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Latin America & Caribbean BBQ Tasting Menu

Antigua, GT: La Esquina – Dancing, Sunday BBQ and Friday tasting menu by a chef from Spain’s Michelan-starred Hisop

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Antigua, GT: La Esquina – Dancing, Sunday BBQ and Friday tasting menu by a chef from Spain’s Michelan-starred Hisop

rworange | Mar 16, 2011 11:22 PM

Guatemalan-born Chef Alvaro Perara, honed his craft at Barcelona’s Hisop restaurant which continues to maintain a one-star Michelan rating as of 2011.

The tasting menu made me giddy with delight. It re-invented Guatemalan cuisine, capturing its soul as few contemporary menus manage to do. And … it was tastier than most typical Guatemala food. Each bite was a concentrated burst of flavor.

The three-course tasting menu was 125 quetzales, little over $15 USD. This is mind-boggling for a chef with this talent.

At first I only knew that the chef worked at Hisop and I assumed he was Spanish. I could not understand how someone from another country could so totally be in tune with Guatemala..

Talking with the staff I learned Perara was born in Guatemala. That made sense. Only a native could know the food of this country so well, in order to re-invent it so magnificently.

La Esquina’s regular menu bills itself as “cucina creativo”. It is a mix of various cuisines such as European, Mexican, Asian and Guatemalan.

The menu has croque monsieur, tortilla soup, kabobs, grouper in sweet and sour sauce, fattoush and linguini.

On Sunday there is an outdoor churrasco or Guatemalan BBQ that includes baby back ribs, bbq chicken, longaniza, carne asada and chicken stuffed with longaniza. Plates include guacamole, salad and grilled onions.

On Wednesday and Saturday there is live music and dancing.

I can’t speak for anything other than the tasting menu, but the restaurant was recommended by a number of locals who gave me solid recommendations in the past.

Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/737141

A …... Tartar de tomate con anchoas, crema de rabano picante y miso
A …... Ternera guisado en cerveza negra, platano ahumado y chicharron
A …... Pastel de maiz, chocolate blanco y jengibre
B - …. Complimentary bread
C …... Wine
A - … Complimentary water with mint and cucumber

Service: B + … Very, very good
Ambiance: B - … Very good
Price: $$

The regular menu is in both English and Spanish. The tasting menu was only in Spanish, but an English-speaking staff member explained each dish.

Restaurant record with more info such as address, phone, hours and menu
http://www.chow.com/restaurants/922205

Flickr photostream with more pictures
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7685047@...

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