September 8, 2009 | Short Order

For once I think I know what cuisine comes next. Peru!

        What is the next hot cuisine coming up?  I’ve been asked that question dozens of times in my 40 years as a restaurant critic. My mind goes blank.  Usually I say, “I haven’t a clue.”  I think I once said “steak is dead.”  What did I know?  I never predicted Mexican or Vietnamese or novella Italian or even small plates.  I was the last to notice cocktails. 

 

         Now I don’t want to jinx Peru but I think I see a glimmering of Peruvian food in the wings.
Nobu was the first to bring Peruvian notions to New York.  Nobu became a rage but Peru never really did. Certainly in Lima a few weeks ago I was immersed in Pisco – an alcohol they make from grapes that aren’t good enough for wine – and was thrilled to discover brilliant young chefs, not unlike our own, exploiting local harvests and food from the rainforest. At a classic Lima favorite, Astrid and Gaston, we ate guinea pig dressed up like Peking duck to wrap in a purple corn crepe.  I learned the marketing chief was in New York looking for a space. La Mar Cebicheria Peruana is the concept A&G have opened already in the Embarcadero. San Fransisco, where it’s a hit. 

        Last night at Yerba Buena Perry the flounder tiradito with its aji amarillo (yellow pepper), sweet potato, red onion, cilanti and maiz cancha (yellow corn for toasting) is definitely Peruvian. And Barman Cervantes does a Pisco Mojito.   
 
 

        In Lima, our proudly chauvinistic restaurant guide was Guillermo Ferreyros, whose prestige Pisco carries his name in Peru but is labelled Pisco100 here for those of us who cannot roll our ‘Rs’. This clear spirit is made from the fresh must of blended grapes from the Inca region that, alas, are not good enough for wine but are perfect for this alcohol the Peruvians favor.

        I asked Guillermo to send me his recipes.

***

Pisco Sour

      3 parts Pisco 100
      1 part fresh lime juice
      1 part simple syrup
      ½ teaspoon of powdered egg white or ½ oz. of pasteurized egg whites
      1 drop of Angostura Bitters

Preparation

        In a shaker with 5 large ice cubes (not crushed ice), combine liquids (except bitters) adding egg white last.  Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.  Strain into a six ounce rocks glass.  Garnish with one drop of Angostura and serve.

***

Pineapple Piscojito

       3 parts Pisco 100
      2 parts fresh lime juice
     1 part simple syrup
     2 parts pineapple puree

Preparation

        Combine liquids in a shaker with 5 large ice cubes (not crushed ice). Shake vigorously about 20 seconds. Strain into a tall six ounce glass and garnish with fresh or dried pineapple triangle and a sprig of mint.

Patina Restaurant Group



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