South America Meets North Shore at Fish Head

The Highwood restaurant specializes in Ecuadorean seafood.

Empanada at Fish Head   Photo courtesy Robert Viteri

At Fish Head Restaurante-Cantina (810 Sheridan Rd., Highwood, 847-780-4199), fish heads the culinary charge to bring South America to the North Shore. Ecuadorean staples such as the corvina, a flaky, mild Pacific fish, come either pan-seared or in Peruvian seviche with sweet potato.

Fish Head also offers churrasco-style meats with chimichurri, cedar-planked salmon with mango and coconut, and a dish called campesino, in which chicken is rolled with ham and cheese in a mushroom sauce, says Robert Viteri, a partner getting into restaurants from the parking business. He adds that they are pushing Ecuadorean hot sauce made with tomate de árbol, a slightly sweet, slightly orangey South American tomato. Desserts include quinbolito, a cake with orange zest, vanilla, raisins, and Cognac wrapped in a banana leaf and served with guava or mango sauce.

Cocktails gaze southward as well, such as caipirinhas, mojitos, a mango martini, and Fish Head’s own margarita. “It’s really a pisco sour,” Viteri says. Secret’s out. In case you were wondering, the fish is really fish.

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