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Picca: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011 

Thursday, Nov 10 2011
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We are, I think, nearing the Peruvian Moment in cooking, which is to say that point where Peru's intricate interplay of high-mountain produce and flavors from the sea, of pre-Columbian tradition, European aesthetics and Asian technique, are beginning to move from folk fusion to a full-bore world cuisine. Los Angeles is experiencing its own Peruvian Moment, although in some respects — several of Nobu Matsuhisa's signature preparations are rooted in Peruvian dishes — many of us have been eating Peruvian food for years.

Picca, a loud, glassed-in bar-restaurant occupying the top floor of the townhouse that is also home to Sotto, is the pace-setting Peruvian restaurant in town. But the approach of Ricardo Zarate, a Lima-born chef who began the current movement at his Mo-Chica, is the opposite of Matsuhisa's. Instead of inflecting izakaya cuisine through Andean flavors, he's filtering Peruvian cooking through the aesthetics of the sushi bar, so that causas, the criollo dish of cold mashed potatoes, becomes the base of a blocky kind of nigiri sushi, and the idea of anticuchos, traditionally skewers of grilled, marinated beef heart, has been expanded to include skewered sweet potatoes with honey and salmon with miso. The drinks, designed by cocktailian Julian Cox, are pretty left-field, unless you're the kind of person who expects frankincense dissolved in her rum. And you'll never run across a better version of carapulcra, an Inca-era stew of freeze-dried potatoes that may have been the first recorded instance of molecular cuisine. 9575 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A. (310) 277-0133, piccaperu.com. Mon.-Thurs., 6-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Full bar. Valet parking. AE, MC, V. Peruvian.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ANNE FISHBEIN

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Picca

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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