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Picca

Went for the first time tonight. The place was jammed. Food was wonderful. Service was great (ask for Olive). We had one cocktail (Pisco sour), three glasses wine, ate like pigs, two coffees and split and desert - $116. One of the most interesting and best meals we have had in a long time. Pretty amazing all around considering that they haven't been open for a week.

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Picca
9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

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  1. I was there tonight as well. My second time in 5 days. Concur on all your points.

    Different between tonight and Satuday night - is on Saturday they would bring you one plate at a time. So it felt more like a tasting menu. This time they'd serve you as it came up. Sometimes there were three items on the table. Prefer one at a time, not a dealbreaker. I might ask next time if the can pace it out so we can focus on one dish at a time. Had the churros again and this time they were crispier than before. No complaints at all.

    12 Replies
    1. re: foodiemahoodie

      Kevin Eats has a lot of pics and descriptions of his recent trip to Picca. I'd heard he ordered 40 things on the menu with his crew of four eaters - but I count an even 50 on the site.

      http://www.kevineats.com/

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      Picca
      9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

        1. re: Johnny L

          ...which is pretty much par for the course for him.

        2. re: foodiemahoodie

          It was indeed the entire menu at 50 courses. Not an easy feat mind you, even with a team of four hungry eaters! Here are my favorite courses from each section of the menu:

          1: papa rellena, jalea mixta, choritos, chicharron de pollo
          2: albacore, scallops, chicken, ceviche mixto, ceviche crocante, oysters a la chalaca
          3: pollo, papa a la huancaina, black cod, santa barbara prawns, alitas de pollo, corazon
          4: arroz con erizo, seco de pato, arroz chaufa de mariscos, chicharron de costillas
          5: lemon tart, churros

          Direct link: http://www.kevineats.com/2011/06/picc...

          1. re: kevin h

            Thanks to Kevin for your review! It was really helpful for me as I studied it before we went last night, and we ordered many of your recs. The dishes featured such refreshing tastes and flavors -- I think my favorite was the seabass ceviche, which was also my favorite at Mo Chica. I can't wait to go back to try the rest of the menu (we had 18 items for three people, I think).

            1. re: kevin h

              Don't suppose you could convince Bill Chait and Richard to consider repainting the exterior of the building - you need sunglasses just to drive by, and if parking, well....
              Blinding gets a new definition.
              But can't wait to try Zarate's food.

              1. re: carter

                Good point. When you walk out - you are literally blinded by the flood lights. And you're walking down stairs too. It's not safe.

                1. re: foodiemahoodie

                  Straight in the eyes. Makes me feel kinda empathetic for celebs being strobed by the paparazzi.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    Those lights are going to get someone killed one night. A lady exited the restaurant in front of me, caught the light in the eyes, raised her hand for protection and looked away, proceeded down the stairs somewhat shaken, and missed the last step - it's an odd 1/3 of a step. I helped her up and she said that she couldn't see very well after catching the flood light in the face. She probably was temporarily blinded by the sudden burst of light. The steps are just about black which exacerbates this situation at night. As much as I love this place, Picca should reconsider the current configuration of the flood lights.

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      Don't worry. This thread will be front and center in the wrongful injury suit that is filed for the "career" ending knee mangling that takes out some poor, unsuspecting, blinded patron of Picca as they take the ultimate header outside their front door...

              2. re: kevin h

                Thanks for posting your review on your site as well as listing your favorites above. We tried (I think) fifteen plates - most from your list - and truly enjoyed just about all of them. Stand-outs for me were the jalea mixta, choritos, chicharon de pollo (the rocotto sauce!); papa a la huancaina, albacore causa, SB prawns (amazing), corazon, ceviche criollo, oysters; arroz con erizo, and the special of the night, 32-ounce ribeye - wonderful flavor and texture. The one slight letdown for me was the black cod. I think it's just a personal preference, preferring the Japanese kasuzuke style. Still, it is well worth it for fish lovers to order this.

                The sauces were perfect in flavor, texture and heat; the saucing was just enough to accent yet not overpower. The seafood tasted very fresh - the arroz con erizo benefited from this as the mixed seafood and the uni contributing to the sauce made this dish sing of the sea.

                We usually have beer (by default) with Peruvian cuisine - wine would be our choice - but we actually stuck with the cocktails this time around. It's obvious that all the cocktails on their menu had a fair amount of thought and focus in creating them (props to Julian Cox). We had the Pisco Sour, Chilcano De Anis, Avocado Project, and Christopher Oaxacan. While enjoying all of them for different reasons, I think the real star was the Chilcano De Anis. The lime juice, ginger and anise syrups, and the pisco pulled together in this drink, and the garnish of fresh mint on top literally hits the nose with each sip. I also was impressed with the Christopher Oaxacan - very complex, a little smoke, tart and a subtle flower/lavender bouquet.

                Service was very cordial and attentive. Our server was Molly - such a warm and personable person who was very helpful in assisting us through the menu. The front end staff was great in general.

                It feels like Ricardo Zarate has finally not only spread open his wings but has taken full flight. Picca seems to have all the things needed to really showcase his talents and love for his craft. Peruvian cuisine finally might get the exposure and respect that it deserves.

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                Picca
                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  My brother-in-law was in town and can't get enough Peruvian food, so we went back to Picca. We ordered twenty-some odd dishes, and these are the dishes we didn't try on our first visit:

                  Choritos were really good - I'm okay with mussels, but this preparation killed any other versions we've had. My daughter wouldn't let the server take away the plate - she used the mussel shell to scoop up just about every last drop of the broth/sauce.

                  Grilled vegetable salad was delicious - nothing extraordinarily different about it but was grilled perfectly and served with a salad of dressed baby greens.

                  Causas: Yellowtail, scallop and crab are very small, and are okay. Of the three, I lean toward the crab.

                  Tres Leche de Tigre was a trio of small shooters - liquified quail egg, uni and emulsified salsa rocoto - it was a miss on our table. Tons of flavor but I think those would be better used as sauces as condiments.

                  Yellowtail ceviche was good, but I like yellowtail for its unctuous richness. The brightness of the lime juice kinda killed this for me. Everyone else enjoyed it.

                  Anticuchos camote were tasty - skewered chunks of yam with just a hint of chile kick.

                  Anticuchos tomato were also very good. Sweet tangy cherry tomatoes grilled, then topped with burrata and a minty pesto sauce.

                  Anticuchos portabello was also a hit. Lightly sauced and lots of umami - substantial enough for a vegetarian alternative for a "meat" course.

                  Anticuchos beef filet has a subtle but nice uni glazing on it - this goes well with the chile-inflected marinade.

                  Alitas de pollo are marinated basted chicken wings prepared anticuchos-style. Thoughts? Peruvian cuisine has chicken nailed down - delicious. This dish alone was a franchise-maker for me.

                  Chicharron de costillas is a section of ficelle-type bread that's been lightly "crostinied" and topped with deboned pork rib and some other goodies. Kinda like bite-sized open-faced pork rib sandwich Peruvian-style. I think I'd order two next time - really good.

                  Locro de quinoa was a pumpkin stew with quinoa. I was reluctant to order this because quinoa hasn't been big on my hit list, but this dish pulls a lot of disparate components together for another hit dish. As with the choritos, my daughter did the honor of wiping the plate clean.

                  Chanfainita is a braised oxtail with small diced potatoes served on some sort of rice or grain. It's tiny, but packed with beef flavors. Another hit.

                  The cheesecake is infused with chile powder. Taken in little bites, it's an interesting twist on cheesecake, but the heat can catch one off guard. It's subtle at first but the tiny flecks of chile can ignite on the back of the tongue.

                  I'm surprised that on our two visits, we didn't see one group with kids. Our kids really like this place, Picca seemed fine with our kids, and I'd think the small plates concept works well with kids in general - never a dull moment for them. Just wondering out loud...

          2. I thought the food was great and am excited to have this new option in town. I did think that the service was a bit rushed though and felt they were trying to move us out of there as quickly as possible. Small plate meals are all about taking your time and enjoying the food and conversation so that wasnt really appreciated. I will be back though in the hopes that this was just a one-off bad server.

            1. Went to Picca on Saturday and LOVED IT! Everything was great, the cocktails were amazing.
              Had several inticuchos, corazon, scallops, beef, chicken wings, cod, shrimp. The scallops, corazon and cod were my favs, but love the other ones.

              Also had the ceviche crocante, really yummy. The yellowtail causa, really good, oysters were amazing. Jalea mixta was fine, but not as exciting as other options. Arroz de erizo was delish.

              Can't wait to go back! So great. We sat at the bar and I really liked it, it was fun to see the bartenders making those amazing drinks. Our bill was pretty high $180, but i think it was because of the cocktails, we had 2 each.

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              Picca
              9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

              1. Hi all, planning on going to Picca for the first time.

                any cons to just sitting at the bar for a full dinner meal? Its just 2 of us.

                Sometimes I like sitting at the bar to watch all the action (espcially if its more of a small plates deal).

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                Picca
                9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                1 Reply
                1. re: samtron608

                  We've been a few times and have always sat at the tables, but I kinda wished we sat at the bar at least once - never hurts to learn a few more techniques from the pros. There's an item on the drink menu where you literally buy the kitchen staff a beer. It's pretty reasonable - I think six or seven bucks - and who knows - maybe your tip of the hat to them will be returned in kind.

                2. I'm a little late to the party, but we were a party of 4 at Picca last week and it was a sublime experience. The avocado cocktail was velvety (I only got a taste, since I ordered the Meyer Lansky).

                  The small plates were sumptuous. We went through 14 dishes for the group but probably could have done with 11. The carapulcra---roasted black cod---was an amazing mouthful, as was a daily special vegetable stew. The sushi-like causas were divine, served on a cake made of potatoes. We enjoyed everything from salad to skewers and mussels.

                  We dined upstairs which was somewhat quieter and were seated next to A-list celebrities who had some privacy upstairs.