I was in the mood for ceviche lately, and I remembered that this place got a lot of praises here and in the Village Voice last year shortly after it opened. It's been a while since it's been mentioned lately, so I thought it was time to finally pay La Pollada a visit and see what the fuss is about. From the ceviche/entradas menu, we got the ceviche mixto, which contained fish, shrimp, mussel, conch, squid, and octopus. We also ordered a half-chicken plate, and an order of papas a la huacaina (potatos in a thick egg/cheese sauce), a standard Peruvian dish. We were asked how spicy we wanted the ceviche. I said mild, as my dining companion is somewhat heat-phobic. From last year's Voice review and from last year's posts, I had heard about the homemade hot sauces, which came out shortly after we ordered. The general purpose green sauce was the spiciest of the bunch, and probably not much more than pureed green chili with some vinegar. Good fresh flavor and a big punch. The red sauce is for the ceviche, I was told. This also had a nice kick to it, but the flavors were a bit more complex, with some sweet and sour elements working in there. The aji sauce for the chicken was also quite complex. Unlike at the other chicken places like Pio Pio or Casa del Pollo Peruano, this sauce retained a creamy thickness. I thought it tasted a bit like green goddess dressing, but way better. I liked that you can adjust the heat of the aji my mixing the green chili sauce with their aji.
The papas a la huacaina was perhaps the best version I've had. The sauce was so thick and had just a hint of spice. Very addicting. Next the ceviche. After all the anticipation, I was very pleased. The octopus and fish were my favorite parts of the mixto, and would probably order these separately next time. The other elements of the mixto were merely good. The red hot sauce added a great dimension to the citrus, with its sweet and sour undertones, without interrupting the flavors of the seafood. The surprise of the night was the roast chicken. I wasn't expecting too much, since ceviche seems to be the highlight here, but the chicken was perfectly roasted. Good spicing (though I think I prefer Pio Pio's), and that aji sauce mixed with a little of the green chili sauce was the perfect accompaniment. All in all, La Pollada de Laura is a must visit for quality Peruvian food.
Below is a link to last year's rave for La Pollada. They now have a liquor license, so it's no longer BYO.