Mi Peru now open in Durham
I have been waiting for this!
From Greg Cox, N&O Mouthful blog.
Edwin Vergaray and Gladis Muñoz have opened Mi Peru in Durham, in the space formerly occupied by Rick’s Cafe (and more recently, Bear Rock Cafe). The native Peruvian husband-and-wife team share cooking duties, while their daughter, Lucila, manages the dining room.
Lucila Vergaray offers a hospitable welcome and enthusiastically answers questions about the menu, which serves up a broad sampling of traditional Peruvian fare from lomo saltado to jalea, a delightfully different pairing of fried seafood and salad in a single dish. The offering also includes three variations on the theme of Peru’s deservedly famous ceviches.
The owners imported a charcoal-burning rotisserie from Peru to make another of that country’s signature dishes, rotisserie-roasted chicken. Marinated overnight before slow-roasting, the birds are available whole or in entree portions with your choice of sides from a selection that includes yuca (fried or boiled), canary beans, and plantains (sweet or green, fried up crisp and salted).
You can also check the restaurant’s Facebook page ( facebook.com/miperucuisine) for daily specials such as Peruvian style pork chops and fried fish, most of which come with two sides for $7.99.
Mi Peru (4015 University Drive, Suite 1; 919-401-6432) is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 9 p.m.
Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Tune in to hear his radio show at 11 a.m. Saturdays on WPTF. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is over by Neo China if memory serves me correctly. If they are as good as mami nora's, I won't have to drive too far now to get such a yummy and inexpensive dinner/lunch.
My friend and I had lunch there today. It's still a work in progress. ABC license is not there yet,there were no soups, with some other missing menu items. The roast chicken with sides is very good, not in my view as good (crispy skin) as Mami Nora's, but still very moist and flavorful. Rice standard, as were the beans, cranberry not black, but creamy.
We did though have one of the greatest exchanges I've ever had with a server:
He: I'm not sure what that item on the menu is.
Me: Well, what about that other item?
He: I really don't know. It's Peruvian. I'm from Mexican, not Peru.
Ba da Bing!!
I'll return in a few weeks, since it's not expensive (my meal $7.95) and convenient.
I ordered takeout from Mi Peru on Friday, and I was really pretty pleased with it. The talapia ceviche was terrific. From now on, I'll probably be mostly considering this my go-to for a quick, light, ceviche lunch. It's the first time I've seen ceviche in this area that came garnished with cancha, the Peruvian toasted corn nuts that in my mind, totally makes it.
I would agree with wairas that the chicken is good, but not as good as Mami Nora's. The plantains are substantially less good than those found at Mami Nora's. However, I live 5 min away from Mi Peru, and substantially further from Mami Nora's, so I'll probably be visiting the former more than the latter.
Finally, I didn't notice if Mi Peru is making chichi morada, the dark purple blue corn and fruit punch. If not, I hope they'll add it to their menu. If you haven't had it, just trust me, it's way less weird than it sounds, and you should go get yourself an ice cold cup of it from Mami Nora's.
To answer my own question, it looks like they have daily specials, but you can always get the rotisserie chicken and the expected sides (rice/beans/plantains/fries/etc). I went in for lunch today and it was very good. The wait staff was very friendly. I was kind of concerned that there was only one other table seated (although it was before noon), so thought I'd spread the word. If, like me, you're in the southerly part of Durham (and thus a good 20-30 minutes to any other similar options), please give this place a try. It's been five hours and I would gladly eat another plateful.
Finally got there for lunch. I was very happy with the lunch special--a wonderful cilantro chicken soup, quarter-chicken, rice and beans but a nice hot aji amarillo sauce. Good-sized portions, friendly staff and nice music in the background. I liked it better than Mani Nora's (though to be fair I have only eaten there once), but I remember that chicken as being way too salty for me. Plus Mi Peru is close to home. A win-win for lunch. I look forward to a return visit.