Last night seven chow hounds forayed into the world of Peruvian food at Mi Lindo Peru. Mi Lindo Peru is a small, bustling, warm restaurant at 3226 Mission near 29th St. The menu is mostly Peruvian though it claims Spanish Cuisine on the menu and ventures into tapas with a decidedly Peruvian slant. Dish sizes were generous, 7 people for $99.71, $18 of which was corkage fees. For more information on the wine, youll have to talk to Melanie-wine-packin-Wong, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The menu was a tri-fold number with about seventy dishes on it. Conspicuously missing from the menu was my beloved pork. Do Peruvians not enjoy the swine? I dont know. I was secretly, or not so secretly (as my dinner mates can attest) hoping for a Guinea Pig dish, as thats a traditional Peruvian meat source.
What we ate, with commentary:
Bread, Butter and, Onion Salsa, need I say more? The salsa was reddish and basically was made of chilies and chopped white onion. Interesting. The bread seemed fairly standard, white and soft inside.
Ceviche Mixto, $7.95, was a medley of calamari, white fish and some sad, tiny bay shrimp. The flavor was good with nice thin loops of purple onion. It was less spicy than I am used to in the Baja versions. Actually, the food was less spicy than I would have guessed. Youre not going to blow your top eating here. On the same plate but pushed to the side was a weird little stack of corn-nut like corn kernels that seemed an odd addition to the ceviche. They tasted AOK but didnt fit the dish.
Anticuchos A.K.A Beef Heart skewers, two of em, $4.25. I love organ meats, that said, these were a bit overcooked and rubbery for my taste though the flavor was fine. The potato on the side was a little single grilled slice.
Papa a la Huancaina, $4.25. Id call this potatoes covered with yellow colored mayo. The menu says slightly spicy cheese sauce but I was hard pressed to detect anything cheese OR spice-like in the sauce. The dish was mild but not unpleasantly so. Hard-boiled eggs and black olives were atop the mound.
Champion al Ajo, 5.75. This was on the tapas menu. The sautéed mushrooms were good but Id have preferred fresh garlic.
Lomo Saltado, (strips of beef with some sautéed & fried veggies) $9.25. The meat was nice and tender thought the veggies seemed a bit under spiced. I loved the fries mixed in!
Chaufa de Pollo $8.50. This dish was a trip. It was like eating fried rice at any old Chinese restaurant. Chicken, peas and, fried egg all mixed up, just like any other fried rice. It was nice.
Aguadito de Mariscos, 10.95. This soup was a winner. It arrived in a big bowl all steamy and yummy. It was more like a thick cilantro broth packed with calamari and regular sized shrimp. It seems like it had some mussels in it too but I dont eat those so cant comment or rightly remember. Ladies? Correction? I threw some of that onion salsa in there to add some heat.
Arroz con Mariscos, thats right, more seafood. $12.50. Im not sure why this dish was two bucks more than the Aguadito mentioned above. Mixed rice and seafood with a sort of greenish spice tint. It was OK, plain and OK.
Pescado al Ajo, $10.50. White fish battered and deep-fried, topped with the same bottled chopped garlic mixture mentioned with the mushrooms. This seemed like a familiar dish as it occurs in many Latin cuisines. The fish was a little dry to me. It came with yet more rice and sliced potato.
My overall experience was good though I think Id vary the rice dishes better next time, or better yet get just one. Id also avoid anything that seems vaguely European and stick with Peruvian stuff you dont recognize. Mi Lindo Peru would be a good place to take someone who doesnt like spicy food. Take your starch loving friends and family, there are lots of taters and puuhhlenty of rice!