Wednesday, July 22, 2015

La Picantería

My big adventure today was going to the grocery store and to the bank, after a week of not being able to walk to or from either, even though they are quite close to our building.  I made it, but it was hard.

Fortunately, my outing earlier in the day was much easier and much more pleasant: lunch at La Picantería, in Surquillo.

La Picantería is the second restaurant (well, third, if you take into account that his other one has two locations -even though one was started by his parents) by chef Héctor Solís.

With La Picantería, Solís entered the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list for the second time (the first being with his other restaurant, Fiesta).  La Picantería was included at no. 31, which is a great accomplishment for a retaurant that just opened its doors in 2012!

La Picantería's food is traditional Peruvian, with a north coast influence --Solis' family is from Chiclayo-- and I must say it is just fantastic and fun.   All dishes are intended for sharing while seated at long communal tables.

There is no set menu, and the offerings change daily and written on chalkboards.  Fish is displayed on ice at the counter and is bought whole, by weight, and cooked as requested by the diner, or even in a combination of dishes.

The restaurant has a deal to get the day's catch directly from the fishermen, bypassing the markets and even the fishing terminals, so that what arrives is the best, freshest catch, and which has gone through as few hands as possible.  And the quality of the fish even impressed Willy, who's fished recreationally for many decades up and down the coast.  He said, for example, that he had never encountered a cachema of the weight of the one we ate or the others on display.

We started our meal with a beef tongue stew, followed by a rocoto  relleno --a rocoto hot pepper stuffed with seasoned chopped beef and toped with cheese and a poached hen's egg-- set in a bowl of chupe soup.

Those were followed by a 1 kg cachema prepared in a sudado.

We had also ordered a rice dish, but given the size of the portions, we didn't have room, and luckily were able to cancel that order.

We did, however, share a serving of crema volteada -- basically a thick flan.

From the cancha given as a nibble while waiting, to the drinks, to every dish we ordered, there was not one that any of our party would have found lacking in any way.  The heat level, salt level were both just right. It didn't even occur to anyone to ask for aji, even though the dishes were not specially spicy on their own. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

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