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La Furia Chalaca -- more strangeness at good yet empty restaurants

nja | Oct 7, 200309:00 PM

La Furia Chalaca
Or, The Good Food And Strange Service At Empty Restaurants Continues

We had planned on going to dim sum prior to the matinee at Yoshi's. But while walking down Broadway on our way to Legendary Palace--running more like it, as we feared a long wait--we came upon La Furia Chalaca. Having recalled reading positive comments on the board about it, we decided to stop there instead.

Like Panchita's the night before, we were the only diners. And also like Panchita's, the service was odd. Actually, it was really inept; our waitress was clearly new and received no training. She tried several times during our meal to remove our water glasses, sometimes succeeding in escaping with some before we noticed and had to ask for them to be replaced. We split our dishes, one of which was a stew, yet she never brought us bowls so we could share. And overall the service was just plain slow. Nevertheless, like Panchitas (or maybe because of, as though our dinner the night before was a warm-up), we didn't care. It was a nice warm day in the East Bay, a gentle breeze wafted in from the open door, the food was good, and we had plenty of time before the show.

We started with one order of anticuchos: skewered beef hearts with a few slices of potatoes and a yellow aioli-like sauce made with mildly spicy chiles amarillos. The meat was flavorful and a little chewy. If I hadn't been told it was heart I would have thought it was flank steak, cooked medium well. The sauce was good, though I prefered to use it on the potatoes and eat the meat straight.

We shared the Jalea Especiales, which was smaller than I expected (it would have been a good sized entree for one). I'm not sure that I can remember everything that was on the plate, there were so many things, but here goes: fried white fish, green mussels, hominy-like corn kernels (both fresh and fried), pickled onions, grilled squid, grilled shrimp, onions, tomatoes, and more. The fish was on the rare side and delicious, the vinegar from the onions soaking into the thin breaded crust. The onions themselves were great--sweet but not too sweet, sour but not too sour, cold but not too cold--so great that I have been inspired to try pickling my own. Everything else was good with the exception of the squid, which was unpleasantly fishy.

We also shared the prawn chowder, or chupe de camarones (actually mispelled chupa on one menu, which made us laugh). The stew was a tasty, thick, yellow, shrimpy soup with a poached egg hiding in the center of the bowl. The only part of the dish I didn't like was the prawns themselves: tiny, somewhat tough shrimp.

We got two desserts. The Mazamorra Morada ("Bits of apple and pineapple in a pudding made from purple corn, sweetened with sweet potato flour and spiced with cinnamon and cloves - a Peruvian delicacy rarely
found in restaurants.") was a sort of purple Jello. It wasn't bad, good fruit and spice flavors, but it didn't taste as exciting as it sounded on the menu. Our bowl was the sole leftover from the night before, so maybe this dish would be better if eaten in the evening when it's fresh.

Far better was the arroz con leche, a freshly made, steaming hot bowl of sweet, spiced, creamy rice with raisins. My three dining companions consider themselves very discerning consumers of arroz con leche, and they agreed it was one of the best they had ever had.

We split a pitcher of sangria, made with slightly effervescent white wine. I also tried a Pilsner Callao, a beer from the restaurant owners' hometown, which was pleasant if unremarkable.

I didn't see the total bill as somebody else was treating, but the prices are available at the link below.

All in all, a nice meal.



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