The other day my Chowish budd Joe and I went to a new Peruvian Place, Chim Pum Callao located at 490 South Broadway in Yonkers, Tel (914) 375-6039, because we had seen an ad in a Peruvian newspaper and CUY (Guinea Pig) was supposedly available.
Chim Pum Callao looked like a typical diner with glass topped tables, uncomfortable chairs, and a bunch of older gents chatting in Spanish while avidly following a soccer game on TV. The waitress was a pretty young girl about 16 who spoke some English but had problems understanding us gringos with poor Spanish. We ordered the Cuy Picante (no Cuy on the menu, we had to ask) having heard good things about this type of dish from Peruvian friends, especially Joe's gorgeous Peruvian Fiancee, who couldn't join us that day. The manager or owner? came out to make sure this was what we wanted and he ran over to a freezer case and came back with a vacuum packed frozen butterflied little critter carcass with a Peruvian flag on the package. We nodded enthusiastically and he disappeared. We also ordered two plates of ceviche pescado (they also have several types of interesting sounding ceviche mixto on the menu) and chicha morada (Purple Corn Juice Drink with spices) The ceviche was decent if a bit too salty for my taste and too cooked in the lime juice for Joe. At least it had lots of fresh jalapeno and sweet onion. The portions were extremely large but a bit expensive at $10-11 each. The Chicha Morada was ok, if a bit on the sweet side and not spiced enough.
When the Cuy was finally brought out it was a major disappointment. We knew it was a small rodentia but when it came out we were shocked. It was that same butterflied carcass and had obviously been deep fried straight from the frozen package as one large (for a guinea pig) very flat thing, looking sort of like a miniature fried animal skin rug without the fur. It was nicely golden brown and crispy, of mostly greasy tasting skin, with a hint of sweet meat. Joe ate the tiny tail and said it was the best part... which tells you several things about Joe... (He didn't offer any tail to me. Some friend!) anyway... it was served on a bed of greasy, mildly spiced potatoes but had no sauce or anything to flavor or clothe the poor little critter. All in all a major disappointment. Then the check came... $25 just for the Cuy!... we were so shocked that we paid for our unexceptional meal and left without protest. (Our fault for not asking the price when we were ordering.)
Is this price the norm for Cuy? Or were we "gringo-ized"? If anyone checks out this restaurant further let me know as we are big fans of Peruvian food.
By the way... Machu Piccu in Newburg is fantastic! Have been there several times over the past 2-3 years and have never had a dish be other than excellent.