Perú ᴙ Us

2010.Feb.08 Monday · 2 comments

in Restaurants

“Huarique: Lugar poco conocido donde se puede comer y beber a bajo precio.”

“Hole-in-the wall”

For many years, until the cuisine, and in particular, the banh mi sandwiches, became all the rage, those in the know in NYC knew that the best of those sandwiches, not to mention amazingly good, home-cooked Vietnamese dishes of other sorts, were to be found at Com Pho Thanh Huong, a true hole-in-the wall located at the back of a gallery of luggage, jewelry and clothing shops on Canal Street. Alas, it is no more. But it remains a fond memory of mine, and came to mind when Henry and I spotted a little place at the back of a galería on Corrientes recently. He stopped in once while out with some friends and insisted I had to come try it, so the other day…

…found us climbing the steps to a weird sort of little balcony restaurant behind some clothing shops and above a cellphone repair service. Somos Peru, Corrientes 2345 (Piso 1º, Local 27), seats about 20-25 people. 99.99999999% of the people, it appears, come in for the lunch menú, a two course pile-on of more than sufficient food. [Closed]

Somos Peru - menu soup
It starts with the soup, which is unvarying apparently, a vegetable soup thickened with potato and with bits of chicken strewn here and there. Then a choice of one of three main courses that change from day to day or time to time, each a scoop out of a big stewpot of some sort accompanying a goodly amount of rice – makes for quick and easy service.

Somos Peru - cau-cau
Henry went for the cau-cau, a mildly spicy stewed tripe and potato dish that is one of his favorites. I’m not a big tripe fan, and so normally don’t like cau-cau, but have to admit, this was actually one of the best tripe dishes I think I’ve tried, anywhere. The menu, sans beverage, costs a whole 15 pesos.

Somos Peru - leche de tigre
Now, given the setup, it turns out that while they have an a la carte menu, ordering from it is not necessarily a good idea. Not because it isn’t good food, but because nothing’s prepared – literally nothing – but who knew? I ordered the leche de tigre – a new mission that I’m on to find the best one in town, so look for a future post – this is a dish that is offered up in a wide variety of styles – sometimes as simple as a shotglass of the liquid left after making ceviche, i.e., mingled lemon and seafood juices with all the various seasonings, on up to versions like this one that are basically just a very soupy ceviche. This was a meal in itself (and so I asked for my “main course”, a chiccharon de pollo, to be made “to go”), a large bowl filled with mixed fish and chopped calamari, plenty of spicy liquid, and perhaps just a touch too much celery and celery leaf. But overall, really quite good.

For something that in most places that regularly have ceviche pretty much at the ready and can serve up a leche de tigre in about two minutes, the twenty that it took for the cook to cut up fish and make the broth were a bit much (and then we waited almost twenty more before my chiccharon was ready – he had to cut up the chicken, bread it, fry it… and, of course, the cook didn’t get to it until after making the leche de tigre, along with all the menu plates he was serving up to the rest of the room – it was, however, really good chiccharon when we rewarmed it for dinner). The a la carte items are also a bit pricier – the leche de tigre running 18 pesos on its own and the chiccharon a whopping 35 – although it was more than enough for two of us for dinner, so keep in mind it’s a “share” plate.

Definitely recommended.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Paz February 9, 2010 at 13:37

I. Love. Tripe! Would like to taste this cau-cau dish.

Paz 😉

dan February 10, 2010 at 09:44

I’ll ask Henry’s sister if she has a really good recipe for cau-cau, she tends to be my resource for home-cooked Peruvian dishes….

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