Los Andes - Minneapolis
As I was driving down Lake Street last night, I noticed a sign for a restaurant called "Los Andes." (It's on the south side of the street, I think near Grand.) The sign said it served Ecuadorian and Colombian food.
I've never noticed it before, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been there for years. Has anyone tried it?
It opened a couple of months ago. Before that, it was the Somali-run Banaadir Coffee, which also served food in its later days. I ate there a few weeks back and it was ok. (I keep meaning to post a question about all the Ecuadorian restaurants in South Minneapolis, since there are several and I don't know much about Andean cuisine in general.)
The menu offers a variety of plates that generally include some combination of meat (beef, chicken, goat, fish), rice, plantains, french fries, eggs and salad. There are also some soups/stews, a vegetarian plate, and what basically amounts to South American fried rice. Additionally, there are emanadas, fried sweet and green plantains, and arepas.
We tried the goat stew, the fried rice dish, fried sweet plantains and cheese empanadas. The goat stew, served with white rice, shredded lettuce and tomato, was perfectly fine, but nothing exciting. The rice dish had bits of chicken, pork and shrimp in it, but was rather indistinguishable from the average plate of fried rice from a Chinese take out. The plantains were great, salty and fried-y and a little sweet. Empanadas could be made with meat or cheese, and we had the cheese version, sprinkled with a bit of sugar on top. Given that I like anything resembling a dumpling or wrapped in dough and fried, these were a treat, although I think it was merely mozzarella cheese inside. The real highlight of the meal however, was a little jar of pale orange homemade hot sauce that was heavy on the onions and made everything really tasty.
The staff was really friendly, happy to answer any questions, and there seemed to be folks who spoke English if that is ever a concern.
Better late than never. We finally made it to Los Andes. Overall, we thought this was a lovely, affordable meal. I ordered the #12, which was grilled flank steak, served with potatoes (literally, just a couple of hunks of red potato) and a couple of hunks cassava root. Though, the potato and cassava root were unseasoned, the steak was deliciously seasoned and very tender--so, I just mopped up the steak seasoning with my potato and cassava root. Served medium rare, just as I asked. Also, a side of butter rice and beans. The beans were kind of boring, but hearty, and I scarfed them anyway. I had a nice glass of red wine.
My dining companion ordered the goat--#20 or #21, which came with stewed goat, a grilled plantain, butter rice, and a little salad. The goat was sweetish and very tender--must have been slowcooked all day. Relatively small portion size, but, still enough food. He had a Heineken.
They brought an orange aji salsa to our table that we tried on various things. Nice kick.
Overall, very pleasant meal. Good value. I really want to go back and try the arepas and the empanadas (were egg-shaped deep-fried things instead of triangular things I'm used to), but don't know when I get back. Though we loved it, the drive across town is a bit of a pain and there are so many places we want to try that we haven't been to yet.
#1 aji salsa
#2 flank steak entree
#3 beans and rice (come with the flank steak)
#4 stewed goat entree