Old Town Alexandria restaurant Agua Viva, located at 808 King Street in what was formerly Cafe Salsa's space, recently opened its doors to patrons.
Owner and chef Mike Cordero, a native Puerto Rican, describes the cuisine as "Miami Fusion" – a combination of Latin American and Caribbean dishes with an American twist. The restaurant has been redecorated in shades of blue to create a tropical ambiance.
Cordero, a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, is also the owner of Caribbean Breeze, located in Arlington, and Primetime Sports Bar & Grille in Fairfax. He predicts that Agua Viva will be "a happening place that will offer the hot Miami feel in Old Town."
Lunch: The restaurant's signature dishes are the six ceviche offerings (served during lunch and dinner): these include the "Classico" ceviche–jumbo shrimp, scallops, and grouper in a lime infusion; "Rainbow" ceviche–tuna, salmon and grouper served with mangos, avocados, red onion, corn and tomatoes, and the Green Tomatillo Grouper ceviche with grilled pineapples and peppers.
Cordero also expects the Puerto Rican alcapurrias – green plantains filled with beef picadillo served with jalapeno chimichurri salsa – to be a big hit. Additional lunch options include a variety of sandwiches from the South Beach Cuban and Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich served with jerk sauce to the Puerto Rican "Tripleta Sandwich"–c ubed skirt steak, smoked ham and roasted pork served with monterey jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, shoestring fries, mayonnaise and ketchup on Cuban bread. Lunch hours are Monday through Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner: Entrees that caught my eye are the “House Specialty” Puerto Rican style suckling pork, slow cooked for 48 hours, the "Gaucho Mixed BBQ"–skirt steak, chicken breast and chorizo served with chimichurri sauces, and the seared Ahi Tuna served with pineapple salsa and a touch of soy sauce. Dinner hours are Sunday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The upstairs bar and lounge is open every day of the week from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
A Sunday brunch menu will be added within the next few weeks.
Cordero promises a mix of entertainment on the weekends from international and salsa music to a live Cuban band once a month. The restaurant offers a Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with drink and appetizer specials. The restaurant's website is still under construction. Phone 571-233-3128.