QUESTION: I HAVE A DATE THIS SATURDAY WITH A LADY FROM PERU. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW OF ANY GOOD PERUVIAN RESTAURANTS IN THE HOLLYWOOD AREA. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
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—Kenn, Los Angeles
ANSWER: See that rectangular Chiclet directly to the left of the Z on your keyboard? That’s the shift key — you might want to investigate its many and various uses. Chicks dig it, I’m told.
Hollywood Peruvian restaurants tend not to be conducive to romance. Don Felix, certainly the most popular, is awash in squabbling families, an experience that should probably wait until later in the relationship. Tumis is named after an Inca surgical instrument used to bore holes in human skulls, which is a bit of an acquired taste. Pollo a la Brasa has great barbecued chicken, but the ambience leaves a little to be desired, unless you really like leaning on a pile of logs in the middle of a traffic island. Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood has never been described as a passion pit, perhaps. The walls are decorated with pictures of llamas and gore-streaked religious figures. The lighting is a little harsh. The Peruvian-Chinese saltados and chaufas are routine. But still: The ceviche is fine, the crunchy “chicharrones” of fried squid are delicious, and the chupe de camarones tastes a little like a shrimp-spiked variation on the kind of peppery cream gravy that makes biscuits spring to life. And really — what could be better at a romantic dinner than an insinuation of the romantic breakfast to come? Don Felix, 4435 Fountain Ave., (323) 669-7575. Tumis, 5870 Melrose Ave., (323) 962-2027. Pollo a la Brasa, 764 S. Western Ave., (323) 382-4090. Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood, 5786 Melrose Ave.,(323) 466-4181.