José Andrés, t who introduced America to traditional Spanish tapas and championed the path of avant-garde cuisine in the U.S., opened China Chilcano, a contemporary Peruvian restaurant, in the heart of Penn Quarter in downtown Washington, DC [418 7th St, NW; 202-783-0941 www.chinachilcano.com].
The restaurant celebrates Peru’s deeply rooted and diverse culinary heritage, including its native Criollo, Chinese Chifa and Japanese Nikkei cuisines. The name pays homage to Peru’s celebrated fish stew and one of its established national drinks, the Chilcano.
Drawing from time-honored techniques and traditional dishes, the menu at China Chilcano explores the crossover of indigenous ingredients between these three distinct culinary cultures and is divided into sections including Dim Sum, Soups, Ceviches, Chaufas, Sanguches and much more.
Andrés’ creative interpretations of Criollo classics, such as Papa a la Huancaina y Ocopa, an appetizer of native yellow potatoes served with two spicy, creamy sauces; Chinese-Peruvian favorites like Siu Mai de Concha, pork shumai dumplings; and Japanese-Peruvian items like the spicy, refreshing Ceviche Nikkei with Erizos de Mar are showcased to both celebrate and reinvent contemporary Peruvian cooking.
“Peru is an astounding place. You have incredible native foods, Chinese classics done the Peruvian way, raw seafood like you may find in Japan, all in one beautiful country,” shared chef Andrés. “My team and I spent a great deal of time there as well as in Asia these past few years and are very excited to share this world of flavors.”
Other menu items include Chinese-inspired Wantán Especial with noodles, chicken, shrimp, pork and bok choy; and the classic Aeropuerto—fried rice with noodles and 20 vegetables; offered alongside items like Chaufa a la Cubana with huevo frito, fried bananas and fresh tomatoes. Additionally, the menu features items inspired by Peru’s early Japanese immigrants, such as the Causaki California Roll; and the Tiradito de Concha Abanico con Maracuya, bay scallop, aji limón, passion fruit and salsa criolla. Desserts like Suspiro de Limeña, the iconic sweet of custard and meringue, a favorite in Lima; Raspadillas, a classic street food of shaved ice and fresh fruit syrups; and Ponderaciones de Kiwicha (also known as Amaranth) with algarrobina ice cream, chocolate and a crispy spiral fried cookie, round out the menu.
The beverage program will feature a full bar with one of the largest libraries of Pisco in the U.S., and a curated wine list with nearly 50 labels highlighting the South American region, rounded out with some European options.
The beer selection includes classics such as Nuevo Mundo, Cumbres, and Cuzqueña. The cocktail menu focuses on unique ingredients and Peruvian spirits with global inspiration; ranging from the traditional Pisco Sour and Chilcano; to more adventurous sips such as the Déjame Querete, pisco, persimmon, cinnamon, lemon, Cholotini,,Macchu Pisco, prickly pear, passion fruit, lemon or the Pisco Alejandro, Cinnamon-Star Anise macerado, soy milk, honey, and vanilla.