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Get the crazy (big) pineapple ceviche at Las Brasas 

click to enlarge Incorporating bits of the pineapple adds a cooling tongue sting, and the whole giant affair feels light and beach-town true.
  • Incorporating bits of the pineapple adds a cooling tongue sting, and the whole giant affair feels light and beach-town true.

Open just over a month in the former Springs Palace event center, Las Brasas fills its huge space with Mexican music from a makeshift DJ booth, a bunch of cloth-covered six-top tables and booths, and oversized picture menus listing items not typically seen at the Springs’ multitude of Tex-Mex spots.

In other words, it proves refreshing even before my horchata even hits the table, hyper-sweet like everyone likes it (liquor license coming soon). Complimentary salsa includes lentils (huh — that actually works) and sharp red onions. And my Piña Loca, ($18.50, enough for two to three meals) fills a halved, cored pineapple (chunks on the side garnished with Tajín) with both cured (aguachile) and poached shrimp and a cold ceviche mix that includes chewy octopus and conch bits, plus cucumber for extra freshness and avocado for a creamy complement.

Just after I’ve ordered it, chef/co-owner Carlos Chavarria, formerly of Sabrosos taco truck locally, appears for what I call the “gringo warning,” to inquire if that’s what I want, because the dish is “really spicy,” he says, noting Thai hot peppers in his chile pepper blend. “Perfect,” I say, and find it at a good, but nowhere near overwhelming, heat level. Incorporating bits of the pineapple adds a cooling tongue sting, and the whole giant affair feels light and beach-town true.

I leave looking forward to returning to try more of the menu. 

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