On a recommendation from a recent post here (link below), I paid a visit to "Delicias Peruanas" (215 Highland, in Somerville) this evening.
As a recent transplant from LA, I've been sorely missing many different kinds of foods that aren't easily available here-- and Peruvian food is one of them. The review had been good, but I didn't have high expectations. My hopes raised significantly when we spotted the place and entered-- it smelled delicious, and had the feel of no frills family place. (This is the kind of slightly sorry-looking unadorned place that one learns to seek out in LA)
When we entered, the lady who greeted us checked twice to make sure that we knew it was Peruvian food, then handed us the menus. (We were the only ones there, and from what we could tell, they only had two copies of the menu in the whole place) My friend had a craving for papa rellena (a stuffed potato fritter thing), but unfortunately, they were out for the day. We got papa huancaina instead-- sliced of boiled white potatoes and a hard-boiled egg, covered with a creamy yellow sauce made from egg yolks, cheese, vinegar, oil, and spices. It was yellower and tastier than any rendition I've had before. I suspect it was just more cheesier...) This is not haute cuisine by any means--I have to admit, the sauce has a sort of velveeta-y feel to it, but with a nice kick.
My friend was craving bisteck, which lived up to the previous review. (Nicely grilled, tender, and flavorful.) It's a simple and universal sort of dish, but their rendition was very nice.
I had a serious jones for saltado de mariscos-- a dish that's ubiquitous at peruvian places in LA, but seemed unfamiliar to the lady who served us (maybe it was our Spanish that was the problem-- or maybe it's a peruvian ex-pat concoction). So instead, I opted for pescado a lo macho, a mix of seafood in gravy with potatoes and rice. It turned out to involve two huge filets of fish (fried), with a generous amount of seafood, in a delicious sauce, with rice and nice crispy potatoes. This dish would serve two, accompanied by appetizers or one of their tempting looking soups. (I'm really looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch) The only negative point was the mussels, which seemed not entirely fresh (but I always think that about mussels--I just don't like them, and should remember to skip them)
They have many other peruvian favorites (ocopa, parihuela, aji de gallina, tallarin saltado, jalea, and a variety of ceviches).
If you're not familiar with peruvian food, this place probably requires a bit of an adventurous spirit (they may not always have everything on the menu, and there could be language barriers). If our first experience was any indication, though, it could also be a good introduction to it.