When Bobby is not around, no reason on Earth could make you want to spend any time in this desolate gas station parking lot corner on the other side of a high fence from an MTA repair yard, especially on a hot summer day. But when this well-worn maroon van does pull in, bringing its valuable load of ceviche and clams, you forgive all the unwelcoming aspects of the location and settle in with friendly people and good fish.
The self-titled king of both ceviche and clams opens the back of the van and gets ready for customers daily sometime around mid-afternoon. I ask the official opening time and am told 1pm, but I was here at that time and found the lot empty, only a 95% eaten container of ceviche as a clue to what might be here later.
Chairs and tables brought to the site are placed in the sun, but Bobby comes prepared with some tents as well and you can eat in the shade. Apparently this has been happening for the past 43 years in the area, and by the looks of the van, it has served for most of this time proudly.
I take a look at the selections in the ceviche cooler and order the "11 Powers" ceviche ($10, below), which seems an obvious choice against the "7 Powers" option.
When ordering, at least half of a lime is squeezed into the mix if you like, and I think I would choose about half of that next time as my concoction was extremely tart. The hot sauce offered makes for a nice tickle of the mouth, and all the seafood inside seems nice and fresh. It is definitely a decent way to cool off on a hot and humid day in the city.
A man and woman run the show here, and neither of them is Bobby from what I gather. But no matter, they are both exceedingly nice, and "ta buena?" me before remembering I am not someone who appears to speak Spanish.
Other customers go for a platter of clams, all opened fresh.