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Peru, Mucho Gusto - Omaha NE - Review @ GFC

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peru, Mucho Gusto - Omaha NE - Review

posted by snekse
"Peru, Much Gusto? Are you sure you read it right? A Peruvian restaurant in Omaha?"

Peru Mucho Gusto, Omaha NE
Those were basically the words I used when my co-worker told me a Peruvian restaurant opened in Omaha. It just really caught me off guard. I'm not sure why. I mean we have an Ethiopian restaurant which I was sure was going to be the last cuisine to make it's debut here. But my curiosity was peaked to say the least. Sure enough, within a week we were on our way to try and find the place (thanks in part to an online Entertainment book coupon).

When we got there, the interior looked like most small locally owned ethnic restaurants. It was sparsely decorated with that kind of "temporary residence" kind of look. It's not really a concern to foodies, but I had to mention it.

Before this meal, I'd only been to one other Peruvian restaurant, La Furia Chalaca in Oakland, CA. Therefore I am far from an expert on Peruvian cuisine, but given that the chef/owner Raul Atencio is from Peru, I think it's a safe bet to assume the food is fairly authentic. Though they try to source everything locally, the fish and some of the spices are flown in from Peru when a good substitute cannot be found.

We started off with the Papa Rellena. Cooked mashed potatoes are formed around seasoned beef, eggs, raisins and Peruvian spices, then deep fried and served with a spicy salsa criolla. Being a potato dish, and a fried one at that, I enjoyed this dish. My wife did not. It was too spicy for her palette - a reoccurring theme throughout the meal.

Yucca Frita at Peru Mucho Gusto
We also got an order of Yucca Frita (Fried Yucca) that was served with a creamy garlic "Mojo" (I think?) sauce. The yucca was a little hit and miss. Some of them seemed under done in the middle requiring some water to get them down. The outsides were pretty much all hit. I ended up eating a couple like corn on the cob to get those crisp outsides and tender fluffy insides together. And the garlic sauce was all miss, at least for us. We were told this stuff is like ketchup in Peru and people put it on almost anything.

For our entrees, we asked our waitress for guidance. She ended up recommending some of the dishes we were considering anyway, so we ordered the Lomo Saltado and the Ceviche De Pescado. They were out of the Seco De Carne Con Frijoles (beef cooked with Inca corn beer) that I wanted to try.

Lomo Saltado is a dish we had before. It's pieces of ribeye sauteed with onions, tomatoes and french fries, served with steamed rice in case the fries aren't enough carbs for you. It's a little odd to see the fries basically stir fried with the beef then doused with a broth, but it's actually a good dish. The seasonings give the dish a little kick, but as I said, that's the norm. Unfortunately the beef wasn't as tender as I'd expect ribeye to be. It might have something to do with how it's prepared as it has almost a steamed appearance.

Cevice at Peru Mucho Gusto
If you're bothered by the spice in the Lomo Saltado, stay far away from the cevice. The bountiful fish on your plate certainly won't leave you hungry - if you can finish it all. I was unsuccessful at that task. The fish is marinated in lime juice and Peruvian chilies. This made it really spicy and really acidic. It was very enjoyable, but palette fatigue set in about half way through.

As we finished we had a chance to talk to owner Mimi Atencio. She and her entire staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Service can often be a problem with places just starting out, but it didn't seem to be an issue here. In talking to her, we learned they have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. We also learned, after inquiring about the Asian influence on the menu, that Peru had a large population of Chinese and Japanese immigrants. Much like Hawaiian food, Peruvian food has adopted many of their ingredients and techniques. I'll have to try the fried rice next time.

Rating: 82+

Peru, Mucho Gusto
77th & L St. (Ralston)

7755 L St. (Map)
Ralston, NE 68127

Phone: (402) 932-0049

Email: Peru.Muchogusto@hotmail.com

HOURS:
  Open daily from 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
  CLOSED MONDAYS

Peru, Mucho Gusto on Urbanspoon
RELATED LINKS:
Chef Chat: Myriam Atencio from Peru, Mucho Gusto

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