Friday, September 18, 2015

Peru Gourmet

10804 S. Post Oak @ Willowbend, Suite 375

This is the second Peruvian restaurant along this stretch of S. Post Oak.  A half mile away, Super Chicken has been open for a couple of years serving Peruvian style charcoal rotisserie chicken, Pollo a las Brazas.  This new place is smaller but more nicely appointed and with a broader menu including seafood plates and ceviche, Creole plates and sandwiches, plus a very small menu section (8 items) of Mexican food.  There is no rotisserie chicken on the menu here.

I've been on a ceviche kick of late and I tried two of the four offerings here.  The Tostada de Ceviche, on the appetizer menu, came with a pile of fresh fish marinated in lime juice and Peruvian spices, with red onions, cancha (Peruvian roasted corn) and steamed camote (sweet potato).  Though it was on the appetizer menu this could have served as an entree it was so large.

Ceviche de Tres Pasiones featured fresh fish marinated with Peruvian spices and lime juice three ways, with aji amarillo, Peruvian yellow pepper, on the right, aji rocoto, Peruvian red pepper that is supposed to be pretty spicy but wasn't, and a house made cilantro sauce on the left.  This was garnished with hominy and camote.

I also ordered the Empanadas de Carnes appetizers and was taken aback when they arrived completely coated in powdered sugar.  I thought there had been some mistake and didn't remember any dessert empanadas on the menu.  But there was no mistake, this is the way they are served.  The filling of ground beef also includes raisins so it is slightly sweet itself.  This came with a sauce that is a variation of the Argentine Salsa Golf or British Marie Rose sauce, the basic ingredients of which are mayonnaise and ketchup.  You can see the leftovers of that sauce in the upper left corner of the Tres Pasiones picture.  I was initially hesitant but these were really good.

Chifa is a term which indicates dishes which are the result of a Chinese influence on Peruvian cookery which came about as a result of an influx of Chinese laborers to fill jobs once slavery was abolished in Peru.  It also denotes restaurants which serve these dishes.  They have their Chifa just as we have our Chinese American food and it is very popular.  One of the most popular dishes is Arroz Chaufa, a Peruvian version of fried rice, and another is Lomo Saltado.  I had the Lomo Saltado sandwich and never would have guessed the dish had Chinese roots if I hadn't read it.  This is tender chunks of been tenderloin, stir-fried with tomatoes, aji amarillo and red onion, in a red wine sauce, on a light and lightly toasted baguette.

Beverages include Chicha by the glass or pitcher and Inka Kola plus the usual American soft drinks, coffee and tea.  Desserts include Flan and Alfajores plus Pionono de Manjar Blanca, a sponge cake roll with the same filling as the Alfajores.

Yelpers have claimed the restaurant is the same owner as the Peru Gourmet food truck and that is confirmed by the Facebook page.  I don't know if the food truck is still on the road.

This section of South Post Oak just below the corner of the Loop is not a street one drives down expecting great culinary discoveries.  Peru Gourmet is a big addition to the dining out options in the S. Post Oak/Willowbend area and convenient also to Meyerland and Westbury.  It's an unpretentious, very small hole-in-the-wall serving up some very good food.   I hope there are enough Peruvians and at least mildly adventurous eaters otherwise to sustain it.

Peru Gourmet on Facebook.  Note many of the pictures on FB were apparently taken at a catering event and do not show the interior of the restaurant. 

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