Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Los Balcones del Peru (Los Angeles, CA)

Los Balcones del Peru
1360 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
www.fooddigger.com/2956/restaurant/ca/los-angeles/hollywood/los-balcones-del-peru (FoodDigger, restaurant has no web site)
Tue 03/30/2010, 08:00p-09:35p

Los Balcones del Peru Exterior Los Balcones del Peru Exterior
It seems like I've been going on a Peruvian binge as of late--during the past year, I've eaten more Peruvian than I'd had in all my 26 years prior. It all started with Mo-Chica, then Mario's Peruvian, and now here I was at Los Balcones del Peru with Andrew and Jenae, two readers whom I'd met previously at La Casita Mexicana. Located nary a mile north of the more well-known original outpost of Mario's Peruvian, Los Balcones del Peru is seemingly named after the numerous balcones of the buildings surrounding Lima's Plaza de Armas, and was famously picked by Jonathan Gold as one of his 99 Essential LA Restaurants.

Los Balcones del Peru Interior
Inside, things are about what you'd expect. Of note are the balcones perched along the walls, doubling as lighting fixtures.

Los Balcones del Peru Menu Los Balcones del Peru Menu
Los Balcones' menu has most all of your Peruvian favorites, along with a few interesting items, such as Mr. Gold's beloved camarones a la piedra. Note that the balcony on the menu's cover appears to be modeled after that of the Archbishop's Palace. Click for larger versions.

Cristal, Cusqueña
Two Peruvian beers were on offer, both of which I'd had recently at Mario's: Cristal [$4] and Cusqueña [$4]. We asked our server which he preferred, and as was the case at Mario's, Cusqueña was the response. It was a darker, more complex brew, while the Cristal was lighter, brighter, and easier-drinking.

Pescado a lo Macho
Pescado a lo Macho [$15.75]
We began with the pescado a lo macho, comprised of a olive oil-seared filet of fish in a lightly spicy wine and aji panca (purple chilli pepper) sauce, topped with shrimp, squid, and octopus, and served with steamed rice. We all agreed that the filet, drowning in that sea of tangy, slightly boozy sauce, was the best part of the dish. The other bits of seafood didn't quite live up to the quality of the fish, and the squid was particularly troublesome due to its rubberiness.

Chaufa de Pollo
Chaufa de Pollo [$10.95]
Peruvian cuisine is often noted for its Chinese influence, and this was a great example of such. It looked like your typical Chinese preparation, and indeed, the taste was somewhat reminiscent of such a thing, but there was a beautiful Peruvian twist, an indecipherable wrinkle that really set this dish apart from the rest. Delish.

Lomo Saltado
Lomo Saltado [$11.95]
Lomo saltado is sort of the de facto must-order dish at any Peruvian restaurant, but interestingly, that may not be the case here, as Los Balcones is not known for its saltados. Another chifa-influence course, this was simply beef, sautéed with onions, tomatoes, and french fries, served with more steamed rice. Flavor-wise, the dish was indeed very "Chinese-y," and quite delicious in that regard. The problem was that the beef was overly tough, distracting from the overall eating experience.

Ceviche Mixto
Ceviche Mixto [$13.50]
They saved the best for last. Los Balcones del Peru may not be known for the saltados, but it is known, very much so, for the ceviches. Since this was our first time here, we ordered the mixed variety, composed of fish, shrimp, squid, and octopus, marinated in lime juice and Peruvian spices, served with boiled potato, sweet potato, Peruvian corn (choclo), and red onions. This tart, tangy mélange was easily my favorite course of the night, and quite possibly my favorite ceviche ever. I loved how the zestiness imparted by the acidic marinade played with the various cuts of seafood, while the trio of starches served admirably in tempering the dish. Very nice!

Count Los Balcones as another notch in my Peruvian belt. Indeed, the omnipresent lomo saltado was a touch disappointing here, but if you stick to more of the seafood, you'll do just fine. I'd love to return and give the menu a more thorough workout (and maybe even try Gold's camarones)--if only the place weren't so far away!


Blogger Jin said...

i love the ceviche there!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger christina said...

I missed out! I've had a thing for ceviches lately and if this one comes close to being your favorite ever, it must've been good!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 5:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey great pics, what type of camera do you use?

Friday, April 09, 2010 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Jin: Me too! Which one in particular do you prefer?

Christina: Next time. ;)

Anon: For this, I used a Sony a500 DSLR with a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro lens.

Sunday, April 11, 2010 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Cookie Chomper said...

I totally agree with you on the Lomo Saltaldo. Overly salty and too much soysauce. Highly recommend the Camarones a La Piedra

Thursday, April 15, 2010 9:37:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Sounds like the camarones is a must-order next time!

Monday, April 19, 2010 12:39:00 AM  

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