San Antonio.- Peruvian-styled ceviche is one of the specialties of Chef Waldo Castro. The chef has made quite a name for himself in the city with his bold personality and delicious Latin American dishes. (Photo, Amanda Lozano)
Price range: $-$$
Ceviche de Waldito isn’t one isn’t one of those high-end trendy restaurants. Located in a shopping strip that’s seen better days on Evers Rd., you aren’t going to find the posh crowd even wanting to hang out in the area. What you will find however, is some of the best food and some of the best, if not best customer service in the city.
“I just love people, and I love cooking. It’s my passion,” Chef Waldo “Waldito” Castro said.
Originally a native from Peru, Waldo has been an executive chef in numerous high-end hotels throughout the world. His specialty is Peruvian and Caribbean food. He decided to make his home in San Antonio.
Ceviche de Waldito is tiny, 12 tables make up the dining area, but it is comfy. Classic music of Cuba, Peru and Puerto Rico fill the air. Sones Cubanos, Cumbias, Jaropos and Samba fill the air and give the place a feeling not unlike being at home.
Castro has made quite a name for himself in the city, and over 50 plaques of his achievements adorn the wall He’s really proud of his service and contributions to the city. He regularly hosts festivals to raise funds for cancer research.
“We began with nothing. We had $140 dollars and a dream. We started this place using paper plates, paper forks. People would judge, but they’d taste the food and come back,” Waldo said. “In three years, we’ve grown and have plates, and silverware, cloth napkins. We even have a catering service. We have been very blessed,”
Despite his fame, Castro says he won’t make a bigger shop. He is completely satisfied with what he has, and according to him, that’s the way it should be.
Waldo and his lovely wife, Josephina, do everything they can to make the customer feel good. When he isn’t at the buffet serving, or cooking in the back, he’s out cajoling with his customers, going table to table. His bold personality and confidence can win over even the most uptight person. Castro is a dynamic person, but he prefers to let his food speak for itself.
At a mere $6.99, you can order the lunch buffet which includes roasted chicken and pork, two types of rice and beans, fried plantains, three kinds of soup. Everything is delicious, but my personal favorite dish of the buffet was the Peruvian tamal: it is much like the Mexican equivalent, but is wrapped in banana leaves. Chef Castro uses chicken and pork as his meat. Additionally, dessert and unlimited tea come with the buffet. Flan, fruit and cookies are among some of the desserts.
If pork and chicken isn’t your cup of soup, consider trying the ceviche. It is lavishly decorated, and wonderful as a standalone dish. The fish used is perfectly bite sized, and the fresh vegetables, (including yuca) used as garnish really add to the lemony flavor of the dish.
The portions Castro serves are generous, so don’t expect to leave unsatisfied.
“Lo que tengo que hacer es cuidar a la gente. Ya no existe, ya perdido el customer service. Just because I’m a chef doesn’t mean I charge a lot. Good food, low price.” Chef Waldo said.
You can visit Chef Waldo and try his Peruvian creations at 5526 Evers Rd.
Amanda Lozano is a reporter for La Prensa de San Antonio. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.