When it comes to food from South America, most diners don’t usually meander beyond Central American/Salvadoran fare –– if they ever make it past the multiple varieties of regional Mexican cuisine available locally. So having the relatively new Peruvian Gourmet Fusion Cuisine and Rotisserie in Arlington is like hitting some kind of culinary jackpot for the epicurious. As with Mexican food, the cuisine of South America was influenced by Spanish culture. In Peru, add a mix of native Incan and other Amerindian influences along with some Asian and African flavors and textures for good measure.
Peru Gourmet Fusion Cuisine and Rotisserie
2425 NE Green Oaks Blvd, Arlington. 682-706-3860. 11am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Tue-Thu, 11am-2am Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
The entire first section of the menu reads like a tapas lover’s dream. My table of three started with several small plates, figuring that if we didn’t enjoy the food, we wouldn’t be wasting much. As it turned out, we appreciated almost all of the Spanish-influenced appetizers. The chicharrón en plato (fried pork skin and belly) was luscious and overwhelmingly rich (not surprising since that’s the fatty part of the pig). A yin-and-yang combo of a mild yellow sauce and a fiery orange one accompanied the dish. The orange sauce and a dab of pickled onion on top cut the richness. The appetizer also included a side of fantastic sweet potato fries, accompanied by a delicious, creamy, olive mayonnaise-y sauce for dipping.
The papa rellena was a tiny shepherd’s pie, with a center of beef, sweet spices, and raisins, surrounded by fried mashed potatoes. There wasn’t a lot of textural difference between the center and the croquette’s coating, but the appetizer was pleasant. The chicken tamal was exactly what we thought it would be: a corn masa-wrapped serving of herbed pulled chicken. It was comfort food at its finest and low on the heat register.
The only starter we didn’t love was the pulpo al olivo –– octopus covered in a creamy, olive oil-based mayo, topped with hominy, and served with saltine crackers. There was nothing wrong with the dish’s taste, but the consistency of the fish was chewy. However, the olives (or maybe the skin of the octopus) lent a pretty lavender color to the appetizer.
The lomo saltado was a traditional stir-fry that bowed to Peru’s Asian heritage. The soy sauce-marinated beef and veggies weren’t too spicy, and the dish was served with both white rice and home fries. The sautéed meat was similar to Japanese teriyaki beef, although the home fries were a nice addition for sopping up the slightly sweet, salty sauce. If you’re dining with someone who’s averse to new cuisine, this would be a safe, tasty bet.
Arroz con mariscos is a classic fried rice dish that takes advantage of Peru’s costal bounty. At Peru Gourmet, that meant clams, white fish, shrimp, and faux crab all mixed with veggies in perfectly cooked golden-colored rice. The yellow dipping sauce owned its tinge to a spice mix headlined by aji Amarillo. The mild, garlicky rice and seafood tasted similar to a good Spanish paella.
If you overdo the tapas as we did, you might not have room for dessert. But the supriso a la limena was absolutely not to be missed. Served decoratively in a martini glass, the treat was a cross between pudding and mousse and packed a heady flavor of cinnamon and caramel. It was so sweet that two or three bites were enough to end the meal.
Peru Gourmet also has rotisserie chicken rotating on spits in a corner. Apparently in the first few weeks of opening, the restaurant ran out of a lot of the specialty items, and that disappointed diners. The supply chain issues seem to have been fixed, and at any rate, it’s not like you can readily get pulpo at Ben E. Keith. Best of all, Peru Gourmet is open past midnight on weekends, which should make it a nice place to have a snack after a game in either of our nearby stadiums.
[box_info]Peru Gourmet Fusion Cuisine and Rotisserie
Lomo saltado $16.99
Arroz con mariscos $16
Supriso a la limena $6[/box_info]