Paiche, the newest in Chef Ricardo Zarate‘s mini Peruvian restaurant kingdom, is his most ambitious yet. Located in Marina Del Rey just steps from the Pacific Coast Highway, its focus is seafood — a paiche is a South American tropical freshwater fish, after all. But I’m weird, OK? My favorite dishes at Paiche had nothing to do with the myriad fish and shellfish items on the menu.
The Yuquitas, yuca beignets filled with manchego cheese and topped with grated parmesan, were light and airy yet delightfully chewy. The creaminess of the cheese went well with the salty fried goodness of the yuca. I could eat these all day long.
Out of all the dishes I tried — and I had the uni shrimp toast (didn’t like it texturally) and the blood clams and uni risotto (too fishy tasting) — the Ceviche de Pato, confit duck in a ceviche stew and lima bean rice, was my favorite. It was super savory and hearty.
As for the Deysi Alvarez-designed cocktails, two stood out to me. The Last Ice Age, with Porton pisco, Hakushu whiskey 12 year, Asian pear, shiso, organic egg white, lime, lemon, evaporated simple syrup and Fernet Branca drops, was just my kind of drink. I always go for the whiskey-based drink, and this one didn’t disappoint. The Last Ice Age was a nice combination of sweetness, tartness, bitterness and frothiness.
The Bernard Devoto AKA The Master of Intoxication, with Sino reposado tequila, Christian Drouin calvados brandy, yellow chartreuse, Benedictine and Angostura bitters, was also a highly drinkable — and potent — choice.
Note: This meal was hosted.