I was excited to try a Peruvian restaurant. I don’t believe that I’ve ever had Peruvian cuisine, so trying something new had me all a-tingle. Little did I know I would be in for one of the more boring meals in recent memory.
The meal started off with an complementary dish of something akin to popcorn crossed with corn nuts. It came with a green sauce. I asked the waiter, “What is this called?” “Peruvian Green Sauce.” Okay, not the most exciting name. It tasted like a chipotle made with green chilies instead of red. It was to be the highlight of the meal.
I got the Arroz con Mariscos (Peruvian style seafood Paella $14.00). There was shrimp, scallops, and clams mixed in with the rice and vegetables. The shrimp portion consisted of one full sized prawn (legs and all), a few jumbo shrimp (back section of shell intact), and baby shrimp. There was a jumbo clam in the shell, and plenty of bits of scallop. This should have been delightful, but it was boring, boring as all hell get loose. Bland as loose-leaf paper, even a healthy dollop of salt could not revive this dead dish.
That brings up another issue: there was no salt at the table, so I asked the waiter for some. I waited, waited, and waited. I was ready to raise a stink, but my girlfriend intervened. He seemed illuminated when she asked for the salt. “Excuse me, we asked for some salt.” “Oh, salt. Sure, one moment.” Oh salt? You didn’t understand what I asked for so you just nodded, smiled, and said “OK”? What the hell? I have been to plenty of places where there was a language barrier, but the people are usually helpful and try to figure out what you are asking for, whether though pointing, repeating, or generally muddling through for an answer. This dude just smiled and blissfully went about his way.
My girlfriend got the Bisteck a lo Pobre (pan friend steak with french fries, plantain, and rice $13.00). The plantain was the highlight of the dish. Sweet and well cooked, it came out perfect. The rice was… rice. White rice. The french fries were undercooked and had no crispness or outer shell. The steak was a cooked piece of meat. No more. No less.
Maybe I am missing something. This place was raved about by friends. The place was filling with customers at the dinner hour. They have more than one location. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would go here twice. The dishes were fresh, but it tasted like flavor had been removed. Maybe I don’t have the most sensitive palate, but when I heard Peruvian food, I expected some bold flavors. I think I got two. Sadly, they were from the green sauce at the start of the meal.
401 Monroe Turnpike (Route 111)
Monroe, CT 06468