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Feb 1, 2007 11:02 AM

Anyone been to Manos Latinos in Wilmington yet?

The News Journal raved about the food. I'm probably going there tomorrow but wonder if anyone here has beaten me to it.

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  1. Never been. It's hard to tell with the NJ reviews these days although Eric Ruth is a good judge of food. Some of the other reviewers are one step up from Rachael Ray (i.e. it's all good). Having gone tried Ciavelita, the Filipino place in Prices Corner that the NJ liked, and had an enirely forgettable meal, who knows. But do post if the food there is good, as it does seem to be very intriguing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluehensfan

      OK, I'll be there tonight so will report back. I do usually agree with Eric Ruth--he's not the kind of guy that raves about everything. He also gives a big caveat about the atmosphere (dive-esque) which to me is usually a good sign...for instance I liked Kahl-Bee better in their old location with the unheated bathroom that you had to walk through the kitchen to get to!

    2. Yeah I do miss the old Kahl Bee myself. Is it me or are they trying to do too much with the food these days?

      1 Reply
      1. re: bluehensfan

        The food's still good IMO, but they did take a lot of things off the menu when they replaced the old photocopied version with the pretty-pictures laminated one. With the space prettied up for the non-Korean customer base, it seems like the menu's also been dumbed down (and de-spiced, which is a big minus). I just felt like it had more of a cool recent-immigrant vibe before. Pilipino Grocery still has that, God love 'em. It looks like Manos will be the same.

      2. OK, I went over to the restaurant last night with two friends. I apologize to the owners for getting the name wrong in my post title--it's Manos Latina. I wish I could edit that, but I can't.

        Anyway, the place was quite nice and a lot spiffier, decor-wise, than Eric Ruth would have you believe. It's not exactly the Four Seasons, but then again, it's not the old Kahl-Bee either. There are about 10 tables, with tablecloths, and there's a small display of grocery items from Peru in the back also.

        Food-wise, our dishes ran from super-tasty to just good. For starters, we got the papas huancainas (boiled potatoes with a creamy sauce) and a ceviche-like dish (sorry, can't remember the name but it started with a "T"). The first was good but not memorable--I've made this myself and like my version better--but the second was really delicious. The sauce for the raw fish strips was good and spicy, with a creamy consistency, and the fish was fresh. For entrees, I ordered arroz con pato but ended up with arroz con pollo since they didn't have duck. The chicken was excellent, nicely roasted, but the rice was on the salty side. One of my companions got arroz verde with squid, which was the star of the night--the rice was really flavorful and well seasoned with cilantro, and the squid rings were perfectly cooked. The third entree was steamed fish with a tomato-based sauce and vegetables. The fish was prepared to a perfect level of doneness, and the sauce was fresh and light, but my friend found this dish salty too. We mentioned this to the owner, so hopefully, he'll take note.

        For dessert we split one order of flan, which was the weakest point of the meal--it was served in a plastic Dixie cup, was on the dense side, and didn't have any caramel topping, kind of a letdown. The restaurant could do a lot more with desserts--I've had some great ones in Lima, so I know Peruvian cuisine has good options.

        Overall, the food was good enough that we will definitely be going back to sample more, particularly the seafood. Service was extremely friendly although slightly forgetful--you may have to ask for some things twice, but when you get them, they come with a smile. The Lima-born owner, who took our order, was very helpful with deciphering the menu and making recommendations. He'd clearly gotten some mileage out of the DNJ review (most of the other diners in the restaurant last night were not Hispanic and seemed to be first-timers) and is doing his best to generate repeat business.

        The menu is extremely heavy on seafood--about 95%, I'd say--so if you don't like fish or shellfish, you probably won't be super happy at this restaurant. Also, it's a good idea to have more than one choice picked out, because chances are something you want will not be available (three out of our first five orders!)

        1. Thanks for the review. I will give it a try.