Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City
It’s hard for me to do what I’m about to do, but it must be done. I have never selected a dish of the week that was not consumed in New York City. It goes against my entire brand. But I recently returned from a trip to Peru and there was one dish I tasted that puts everything else I’ve tasted in New York this year to shame. And so rules are meant to be broken.
We were fortunate enough to secure a reservation at the most well-regarded restaurant in Lima, Astrid y Gastón. And since Lima is considered the gastonomic capital of South America, eating here was very exciting.
Gastón Acurio is often credited as being the godfather of modern Peruvian cooking. He owns many different restaurants across Peru and other countries as well (he even had a short-lived branch of his ceviche restaurant La Mar in New York City).
Astrid y Gastón is his original restaurant and is one-of-a-kind. It now resides in a beautiful old mansion in a ritzy neighborhood of Lima, but it’s casual and relatively affordable (especially for New York standards). For a 13-course tasting menu in New York like this, we’d have probably paid three times the amount we did in Lima.
I could go on about every single dish on the tasting menu, which featured Peruvian ingredients in unusual combinations with both a modern spin and classic techniques. It truly was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.
It was hard choosing between the confited guinea pig with yuca, the supremely tender beef cheek with miso juice, or a rich dessert of lucuma fruit, tangerine, and coffee.
But there was one dish that literally gave me chills. I’ve never had an experience like that with food. Every single component was perfect and the flavors were transcendent. It was early in the meal so the portion was small and it was just a bite or two, but they were some serious bites.
The plate featured buttery, tender lobster chunks floating on a complex seafood broth called chupin. Throughout, there were al dente whole wheat noodles, hints of smoky pig’s jowl, and a garnish of something called picanteria cream. A picanteria in Peru is a traditional restaurant and this spicy, rustic orange cream embodied all the flavors of this delicious country. Old and new coming together.
Now I just need Gastón Acurio to try once again to open a restaurant in New York. Then this dish will be somewhat appropriate. And I promise I will go as much as I can or until I run out of money. Next week, back to our regularly scheduled program…
|ASTRID Y GASTÓN|
|At Casa Moreyra,
Avenue Paz Soldán 290 (between Pancho Fierro and Avenue Los Incas),
San Isidro, Lima, Peru
+51 1 4433777