Went to Los Balcones last night, the relatively new Peruvian place on Vine near Hollywood. It's the kind of place I want to like, but in the end I'm disappointed. I wonder - maybe Peruvian food just isn't that great (admittedly I've never been a great fan of Mario's either).
To start, I had the Aguadita soup - the soup itself looked quite promsing, a green, redolent cilantro base filled with great stuff - corn, rice, potatoes, chicken, veggies. But, I found it impossibly salty and the underlying chicken broth didn't taste home made to me (but maybe the salt was simply covering it up).
Then I had the chicken saltado - the traditional stir fry of meat, onions, tomatoes, and french fries. I liked this dish better than the soup. For one, I had told them to cut back on the salt, which may have helped. But I also appreciated the rather nice tasting home made french fries. Still, I found the dish quite bland and I had to add both lime juice and that Peruvian green hot salsa (which fortunately I saved, because the waitress wanted to take it away before I got my entree).
Maybe this is as good as a saltado gets - pleasing to eat, but basically fundamentally boring food. I do wonder if I had it in Peru whether it would be a more interesting dish.