Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lunch at Los Balcones del Peru

Recently, I finally made my way with my dining group to Los Balcones del Peru and ever since then, I've been kicking myself for having taken this long to have made the trip there. Upon entering Los Balcones, you might be surprised at what it looks like inside. Compared to both Don Felix and Mario's, which definitely have a more relaxed restaurant décor, Los Balcones did make an effort to rise above the regular "hole in the wall" restaurant look.

There was a red tiled flooring, walls painted with a textured light brown paint and hung on those
walls were various pictures of Peru and even art pieces representing the ornate balconies on the buildings surrounding the Plaza de Armas in downtown Lima. Nothing was overtly fancy; yet, you can tell that some care was given to the design of the restaurant interior.

Now on to the food. First off, we were served with warm crusty bread that came along with the green Peruvian spicy sauce. That green spicy sauce is always the highlight of any Peruvian meal that I have. For that particular meal, I would tear off pieces of bread and spread the sauce on top. It was a great way to jumpstart my taste buds.

For our appetizers, we shared three and they were as follows:

1) Camarones a la Piedra - shrimp cooked in aji amarillo, Peruvian spices, yuca and julienned red onion.

**I thought that the sauce that came with this dish was really good. It was mild, but I could taste a hint of the lime juice. I liked the combo of the yuca and crunchy corn kernels. Between the shrimp and those two items, the different textures made for enjoyable eating.

2) Conchitas a la Parmesana - broiled scallops topped with grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil and butter.

**They certainly didn't skimp on the Parmesan cheese and being a cheese lover, I was very happy. The one thing that I was concerned with is that with all the cheese, the scall
op would be too salty, but it wasn't. Perhaps the topping of butter and olive oil cut that down

3) Choritos a la Chalaca - fresh boiled mussels served open faced in its shell, topped with their house salad made of finely chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro and Peruvian kernels.

**The mussels were good, but what I really fell in love with was the house salsa. It was just so fresh and the lime dressing that the salsa was mixed in was awesome. I could completely see myself snacking on this salsa with chips. Yum!

As for my entrée, I had the Pescado a la Chorrillan, which was a fillet of fried fish topped with a sauce of onions and tomatoes, bell peppers and green onions and served with steamed rice. The sauce in this dish reminded me of the sauce used in the camarones a la piedra, but it tasted more lemony and also just a tad sweeter, although I'm not quite sure where that little hint of sweetness comes from. Overall, this was a good entree and one I'd order again.

For dessert, a few of us order the Peruvian cookies or Alfajores. My, my, the filling for this cookie was either dulce de leche or some other kind of caramel and wow, this cookie was absolutely decadent. The dulce de leche was practically oozing out every time you took a bite, but the really nice thing about this cookie is that it wasn't overly sweet, even with the amount of caramel filling that came with this cookie.

Finally, our meal ended and there were very many happy diners. Although the service was sometimes a bit spotty, the food was excellent and I would definitely come back and recommend this restaurant to other people as well. If you get a chance, be sure to check Los Balcones del Peru as well. I'm pretty sure that you won't be disappointed.

To see pics, go to:

Los Balcones del Peru

1360 N. Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 871-9600

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