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Restaurants & Bars

What's Up with Rinconcito Peruano (Ninth Ave. 53/54 Sts.)

Dave Feldman | Jul 7, 200605:55 AM     5

Rinconcito Peruano is an old favorite of mine, but it had been too long since I've been there. I went with a small group tonight and it was a schizophrenic experience. Is the restaurant under new ownership? There is definitely a different cook in the kitchen.

The menu has been updated and slightly expanded, prices have gone up noticeably, and wine, beer, and sangria are being actively pushed.

Dinner started out gangbusters. The fried calamari, always a strong point, was outstanding, replete with red onions, yucca, corn nuts, and the fantastic hot sauce on the side.

But the entrees fared less well. The aji de gallina was good, but the chaufa was bland and my tallarin saltado was devoid of any discernible taste, with green onions substitued for the usual red onions. I only ate a few bites of my saltado, and dived into the never-ending supply of calamar.

Were the entrees just an aberration? It's hard to believe the same kitchen that sent out the sublime calamari also issued the saltado and chaufa.

And is Rinconcito Peruano still offering the wonderful lunch specials? Sadly, the restaurant had run out of soup (or never made any), run out of tamals, etc. We were the only customers in the place from 7:45-9:00 P.M.

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