Customers can expect a new vibe "immediately" at Sirena Cocina Latina, which has just reopened, according to manager Michael Zenteno. The Latin eatery in Little Italy was closed at the beginning of February for a bright remodel that also features a fresh new menu.
When Sirena Cocina first opened in November 2014, it sparked attention simply because it offered something quite different from what most diners expected in Little Italy. Executive Chef Jaime Chavez had a flair for creating dynamic dishes with the freshest seafood possible and impeccable presentation, and Sirena quickly earned some street cred in a neighborhood known primarily for pizza and pasta. However, Zenteno, Chavez and the rest of the staff saw an opportunity to slightly shift their concept and attract a wider group of diners.
Zenteno encouraged new and regular customers to "be part of the amazing movement we intend on bringing to the neighborhood." He said they decided the remodel was needed to further embrace the neighborhood and establish Sirena Cocina as a friendly, comforting and welcoming space. One change to the restaurant is its physical layout. "[There will be] more colors and a more casual, welcoming environment," said Zenteno.
Chavez continues to impress with his inventive Latin American-inspired dishes, focusing on fresh ingredients and full-flavored cuisine. "Our identity will always be our fresh ingredients and Latin American flavor, including our ceviche," Zenteno said. But the menu is expanding and adding comfort cuisine-with a twist. Some of the new dishes Chavez has created include a Crab Chowder Gratin, Lima-Style Chicharrón Sliders and Seafood Wings with habanero parsley aioli.
The focus at Sirena Cocina is still on celebrating and sharing the vibrant Latin American culture. Chef Chavez's Chilean background will influence many menu items, but they'll look to the rest of South America and Latin America for a variety of unique flavors.
Zenteno and the staff at Sirena Cocina look forward to their new start. "[We're excited] to take an already amazing concept and make it extraordinarily bright and fun for Little Italy," he said.
Sirena Cocina Latina, 1901 Columbia St., Little Italy. sirenagourmet.com