A culinary adventure at Jose Andres’ China Chilcano.
When China Chilcano opened more than a year ago, I decided to wait for the hype to die down before venturing to the establishment. Yet, after my experience, I wished that I went earlier and wondered why it took me so long to visit one of Jose Andres’ most recent openings.
We went when cherry blossom festivities bloomed specials at various restaurants and China Chilcano kept up with the trend. The extensive menu divides the various foods into sections ranging from sashimi, snack, dim sum, ceviches and more.
I ordered a seasonal Sakura Maru cocktail, a zesty beverage with sour cherry pisco, plum sakes, a pinch of Chinese five spicy, yuzu and lemon. It added a bit of Asian flair to all of my dishes. The drink came with a small flower floating on top of a strawberry-colored mixture. I highly recommend this and potentially trying some of the other drinks especially during happy hour.
I ventured to the restaurant with three friends (Justin included), which meant we ordered a bunch of dishes and shared it amongst all of us. Above is the tradicional Siu Mai and below is the Pulpo al Olivo Rosita Yimura, thin-sliced raw octopus topped with botija olive-mayo. The XX gave hints of ginger, yet the bite-sized pieces of pork and shrimp provided a nice appetizer and preview of more to Asian-Peruvian cuisine to come. I’m a sucker for octopus and fell in love with the sashimi style dish, which appeared in a beautiful composition.
More dishes flooded the table as we finished one by one. The Ceviche Nikkei (above) came topped with a soy-cured egg yolk that broke in a fluid motion when we popped it into the rest of its components. The ponzu stuck out the most out of all the flavors of the dish. The Nobu Usuzukuri (below) looked similar to a cherry blossom (tis the season!) and we almost didn’t want to touch it because it looked magnificent. The thin-sliced radish added a nice crunh to the Hawaiian sun fish tiradito and the drop pepper broke similar to salmon roe, but with a sweeter taste.
The above Concolón resembled bimbimbap as the waitress mixed its components (fried rice, pork belly, egg, sausage, shiitake mushroom and bok choy) into one dish. She sprinkled pork grinds on top and we threw on some spicy sauce (similar to gochujang). Another dish came half prepped to the side of our table. The waitress opened a bagged poached red snapper (Sudado de Pescado). Upon opening its contents, we wafted the sweet smell of tomatoes, pepper and cilantro. It also came with a side of rice that we didn’t pick at much.
Several Yelpers raved about Aeropuerto, yet we all agreed it was the dish we least liked and wouldn’t order again. It tastes as bland as its components sound (fried rice, egg noodle, crisp sweet potato, 20 seasonal vegetables, bean sprouts). Opt for the ceviche or another raw dish since they all are worth the taste.
We felt full, but still decided to try dessert. A waitress poured coconut soup onto a pink grapefruit sorbet with peaches, mint, sesame and ginger surrounding the bottom of the Yan Wo “Birds Nest” Soup. The Ponderaciones de Kiwicha included a crispy spiral cookie and two pieces of bananas on the side along Algarrobina (Peruvian superfood) ice cream. We all wanted to lick the chocolate cream off the plate as it paired deliciously with the frozen treat, but we composed ourselves to scrap as much as possible with our spoons.
China Chilcano is located on 418 7th St NW. Make a reservation before visiting.