I may have had the most tender goat I've ever tasted during lunch today at Machu Picchu, the recently opened Peruvian restaurant on Valley Avenue (700 Valley Avenue, in the plaza with Great Wall and Taqueria La Reyna).
The Cabrito ala Nortena ($6.50 lunch, $10 dinner) is a filling dish. The goat stew, with a rich gravy, was served on top of creamy white beans. Alongside was a mound of steamed white rice, with sliced purple onion and tomato added as condiments. The goat meat was flavorful but not at all gamy.
I also tried the chicharron de calamar ($8.50), a generous platter of house-made fried calamari served with a very nice green dipping sauce and what seemed to be a form of tartar sauce.
The woman working the front of the house said the restaurant specializes in cebiche ($10-$12.95). The menu includes several combinations of fish, shrimp and other seafood marinated in lemon and chile. She also recommended trying the Tacu Tacu con Lomo Saltado($9.95), sauteed beef loin with rice and beans.
The food will be familiar, yet exotic. It also reflects the influence that immigrants from Japan and Italy have had on Peruvian cuisine.
You'll find steak dishes, grilled chicken dishes, spaghetti dishes (including fettucini Alfredo), fried-rice dishes, stews, fried fish -- all with a Pervian twist.
Meals start both with tortilla chips and (a very tasty) salsa, and a bowl of fried banana chips and fried corn.
The sell beer, wine and mixed drinks. Friday through Sunday night, the restaurant turns into a nightclub, with dancing under a spinning ball, I'm told.
The ambience is nothing special, lots of llama images and a cool mural depicting the ruins at Machu Picchu. Vegetarians won't find much to enjoy on the menu (unless those white beans are vegetarian).
Can't wait to try the cebiche and the estofado de albondigas, meatball stew.