John Curtas is …

When In Peru, Take A Peruvian

MI PERU SOUTH AMERICAN GRILL

ELV knows about as much about Peruvian food as he does about Ecuadorian encebollado — which is to say: not much. Having read Raymond Sokolov’s Why We Eat What We Eat years ago, we are aware that this mountainous region is largely credited with being the birthplace of everything from potatoes to peanuts, and that its cuisine is truly a global one — incorporating ingredients and techniques from Asia to Europe. There is also a strong Japanese influence in some of the fish dishes, and fried rice that’s a dead ringer for something you’d find in a Chinese restaurant.

They’re also big on potatoes and huge, starchy kernels of corn.

That being said, we knew enough to know what we don’t know, so we enlisted the help Tony Muccigrosso and his wife Shirley (a dyed-in-the-wool Peruvian) to help us order and eat a feast at Mi Peru.

And feast we did. On a tiradito that put anything at Sushi Samba to shame — so sharp, and peppery were its acidic accents (and so well-sliced the fish); an innocuous-sounding papa a la Huancaina (a simple boiled potato was made to sing with a mild, aji pepper, feta cheese and cream sauce (that was remarkably peppery and creamy without being cheesy); nice roasted chicken with rice; and a thin, tender, grilled beefsteak tallarines verdes with green noodles that everyone at our table fought over.

We weren’t as keen on the chaufa especial — a somewhat bland, combo fried rice dish that was mostly rice with specks of chicken, seafood and a few mussels decorating it, but even found the chica morada (a purple corn drink), and the bubble gum-smelling Inka Cola to our liking.

Shirley pronounced most of our dishes faithful renditions of the classics she grew up with, but husband Tony (no doubt knowing which side his anticuchos are sauced on), proclaimed her versions the superior ones.

One traditional item (thankfully) not on the menu was ceviche de pollo – raw chicken (yikes!) served in a light lime juice bath. Shirley said was a big hit in her family, but we at ELV decided that it sounded like an acquired taste best not to acquire.

Other than that, food here is (tastefully and intriguingly) all over the map. Whether your tastes run to fish, poultry, vegetables or beef; roasted to grilled meats; or light to heavy sauces; it’s a fair bet there’s a Peruvian concoction to pique your taste buds. So take the plunge and tell the Incas ELV sent ya!

Tony and Shirley picked up the tab (yuspagara Tony and Shirley!), but ELV can tell you that no entree (even the steaks) are over $16, and most dishes run between $10-$15, making a feast for two here well under fifty bucks.

MI PERU SOUTH AMERICAN GRILL

1450 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy Ste. B-314

Henderson, NV 89102

702.220.4652

www.miperugrill.com

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