Sunday, January 15, 2012

Restaurant Review: La Parihuela

How many people knew there was a Peruvian restaurant in West Allis? I certainly didn't until I saw a Groupon for La Parihuela a few months ago. I knew it was something I would want to try, as I've never had any Peruvian except for a plate of lomo saltado at Antigua about six months ago). So I purchased the $20 option to get one appetizer and two entrees during our visit.

We finally used the Groupon last Friday, just a week before it expired. The small restaurant, located on 90th and National Ave., was packed with people, and I assumed many of them also had Groupons to use up. Luckily, we snagged a booth that wasn't directly near the door, as the restaurant got pretty cold any time the door opened.

We started our meals with the two alcoholic beverages they serve. Nate ordered the beer, Cusqueña, which was a light beer and similar in taste to a Mexican Tecate and with a hint of lime. I had a pisco sour, which the waitress said was the national drink of Peru. It was really good, reminding me of a good margartia that wasn't too syrupy, but it got pretty sweet by the end of it.

For the appetizer, we ordered causa de pollo, which was a yellow potato puree seasoned with yellow chili powder, lime juice and olive oil, and then stuffed with what tasted like chicken salad -- cooked chicken with mayo. The entire dish was cold, which at first seemed odd, but it was really very good. Nate and I agreed it would be a good dish for a hot summer day. (Ugh, sorry for the silly picture -- I can't turn it!)

For meals, Nate ordered the ají de gallina. Translated, it means "chili pepper chicken," and the dish is made with shredded chicken in a creamy (not spicy) sauce, served with chopped pecans, potatoes and rice. It was really good -- the flavors were great and the flavors were fantastic.

I ordered the escabeche de pescado, which was a lightly fried fish under a mound of sauteed onions and served with a half a roasted potato and some white rice. It was good, but the piece of fish was relatively small, and I'm pretty sure the dish didn't come with the sweet potatoes, aji panea chili and red pepper it was supposed to. 

The service, unfortunately, wasn't that great, although I suspect it was because they were swamped with Grouponers and didn't plan for it. We weren't in a hurry, so it didn't matter too much, but we saw other tables in which two of the four diners received their meals about 15 minutes before the rest of the party, and a table of two sat at a dirty table, with no menus, for about 20 minutes. I'd definitely go back -- there are lots of things on the menu I'd like to try -- but I wouldn't go while they have a Groupon.  

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