Ceiba is one of several restaurants owned by Jeff Tunks in Washington, DC, the most well-known of which was the now shuttered Ten Penh and my favorite of the group. Ceiba has a Latin American theme and you can choose to sit in the bar or lounge and have appetizers, or enjoy a full dinner in the dining room.
We did both. We ordered several appetizers at the bar and then had our entrees at a table. Appetizers in the bar, especially at Happy Hour (which is all night on Sundays) is the way to go. You just can’t beat $5 Caipirinhas, $6 tuna sliders (3 per order), $5 ceviche or $6 chipotle chicken quesadillas. We also sampled tuna tartare taquitos…and had our eye on a Cubano sandwich and shrimp and crab nachos but restrained ourselves in favor of ordering off the dinner menu.
Black bean soup is a staple of Latin American cuisine, but this rendition was only passable. Needed some sherry or hot peppers, both of which are often accompaniments. The grilled lobster enchiladas were interesting, matching the crustacean with spinach and chile de arbol sauce. My seared tuna was served with a crab and black bean tostada and serrano ginger vinaigrette, and was pleasant enough but couldn’t compare to other meals that I had devoured over my weekend in DC.
The restaurant is quite large and there are rooms suitable for whatever mood you happen to be in. I imagine the lounge, with its comfortable chairs and big windows is a big draw on weekends. Even without the Happy Hour prices, that’s the menu I’d stick with if I go back.