With dozens of restaurants around the world under his belt famed Peruvian Chef Gastón Acurio brings Peruvian street food with its Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Incan influences to Chicago delivered in an upscale package.
The space is bright, lively and a welcome addition to River North. There is a bar and outdoor space on the second floor so keep it in mind for summer.
The menu is based on taking you to the different regions of Peru, the Andes, the Pacific, the Amazon and the desert. The top half of the menu are small sharable items that you can find on many Peruvian street corners.
The aptly named corazón anticucho, traditional skewer, is beef heart, potatoes, choclo (Peruvian corn) and huacatay (Andean herb). The beef is rich and the spicy sauce is lovely with the potatoes and huge corn that pops in your mouth.
The Niguiris Nikei are Japanese and Peruvian fusion. The Pobre are two pieces of skirt steak with a quail egg, chalaca and ponzu. You will probably want to have your own order because once you bite into one piece you won’t want to share the second.
The cebiches come in small, large and a tasting option featuring three of the cebiches. The Criollo is fresh mahi, squid and aji amarillo. The only thing lacking was the size, will get a large next time.
The special of the day was a Quinoa Burger with Bibb lettuce, mango chutney, tzatzkiki sauce and a toasted Brioche bun. Pictured at the top this huge burger can easily be two meals. It’s a bit messy so maybe not good for a first date.
The Seco de Cordero is braised lamb shank, cilantro, aji amarillo, cannellini beans and radish criolla. The flavorful lamb stew served with rice that is the perfect vehicle for soaking up the stew.