On Tuesday I had my first lunch at Nazca, a newish contemporary Peruvian place that’s been getting strong reviews. Nazca is part of Nazca Mochica, a dual-concept restaurant off 17th Street in Washington. Mochica hosts a pisco and ceviche bar on the first floor of the building, and Nazca is a more upscale dining room on the upper level.
This is Causita, which is a classic Peruvian appetizer. It’s made with baked, whipped potatoes accented by lime and chili paste. There’s a layer of chicken salad above that, and then cilantro and red onion slices on top.
Ever since I got back from my most recent trip to France, I’ve been trying to recapture some of the unforgettable dining experiences I had in Paris. Last week, I went to St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar for mussels and frites; they were all right, but they didn’t come close to the same dish at Café Bruant in Montmartre.
Today, remembering the excellent lunch I’d had at Bistrot Victoires, I ordered the duck confit. And it was different from what I’d eaten in Paris. I somehow managed to contain my surprise.
Arroz con Pato is another traditional Peruvian dish. Its great signifier is the green rice that accompanies the duck, and gets its colour from the peas and cilantro that go to make up the dish. (Cilantro show up again! I’m so glad that I’m not one of those unfortunate people for whom cilantro tastes like soap. Me, I can’t get enough of it.)
Even though this duck was nothing like the French version, it was first rate.
Here’s another instance where my embarrassing ignorance of languages other than English led me astray. This dessert is called Suspiro Limeno. Gotta be some kind of lime or lemon treat, I reasoned. Well, no.
“Suspiro Limeno” can be translated as “Limean (from Lima) Woman’s Sigh,” and the dish itself is a chocolate custard.
Over the years, I’ve eaten a lot of Peruvian chicken. I intend to eat a lot more.
This meal was a nice introduction to a more delicate and refined version of Peruvian cuisine than what I’ve been used to in the past.