Thursday, March 5, 2015

DC Spotlight: Lunch at China Chilcano

Regular readers of this blog know that very few things excite me more than a new Jose Andres restaurant.  China Chilcano recently opened in Penn Quarter, and by my count is Chef Andres's fifth restaurant in the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, I was not able to score a dinner reservation until next month, but finding a table for lunch was no problem.  The restaurant's warm and colorful dining room could not have been more inviting on a cold winter day.
China Chilcano dining room (photo from restaurant's website)
China Chilcano features contemporary Peruvian cuisine, which reflects a fusion of native Peruvian and Chinese and Japanese ingredients.  Like Chef Andres's other restaurants, the menu includes numerous vegetarian options.  The choices were overwhelming, but fortunately a couple of work colleagues were willing to help me sample some of these delicious small plates.

Yuquitas rellenas (yuca fritters with dried potato, yellow pepper, and wood ear mushroom)

Jiaozi de la chacra (dumplings stuffed with yellow potato, rocoto pepper, yellow squash, cilantro, and black vinegar-yellow pepper sauce)

Ajonjoli (cold wheat noodles with sesame seed sauce, carrot, cucumber, creole sauce, peanut, and star anise)

Tallarin zhen fe (Hong-Kong style rice flour noodles with cilantro, tomato stew, black garlic, egg, and five spice)

The food is light but very satisfying with many complex flavors.  I cannot wait to return for dinner next month to try the rest! 

UPDATE:  I returned to China Chilcano for dinner in April 2015 and had an equally pleasant dining experience.  I also was excited to learn that the restaurant now offers a separate "makeshift" vegetarian menu (the regular menu with vegetarian options highlighted) as well as separate gluten-free and food allergy menus.

China Chilcano on Urbanspoon