finally! that little Peruvian place on Lombard & Ann!
After wondering what it was all about, I finally stopped in there this evening, since I needed to pick up a quick dinner.
Here's the scene:
Big corner bar space. Walk in, the place has a ton of tables, no one is there except a youngish woman and a child, her daughter perhaps. There is also a man, who I figure is the owner. I'm in my hi there, what do you have here, thought I'd stop by mode, and learned pretty much that they basically had Peruvian chicken. In fact, there were two cooked chickens sitting under a heat lamp, and the chicken rotiserie thing looked unused. I was, of course, leery, and asked how long the chicken had been there. Five to ten minutes, he assured.
I actually didn't really believe him, but ordered two quarter chickens with french fry and salad sides. (The only option, really, and he went to get the big bag of fries out of the freezer to fry me up some.)
Of course, while I was waiting, I starting to chit chat to find out everything I could. The only thing I know about Peruvian food, besides the chicken, is guinea pig. And yes, they have it, but only on Sundays, along with fried rabbit and beef hearts. I asked about expanding the menu, and the owner said, yes, next week they were going to add steak subs and chicken wings, although I had been thinking along the lines of rice and beans and plantains....
Anyway, got home and tried the chicken. And, of course, I realize that the owner didn't lie, and it was very, very good. (Well, maybe it really was pretty old, and the chicken is just THAT good?) In fact, it would stack up easily against Chicken Rico on Eastern. The salad and fries, of course, were nothing special. Also, it came with a hot sauce (I know it as the 'green' sauce from Chicken Rico, but this stuff was brown mustard color and incredibly HOT.)
The two quarter chickens with sides were a little under $5 each. Had to pick up an orange flavored carbonated bev too....and, well, they just made up the price. And, then they went down on their made up price. In any event, I paid $11 cash for two chicken meals, and an orange soda, and all parties were quite pleased.
The sister was curious why I knew so much about Peru. (I don't. But, it's amazing the amount of mileage one gets from mentioning Machu Picchu and guinea pig) and she told her brother something in Spanish and he poured me a big styrofoam cup of this beautiful deep magenta color liquid. I forget the name, but part of it is 'purple' in Spanish, and came with floating pieces of apple. The sister went to the kitchen and pulled out a package of dried purple corn on the cob, and said that it was made with that, and different fruits, and spices, such as cinnamon. I assume that people who are familiar with Peruvian food know this drink, but I thought it wonderful. Before I left, they filled up my cup. Lovely people.
Anyway, I'm not sure that this place will last. They have a lot of competition now on Upper Broadway on the rotisserie chicken front. But, I did like it, and, as long as they're around, I'll be happy to have a place in easy walking distance to grab a quick cheap meal, and maybe hear a story or two about Peru and starting out as an immigrant in the restaurant business in Baltimore!
And, finally, despite it being an old bar, there's no liquor license. But, I did ask about bringing in your own beer and wine, and, well, there is NO problem.
Actually Peruvian cuisine has a lot of diversity...their rotisserie chicken is just the tip of the iceberg. They have many influences, And if you have ever been to Lima you will see a nice wide range of restaurants featuring modern Peruvian cuisine, to European influenced, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, but the best may be the Spanish/and native Indian cuisine.
One Peruvian restaurant in Annandale Va. offers a glimpse into that style of cooking.
La Granja de Oro, is a very good place offering not only charcoaled chicken but other specialties such as Ceviche, anticuchos, Papa Relleno, and lomo saltado. All excellent dishes in their own right.
If you're ever in the area you should check it out.
The purple drink is called chichi morada. Uniquely refreshing. Often times the glory of South/Central American and Caribbean places is in the fabulous beverages. Pina, melon, ensalada, that 'spiced peach drink' from Bolivia, sorrel from Jamaica or Trinidad, horchata. Great stuff.