China Chilcano (Washington, D.C.)

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Flavors should be unique when you’re enjoying your dining experience at any restaurant.  The flavors of the particular dish you choose to order will either make you try something new for the rest of your life, or become skeptical on why you should try that dish again if you see it at another restaurant.  It’s a good rule of thumb to try to incorporate a “new” food into your repertoire every chance you get.  It could be something as simple as trying anchovies on a casear salad (which is a personal favorite of mine) or trying a new cocktail drink at your favorite bar.  China Chilcano symbolizes the definition of trying something “different”.  It’s a contemporary Peruvian inspired restaurant that incorporates Asian flavors and style.  Most of the dishes presented on the menu are native influenced as well and offers Chifa. Chifa is where traditional Chinese techniques meet the exotic flair of Peruvian ingredients.  I chose to dine at this restaurant because it was different from what I normally eat.  I wanted to learn about the culture as well as pick up some ideas on what these dishes should taste like.

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I was in luck this day to speak with Nicholas Porter, Assistant General Manager, who gave me a brief overview of the restaurant and where the ideas of the dishes come from. He gave so much information that I wanted to continue to listen to the background and history of this Jose Andres restaurant (And if you’re unfamiliar with Jose Andres, he is a Spanish-American chef often credited for bringing the small plates dining concept to America) that I forgot I was hungry.  Nevertheless, let’s focus on the restaurant and somethings that may interest you when dining here.  First, the interior is amazing.  It definitely has an upscale Asian feel to it, with its bright colors and decorative pieces.  The restaurant is pretty big and is a great idea for big parties.  If you’re into restaurants with different flavors that won’t break your wallet then this is the place for you.

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Five dishes were ordered while dining here.  Dancing Yuca, Big Eye Tuna, California Roll, Camarón Saltado Maestro Wong, and Lomo Saltado.  If you’re not into Asian cuisines then you’re looking at the names of these dishes wondering what they are, but of course I’m here to explain it to you.  The first dish was the Dancing Yuca fries, ají amarillo mayo, kabayaki sauce, and bonito flakes. I’ve attached a video to this dish so you can see what you’ll be eating when it comes out instead of posting a picture.  I know you’re probably thinking.. “What. The. Hell. Is. Moving?” The “thing” that’s moving are Bonito Flakes.  Bonito Flakes are a smoke skip-jacked tuna.  What makes it move is the heat that generates from the fries.  Think of it as thin paper moving on top of a fire.  No, nothing is “alive” but your taste buds.  The amarillo mayo has a hint of spice to it but is amazing nonetheless.  It’s creamy texture worked well with the crunchiness of the fries.  This dish to some is more decorative then any, but this is a dish to get when you decide to come here.


The second dish that was ordered was the big-eye tuna.  If you’re into sashimi then this is the dish for you.  Quick hint, sashimi is raw fish without rice and negril is raw fish with rice.  I opted to order tuna over the other options of hamachi and snapper.  I enjoy eating raw tuna because the taste is very fresh and meaty.  If you’re not into sashimi or have never tried it, I’d say give this dish a try.  If you’re into sashimi some would argue when describing Tuna that the belly is way too oily on the palate.  But you only have one life, why should you worry about an oily palate?

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The third dish that was ordered was the California Roll.  This California Roll isn’t the traditional roll, but instead it had a Peruvian twist to it.  It came with Potato causa, jumbo lump crab, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, and huancaína sauce.  The flavor of this dish were incomparable.  The Potato Causa was fresh, the lump crab was sweet, the spicy mayo was savory, and the overall dish was hearty.  They provide you with six rolls to enjoy so if you decide to get this dish before your entree, chances are you’d be making an excellent choice.  If you’ve had a California Roll in your life you may not try another California Roll ever again after eating this.

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The fourth dish was the Lomo Saltada.  It consisted of a Beef filet, tomato, soy sauce, ají amarillo peppers, shoestring potato, rice, and a fried egg.  The beef was juicy and seasoned to perfection.  The tomato, soy sauce, and amarillo peppers provided the perfect consistency to the overall dish because it provided a sweet and savory taste.  The shoestring potato added a great starch to this dish as well.  This meaty dish is definitely one to order and the egg puts the icing on the cake.  Anytime an egg is offered on a dish to add to it, get it, don’t even think about it, just do it.

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Last but not least we have the Camaron Saltado Maestro Wong which consisted of Pacific wild shrimp, fermented black bean, wood ear mushroom, spring onion, and rice.  This dish offers nothing but flavors and spices.  The wild shrimp is cooked perfectly and flavored in a spicy but sweet sauce.  The wood ear mushrooms offer the perfect earthiness to this dish as well.  This dish reminds me of a spicy ramen dish but replace the noodles with rice.  I’m not big on black beans, but if you are then this is the dish for you.  I still ordered the dish because I wanted to try something with a different texture and taste.  I really think I hit the lottery with this dish and restaurant.

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Overall this restaurant is a drop everything that you’re doing and go to it immediately.  The prices won’t dampen your pocket and the flavors will send you on an excursion.  It’s located down the street from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. so if you want to go bowling, catch a movie, or go to a museum before you dine here then this would be the perfect date night option.


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