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La 73: Market-fresh menu in Barranco's hip eatery

By Kim Allen-Jones
Photos by Carsten Korch

What a pleasure! La 73 is my kind of place. The atmosphere is hip and casual with a level of thoughtfulness given to the menu that is surprising in such a laid back setting. With Chef Ivan Kisic in the kitchen, formally of Cala, the concept of using only fresh market food is taken to the next level. Everyday the hand written menu boards change to reflect the freshest ingredients available daily. The restaurant conveys a real workingman’s style with its simple, clean walls covered in imported Italian tiles and socialista posters by Peruvian artist Cherman.

We were served specials from the menu board and the regular menu. The chef also offers a special tasting menu for 90 soles per person. The tasting menu is a great way to try the best of what is available that day.

Our first plate of the afternoon was Tiradito de Pulpo y Conchitas. This traditional fish stall dish was prepared with thin slices of octopus and scallops in a spicy lime marinate, topped with battered and fried nuggets of corvine, sea bass, and salsa criollo. The fried nuggets of crovina added a tasty twist to this very traditional dish.

The Fidelisima, a fish stew flavored with Huacho sausage.

Next up was a Pastel de Choclo. This dish, a classic Peruvian corn-based bread, comes served two ways: stuffed with coarsely ground beef filet and cheese or with vegetables. Our dish was with the beef. The corn is ground with aji amarillo, which gives it a little kick that works well with the sweet flavor of the corn. The pastel is drizzled with a reduction of balsamic vinegar and served with a side of lettuce. I’m not sure Pastel de Choclo has ever before been served in such a sophisticated manner.

When I have tried Palta Rellena or stuffed avocado in the past it always reminded me of something served at ladies luncheons in the '50s. At La 73 the Palta Rellena is all about now! The perfectly ripe avocado arrived cut in thick slices smothered with sautéed shrimp, sprinkled with fresh peas and tiny pisco flavored gelatin cubes, dressed with a house-made rocoto catsup dressing. This is not you grandmother’s stuffed avocado.

One of our favorite dishes of the afternoon was from the regular menu, Fidelisima. This is a fish stew flavored with salchicha de Huacho, a chorizo type sausage produced in the town of Huacho. The fish is cooked in the orange colored broth and is surrounded by chunks of red onion and roma tomato. A dish of rice mixed with Peruvian corn is served on the side to add to the stew. This dish is packed with flavor and hearty enough to get any hard working man (or woman) through the day.

One of my favorite Peruvian sauces is salsa de anticucho. This Peruvian style barbeque sauce is pared with another traditional sauce, salsa de huacatay, or black mint sauce, to flavor the plate Lomo en Salsa de Anticucho. Large cubes of grilled beef filet are skewed together then smothered with anticucho sauce, placed on top of a hearty portion of papas amarillas and garnished with a side of salsa de huacatay. By this time I was getting really full, but the perfectly cooked filet in Peruvian barbeque sauce was too much to resist and we still had two more dishes to taste!

La 73 Paradero Gourmet

Av. El Sol Oeste 175 (next to Studio 4), Barranco, Lima, 247-0780
Churros, a classic dessert option at La 73. click to enlarge

Our last main course of the day was the Lamburger. I was very sad I had to leave a couple of bites on my plate. This was a simple ground lamb burger cooked just right, served with grilled onions, lettuce and tomato on a sesame seed bun. Your burger comes with a side of fried papas amarillas and a house-made mayo and mustard dipping sauce. Perfect.

The last dish served to us that day was hot-out-of-the-fryer churros. This is a plate of six big churros to share. How can you make churros any better? By serving them with a pot of velvety chocolate sauce and a bitter sweet garnish of red wine vinegar reduction, that’s how.

I’m going back as soon as possible. I love eating at the fancy places, but some of time I just want to go to a casual place, have a glass of wine or a cocktail, and enjoy a well cooked meal. La 73 is the perfect place to do just that!

During the World Cup La 73 has a flat screen television set up and is serving the staff breakfast and lunch to customers. This is a set meal at S./15 for breakfast and S./25 for lunch.

Add a comment :

Aurea Logan says :

That's great,and is just down the road from where my parents live.Another reason to hurry up to get back home. My husband just love peruvian food. All the best guys.

Mariel Bolzmann LeValley says :

sending my son to eat at your restaurant right now....  can't come back to USA without eating your churros...right?   

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