China Chilcano

Was able to dine at a restaurant I had not yet checked out awhile back — China Chilcano in the Gallery Place/Chinatown/Judiciary Square area of Washington, DC. I had heard rave reviews about it so couldn’t wait to check it off my list.

It is one of Jose Andres’ places and it brings together Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. And their feature cocktail – Pisco Sours.

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I went on a Wednesday night. Made a reservations so the table was all set. The tables were at a very low level (from the ground) so you really have to bend over/down to eat. The light was very yellow-y, too. Not sure why. Hence why the picture all have an odd light to them.

The service was very slow, as in it took a long time to get our waiter. Once he finally arrived, we had to make the required order at such a restaurant — pisco sours! And they also bring you these little nibbles — pepitas.

Once we received the pisco sours (that also took awhile), cheers! Very nice.

The menu is tapas-style, so most of the dishes are small and meant to be shared. The choices were almost overwhelming. But we finally decided on:

Ensalada de Chonta — Hearts of palm, tamarind, avocado, tomato, kiwicha seed, sweet plantain

Ceviche Clásico La Mar — Red snapper, leche de tigre, sweet potato, red onion, cancha, cilantro

California (Roll) — Potato causa, jumbo lump crab, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, huancaína sauce

HaKao — Steamed glass dumpling, shrimp, pork, ají rocoto-soy sauce

Yàn Wõ “Birds Nest” Soup — Coconut “Birds Nest” soup, pink grapefruit sorbet, mint, sesame, ginger

Like a typical tapas restaurant, these orders came out randomly. Some within a minute then others about 15 minutes later.

The hearts of palm salad was by far my favorite. Could have ordered several of those. The ceviche wasn’t quite what I was expecting because it was ‘soupy’. I could have used a spoon to eat it (picture below, top row, right). Unique and tasty, nonetheless.

The other dishes were very good, as well. The others at the table enjoyed the dessert and said they’ll have to pass next time. I had a small bite of the sorbet and it was interesting. I’ll stick with just the citrus itself.

Very glad I checked the place out, would totally go again.

 

Ding Dong, Ping Pong, Dim Sum

I couldn’t resist the title with the tiny bit of catchy-ness it has.

Dim Sum is always a great meal to enjoy over the weekend — no need to order, just stare, point, nod, chew, repeat, progress to food coma.

I checked out a new place (for me) in DC this past weekend for Dim Sum — Ping Pong in Chinatown.  Not what I expected.  I went in, ready to start chowing down within 5 minutes of sitting.  But, I didn’t see any carts.  Rather, I see a menu and check lists, just like when you order sushi.  ????  — what is that?  So, I find out that you have to literally pick what you want from the menu, check the box on the long, skinny piece of paper then wait 5-20 minutes for your food.  That’s not Dim Sum!

Now a pro to all this — you can’t just pick anything you want off the cart and therefore constantly eat.  You realize what you’ve ordered and have to wait.  Eventually you realize you are full and stop ordering.  Also, you can reserve a table for Dim Sum’ing via Open Table (score! — it was busy and there was no need to stand outside for 30-60 minutes before they opened to be sure we got a table).

Side note — they have this really cool tea with a ‘bag’ — I don’t know the true term — that blossoms into a flower.  Pic below.

To summarize, next time I want this treat, I will go to one of my favorite places with the true tradition.  But, I would like to try this place again out for a ‘regular’ meal as their food was good and I’ve heard they have good happy hours.

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