This Week's Restaurant Review, The Condensed Version: Paiche
Kampachi Ceviche at Paiche.
Vital Statistics: This is Zarate's third restaurant, the first being Mo-Chica (which moved downtown last year from its original South Central location in a food court) and the second being Picca. Zarate bills Paiche as a Peruvian izakaya.
Food: Fun small plates with Japanese and Peruvian influences. You'll see Zarate's signature boldness and bright flavors, and the menu is long. There are grilled items, ceviche/sashimi hybrid dishes, warming stews and one impressive whole fish. Much of this food is like a party on a plate, exciting in the extreme. Some of it veers into overwrought or overly clever.
Drinks: From the review: "Cocktails, created by Deysi Alvarez, are unabashedly beach-centric: Pert, full of citrus and tropical elements, they're a refreshingly grown-up vision of what fruit-heavy drinks can accomplish. Yes, the Maracuya Caipirinha is full of passion fruit and lime and cane syrup, but it's fresh passion fruit -- sweet and sour and delicious."
Looks: Beach wood and brilliant blue panels give the place a bright, ocean theme. If it felt a little too much like a swank chain to me that was lost on my friends, one of whom said it was more like an upscale hotel restaurant.
Takeaway: 2 stars (good). From the review: "Paiche is a fun, colorful restaurant serving highly creative food in a neighborhood that sorely needs more options."
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