Last month, downtown Hollywood welcomed a newcomer to the dining scene: a Peruvian restaurant called La Huaca.
The bar and restaurant offers a decidedly upscale touch to Peruvian fare with a menu offering a series of new takes on traditional dishes, delivering the flavors of Peru in a more modern light.
Husband-and-wife team Ynes and Maher Sona opened La Huaca in October in the space formerly occupied by Sage French Cafe & Oyster Bar. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant is a second venture for the couple, who closed the doors to their Fort Lauderdale-based French and Italian bistro, Bons Moments, in 2007.
Born in Peru, Ynes says she grew up in the industry working alongside her parents in their restaurants. Today, she is the mastermind behind her own concept, La Huaca, which translates to "hidden treasure" in Spanish.
Lima native Daniel Huambachano -- previously with Miami's Peruvian restaurant Francesco -- helms the kitchen as executive chef. His specialties include a number of traditional Peruvian dishes given a modern twist.
Typical Peruvian plates at La Huaca include Huambachano's Causa De Pescado Nikkei, here a chef's specialty (pictured at top). The dish combines mashed yellow potatoes layered with fried white fish and avocado, topped with a rich cream sauce. Lomo Saltado -- a hearty bowl of meat, onions, tomatoes, and ají chilli cooked with fried potatoes and rice -- is another traditional menu staple done in typical fashion.
However, it's dishes like chaufa -- the stir-fry style rice introduced to Peru by Chinese migrant workers -- that have received a makeover from Huambachano. An organic tricolor quinoa replaces the rice and is mixed with sautéed vegetables for a healthy alternative.
Similarly, the restaurant's homemade desserts include the country's popular Suspiro Limeño, a silky caramel-cream pudding topped with fluffy meringue. But the quinoa-flecked creme brûlée is a highlight, says Ynes, delivering added texture and flavor.
Visit lahuacaperuviancuisine.com, or call 954-239-8722.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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