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Great Peruvian Food with Great Friends

As if having Mexican for brunch on Saturday wasn't enough, Jenn, Anna and I went to a Peruvian Restaurant on Sunday after 4 hours of shopping: what can I say? It was a fun weekend! Jenn was the one who recommended Machu Picchu in Falls Church, VA, and we decided to trust her judgment, because she is the one who told me about my favorite sushi place: Yamazato. Once again, Jenn did not disappoint :)

The restaurant looked a bit questionable on the outside, but I guess just like when it comes to people, it's what on the inside that really counts. The menu was pretty long, and we were starving, so it was a nice touch when our waitress brought us a basket of fresh hot bread and a bowl of spicy green sauce.

Oh, here's a picture of Jenn and me (and my new red vest). The next photo shows some of the decor, and if you look closely, you can see a reflection of Anna (with her straight hair: super cute!) and Jenn in the mirror.

Luckily, all three of us love food and are quite happy to share different dishes. To start off, we ordered Ceviche Mixto: fish, shrimp, octopus and squid marinated in lemon juice, served with sweet potato and corn on the cob. The dish was lovely! I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. The seafood was well flavored, the sweet potato provided a nice balance to the lemon juice, but the corn was a bit starchy (it must have been a different type than the one we buy at the grocery store). Oh, and the amount of red onions was overwhelming: we left most of them on the plate. Still, a very promising start!

Instead of ordering an entree for each of us, we choose a chicken and a beef dish and also ordered a side of plantains. For the chicken we chose Pollo Saltado: fresh boneless chicken sauteed in olive oil with red onions and tomatoes and served with French fries, fresh herbs and white rice. For the beef we chose Seco de carne a la Huachana: pieces of beef in a stew flavored with cilantro, served with rice and beans. And of course there were the plantains.

As you can see by the last photograph above, we absolutely loved the food! The chicken (even though it was dark meat) was awesome. The seasoning reminded me of Russian shashlik. And of course I love anything with tomatoes and fries. The rice was cooked perfectly! I wish I was as capable.

The beef dish surprised us a bit: there were still bones in the pieces of meat, and there was a weird membrane on each side of the meat. However, once all that extra "stuff" was removed, the meat was tender and well seasoned! The beans, though, were the bomb! I think these were the best beans I've ever had [sorry, Laura :) ].

Alas, the plantains were a bit disappointing. I had plantains for the first time when I became friends with Laura, who is Puerto Rican. Every single time I visit her, she makes fried sweet plantains. She cuts them on a diagonal and then fries them in oil. They are so insanely good that we need to count the slices to make sure each one gets the same amount. The plantains in the restaurant were cut in half and then cooked. Maybe they weren't ripe enough or did not soak up enough oil, but they just did not taste quite right. Anna and Jenn, however, liked them.

We were pretty stuffed, but I never (or very rarely) say no to dessert. We chose fried doughnuts served soaked in a sweet syrup. Again, this dish reminded me of a Russian dish: ponchiki (fried doughnuts). I'm glad we chose just one order: any more, and we would have had to leave the food behind.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this restaurant to others. The service was courteous, but not intrusive, and the food was definitely solid.


Unknown said...

It sounds delish. I'll have to keep it in mind.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Thanks so much for the nice comment on my blog! Looks like you love good for just as much as I all of the photos!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like good eating was had by all. ;-)

Sorry about the plantain experience. Depends on who makes them. They are made several different ways. Probably you had green plantain (unripe plantain) as opposed to yellow plantain (ripe plantain). Everyone has a preference....

Vest looks nice on you. ;-)


BlueToYou said...

yumm!! never had peruvian food before but this was a nice introduction to it!

Cindy said...

I'm shocked that not one of your dishes had that funny corn with the humongous kernels! When we went there, everyone's dish came with it.

Glad you enjoyed, but disappointed that you didn't stop by and see us.

Anonymous said...

Having never had the opportunity of trying Peruvian food, I found your review educational and highly entertaining. Thank you. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that looks like wonderful food. I don't believe I have ever had peruvian food, and now I want to try it! I will have to do that some day.