendor at Seviche, who was having me mix several drinks to show the versatility of bourbon. I used jalapeño and basil to infuse the spirit, which I initially thought would create a bold flavor, but instead turned out to be really refreshing. I mixed it with ginger simple syrup and lime juice and it came together to form a really excellent flavor. This drink has been one of our menu items for quite a while!

I understand that Seviche hosts a monthly Dinner & Movie series, which takes place in their private dining room. Who picks the movies? Any upcoming screenings that you are especially excited about?

Chef Anthony Lamas: When we first began the series, I picked all of the movies and we initially started with all chef-focused or restaurant movies that we would have the menu based off of. After some time, it became a very popular series and we ran out of restaurant movies, so I began to choose the movie based off seasons, holidays, or if the movie focused on a destination or region that we could draw culinary inspiration from. Since it has evolved, it became more of a team effort. Everyone contributes and we pick what we feel most inspired by to create.

The next screening I am particularly excited about is for Halloween, as we will be screening the old-time favorite Beetlejuice. I plan on serving some very creative dishes including a frozen broth hand, black dishes made from charcoal and liquid nitrogen to add a smoke effect.

What brought you down to Louisville in the first place?

Chef Anthony Lamas: I met a Kentucky girl in San Diego, and her southern charm and wit brought me down south to Louisville. It did not take long before I learned that Louisville has a vibrant culinary scene and that it is an exciting place for creators of food. I ended up never leaving.

Chris deRome: A girl; we were living in Brooklyn when we decided to move to Louisville. I had visited a couple times and really enjoyed the scene. What I loved most about Louisville is that locals consider everything the city has to offer as the “best of,” which is incredibly heartwarming when you think about it. When you live in a place like New York, you hear people say “Oh, well the best of that is in Germany, or the best of that is in L.A.,” but in Louisville, everyone loves the music, food, entertainment that is here. There is something pretty cool about that.

When I visited Louisville a week back, courtesy of Old Forester, I was told that horses and whiskey are a big part of Louisville culture. Do you feel that there are any misconceptions about living in Louisville?

Chef Anthony Lamas: Horses and whiskey are a big part of the Louisville culture. We have distilleries and the Kentucky Derby/Churchill Downs are a big part of our city pride, but we are more than just that. We have a huge art scene, great culinary scene, and a diverse community, which makes for a very hip and cool town.

Chris deRome: Bourbon and horses are a big part of the culture. I would say that the horses and Kentucky Derby are a bigger draw for tourists than residents. We are very active players when it comes to music, art, conversation, and even the climate – Louisville residents are really big advocates for the earth and do our best to recycle and compost. Some people also do not realize how big of a college sports city Louisville is, especially college football.

When not busy with Seviche, how do you like to spend your free time?

Chef Anthony Lamas: When I am not working, I love to cook and grille at home and spend quality time with my family. I love jumping into my Volkswagen Bus with my boys and taking them around the city — or spontaneous road trips. I’m a fan of Volkswagen cars so I spend time on my ’59 Volkswagen Bug and ’66 Volkswagen Bus, which I take to VW shows in Gatlinburg from time to time.

Chris deRome: I love to play sports, and I sing in a local band called Ocipher. We practice three times a week and try to play a gig at least once a month, whether that be at a local spot or festival. Other than that, you can find me going for walks or riding my bike with my 10-month old puppy. Louisville has fantastic parks and trails so it makes getting outdoors easy.

For someone thinking of visiting Louisville, what are some activities that you would recommend?

Chef Anthony Lamas: I would recommend the Bourbon Tour, or the Bourbon Trail Tour, which Seviche is on. We also have the Sluggers Baseball Museum, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and the Muhammad Ali Museum, all of which offer visitors a fun, interactive ways to learn about our history and what makes this town so great.

Chris deRome: Churchill Downs is great for visitors, along with the Sluggers Baseball Museum, the Speer Art Museum, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Culture. We also have the Mega Cavern, which was formerly a Limestone mine that has now been transformed into a zip line and BMX bike park.

Finally, any last words for the kids?

Chef Anthony Lamas: Louisville is a fantastic city, and we are lucky to be a part of it. It’s especially cool to take what Louisville is known for and incorporate it at Seviche. Take, for example, our bourbon; we have an extensive bourbon list, but it goes beyond just a drink and plays a big role in how we complete our dishes. I use Brown-Forman Old Forester for our Old Fashioned Seviche and as an ingredient in our bourbon-caramel sauce for our Dolce de Leche. If ever visiting Louisville, be sure to stop by Seviche and say hello!

[Featured Image by Luis Agostini]