The first time I tried Lima Peruvian Cuisine (on Rosewood Drive inside the Jim Casey Fireworks complex), I felt a bit uneasy as I read the menu. Nothing sounded familiar, and although I consider myself fairly adventurous, and the menu had a photo of each dish, I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t looked on a map of South America lately to know where Peru is located (I have since then!) and didn’t know if I should expect something similar to Mexican food or what. Peruvian food is very different from Mexican food. Not a taco in sight. Peru is a country on the Pacific coast of South America, and hence, has many traditional dishes made with seafood. That was fine by me. I love seafood.
I asked Ruth, the congenial smiley owner of Lima Peruvian Cuisine, what she would suggest I try, considering I had not eaten this type of food. She pointed to Causa and to Choros a la Chalaca. I chose them both. Causa is made in a mold and is quite a beautiful little dish. Two layers of mashed potatoes seasoned with Peruvian spices and a hint of lemon are on either side of a delicious filling made with, your choice, of tuna, chicken, shrimp or vegetable salads. I tried the shrimp salad. Served cold, it was refreshing. I couldn’t believe that cold mashed potatoes could taste this good! The Choros a la Chalaca were mussels served on the half shell, marinated in lime juice. They came topped with a yummy combination of tomatoes, cilantro, onions and fresh corn. Hands down, the best mussels ever.
I was so excited about this wonderful lunch experience, I raced home that evening, gushing with enthusiasm. My husband said he’d like to try it, so we went that night! He tried the Lomo Saltado – thin strips of beef sauteed with fresh onions and tomatoes, and served with rice and french fries. I asked Ruth if that was traditional… rice and french fries, and she said yes, that french fries are very popular in Peru. The potato is very popular, served many ways. I tried the Leche de Tigre… I am afraid if I tell you the ingredients you won’t try it, but you should! Okay, here goes: ground fish marinated in lime juice, onion, Peruvian rocoto chilies, ginger, garlic and cilantro, and accompanied with shrimp. It was wonderful – like ceviche! And I had a salad along with it. Their salads are different from what we’ve come to expect here in the USA – they contain potatoes, beets and avocado, and other items (depending on the salad). All is served fresh and made to order. We loved it for dinner too!
The atmosphere is bright and cheerful with traditional woven cloths adorning the tables. Peruvian souvenirs are for sale in a case near the entrance. Ruth has applied for a liquor license so hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with our next meal there. You really have to try this place! — Kathy Gardener
3830 Rosewood Drive | 803.851.3646 | Visit FB page here