The Undercover Vegetarian: Paiche
Ensalada de Quinoa: shmenji mushrooms, crispy quinoa, huacatay dressing, mushroom mousse, at Paiche.
One of the great strengths of having a sprawling menu is that you should be able to offer something for everyone. That is certainly the case at Paiche, where the selections stretch across a variety of moods and styles. Ricardo Zarate, Paiche's chef, is known primarily for his Peruvian cooking -- bright ceviches and hearty meat dishes. But his vegetable and vegetarian dishes are just as thoughtful.
Zarate has an affinity for quinoa, and offers a couple of dishes on Paiche's menu that show two very different aspects of the grain's potential. One is a salad with shimenji mushrooms, and showcases the way quinoa can be light and savory. The other is a risotto with English peas, a dish that I found almost too rich, though I think it might come as a godsend to a vegetarian to find something so hearty and decadent as well as meat-free on a menu.
There are a couple different preparations of eggplant to choose from, airy yuca beignets that ooze with manchego, and fun rice pancakes with spring onion.
Of course, you could always get salad, and Paiche offers one. But at a restaurant with this many creative vegetarian options it would be a shame.
See also: The Undercover Vegetarian archives.
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