Puro Peru - Sunnyvale
Puro Peru replaced another Peruvian restaurant at this same location a few months ago. We went there tonight for the first time and had perhaps the best Peruvian food we've tasted in Silicon Valley.
We started by splitting a Papa a la Huancaina appetizer. This is the best version of this dish I have had in my admittedly limited experience. The aji amarillo sauce was a real star.
I really enjoyed my Arroz con Mariscos entree. Isabella's has a nice version too, but I liked this one a bit better, with a deeper aji planca rice taste. The portion was big but didn't seem quite as gargantuan as Isabella's. My wife really liked her Chupe de Camarones, a rich soup with shrimp, egg, and lots of starches.
We had a bottle of Peruvian beer and a glass of Peruvian Syrah, and both were very tasty and went fine with the food.
I hope this place does better business at lunch, and also when the weather isn't quite as dreary. It's located in the far end of the same Lakewood Plaza on Lawrence north of 101 that houses Giovanni's Pizza and at least a couple of Asian restaurants. The food deserves a bigger audience. They're listed on OpenTable, which is how I found them.
1161 N Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Nazca in downtown San Jose whetted my appetite fpr Peruvian cuisine. Now, I have found what I consider a gem in an unlikely spot -- the Lakewood Shopping Center along Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale. I have been to Puro Peru four times, and I'm hooked.
The food has that special Peruvian blend of native and Asian influence (e.g., the use of ginger and soy sauce and stir-frying) with an emphasis on seafood. I have been there only for lunch, although it appears the menu is the same at dinner. There was no mention of a special on the last visit, unlike previous times. There's no shortage of choices on the menu.
The grilled pescado a la plancha is my favorite -- simply prepared and nicely seasoned. i would ask for their salsa in lieu of the salad that accompanies this entree. The salsa would perk up the fish. The arroz con mariscos (Peruvian paella) was quite good. The other day, I tried aguadito de mariscos, a meal in a bowl. The broth was unmistakably cilantro-based (see photo below), and it worked nicely with the variety of seafood and rice. My co-workers' orders of lomo saltado and fetuccini a la Huancaina were also winners.
The one negative isn't the food. it's the TV set suspended over a corner table that blares music videos of Peruvian singers across the dining room. It's annoying and way too loud. It's a carry-over from the previous ownership.
Puro Peru is reasonably priced (in the $12-$14 range for seafood entrees) and worth the drive. A neighborhood restaurant that shines.
1161 N Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Of the items we've tried so far, the appetizers outshine the entrees.
The Piqueo de Tres Sabores consists of Ceviche de Pescado, Choros a la Chalaca and Tiradito de Pescado, a good sized portion of each for $18. The fish is cut larger than I'm used to, resembling a white eraser that's been split lengthwise in two. The flesh is nicely firm, which I enjoyed, but others might find a bit much. It wouldn't work as sushi, but somehow, with the lime juice and/or aji amarillo, it comes together. The mussels are very meaty, and there's also a good sized serving of choclo (large corn kernels). Great flavors on everything.
The Choros a la Prodensal is basically a hybrid of the mussels and the tiradito in the Tres Sabores. 6 large mussels for $9. Yummy. They also put some choclo in, which was appreciated.
The Pulpo Bebe a la Parilla was absolutely delicious, minimally seasoned so the octopus and grill flavors really came through. Unfortunately, there were only 4 baby octopi for $12.
We've had the Arroz con Mariscos a couple times, and it's a good, but not obscene, sized serving. For some reason, the seafood always comes served under the rice, so at first glance, it just looks like a plate of fried rice. Good flavor. The shrimp are tail-on.
The Lomo Saltado was a disappointment, because it only had 5 finger-sized pieces of meat. Otherwise, it was tasty.
The Peruvian Grilled Chicken had a great flavor from the spice rub, but was dry. The fries were very similar to MacDonalds in size and color.
We'll definitely go back to try the Tiradito en Crema de Rocoto and the Pulpo al Olivo, which they were out of.