Pardo's - Coral Gables
We'd been meaning to try this place for a while but like all new restaurants in Miami construction took longer than expected until one day, poof, it's open. Went on Saturday for lunch and expected the place to be more of a Chicken Kitchen type of place (Pardo's is a famed chain of Peruvian a la brasa chicken place). Instead it's a casual restaurant with a modern decor but rustic menu. Mostly everything revolves around the roasted chicken, and it should. The Colonel can keep his eleven herbs and spices, I'll take Pardo's. I'll also take the spit roasted chicken over fried any day. The skin was crispy and the meat tendery, juicy and not dry in the least. Sides include fried yuca, fries, plantains along with tacu tacu, a mash of rice, beans and aji amarillo rolled into a cigar and pan seared.
Food was excellent, service was great, prices are a little high ($9 for a quarter chicken and 1 side) but the quality of the food was worth it. Hopefully they'll get more locations around Miami as it's a perfect place for a casual but solid lunch or dinner.
We tried Pardo's for lunch yesterday and the food was decent but the experience was very hit-or-miss. I started with an app of anticuchos, here 2 generous skewers of marinated grilled beef heart, accompanied with choclo (the freaky-looking Peruvian corn with the gigantic kernels, like corn on steroids). So far so good (though the rest of my group was not nearly as enamored as I was of eating beef heart). There's little dishes of an aji amarillo sauce along with another creamy sauce on the table for saucing.
Most of our group got some variation on the chicken a la brasa, though one got the chicken over cilantro rice, and I got the chicken "a la pobre". For stuff which is for the most part presumably pre-prepared (they are not roasting chickens to order), it took forever to get our order out - at least half an hour. When it came, the roasted chickens were just fine, sides of tacu tacu were decent (here done in little croqueta-sized torpedos), the chicken w/ cilantro rice had way too much rice to chicken.
The chicken "a la pobre" was a neat dish, a torpedo of tacu tacu topped with a maduro, a slice of grilled chicken, a quail egg, and some pickled red onion (3 of these assemblages to an order for about $9) - unfortunately my chicken came out very pink and "medium rare." Hard to understand how it could have gone out of the kitchen that way given that it had obviously started as one whole breast which had been cut into 3 pieces for plating (displaying its pinkness for all to see). When I sent it back they seemed puzzled about what to do about it, first offering me a 1/4 chicken instead, then bringing me back a new dish (this time cooked properly). Despite the complications, it turned out to be pretty good (and they took it off our bill).
The pricing scheme is completely incomprehensible. A 1/4 chicken with one side is around $9 (pretty steep). A 1/2 chicken with one side is around $11 (huh? if a 1/4 chicken is only $2, and most of the sides are $4, why is a 1/4 chicken with one side $9?). A whole chicken with 4 sides is $30 (what what what?).
A small side note - the iced teas we ordered were undrinkable instant stuff, and it then took 10 minutes to replace them with something drinkable.
The place is a sit-down, waiter-service place (with, for the most part, prices to match) but the food overall struck me as take-out, order-at-the-register Chicken Kitchen quality. Overpriced for what it is, and I really don't need or care about having table service for this kind of food. For my money, I'd just as soon get a whole chicken at Edy's around the corner from my house for about $18 and pick it apart at home - plus get their awesome green sauce too.
Around the corner from me on 79th Street Causeway, Edy's (another Peruvian chicken place by way of Fall Church, Virginia, oddly enough) does a nice whole chicken for around $16 with one side and a small salad. And they have this awesome spicy green sauce. Not much variety in sides, though, either fried plantains, fried yuca or a Peruvian potato salad. How was the tacu tacu at Pardo's?
Actually went there myself on Saturday night. As far as I am concerned, the tacu-tacu was not their strong suit. It came shaped like 4 sausages and was a bit too bland in flavor for me. I far prefer their cilantro rice, french fries, or most any other side. Also they had a sort of green sauce (not the traditional spicy one) that was excellent with the chicken. I do agree with the rest of lax2miami's post and add that the service was not simply great, but great and prompt.
Also, for a strong peruvian experience (Pardo's is good but doesn't feel like "Peruvian") I would strongly recommend Aromas del Peru on 8th Street and about 58th avenue. Fantastic food, spicy green sauce is there (though creamier than usual), and giant portions for the price. You can definitely get away with sharing for the price.
5 years ago, I had the chance to visit Lima, and wanted to try out the famous "pollos a las brasas", I was recomended to go to Pardos Chicken at a shopping mall on the coast of Miraflores. The chicken was so delicious we returned 4 more times before coming back to the US!!!. Let me tell you that once we saw the news that Pardos Chicken had opened in Coral Gables we could not wait! We went and the experience was extraordinary, from the moment we entered the restaurant we noticed the places my husband and I had visited 5 years ago in the giant picture they have hanging on the wall. The ambience of the place was just excellent, different of what we remembered in Lima but really cousy, modern, different with a distinctive look that could be easily compared to any modern casual dining at any big city in the U.S. The waiter that served us was very much familiar with the restaurants in Lima and talked us through the whole menu, since we noticed they had new items in the menu we had not tried in Lima. Once the chicken got tou oru table, let me tell you we had the big surprise that the chicken was as good, or even better than the one we tried out in Peru. Since our return from Peru we have tried every peruvian chicken in miami, but it was not until now that we found the same flavor we tasted in Lima, in a well decorated restaurant with outstanding service. Something really new and perfect for Miami, we hope this chain opens up more restaurants in the following years, and seems to be, since the place was packed from the moment we entered until the moment we left, and there was even a party of 8 people waiting outside, having some "Chicha morada" another specialty drink you must not miss !!!! We highly recommend Pardos Chicken! the whole experience: new delicious flavors, a very distintive ambience and the perfect service you expect!