Bravo Gourmet Sandwich Shop Kicks Your Butifarra

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"Nice. It smells like a


," said our resident Peruvian, Miche. "Looks like the real thing too." I had brought him back said butifarra from


-- a Peruvian sandwich shop in the north side of Wilton Manors -- partially because he couldn't get away from his desk for lunch. But mostly, I brought him back one because I wanted someone well-acquainted with the typical Peruvian sandwich of criolo-style country ham and red onions to test its authenticity.


Turns out, Miche devoured the butifarra and loved every minute of

it, saying it was the closest thing to the sandwiches of his mother

country he's ever had stateside. And, for what it's worth, I really dug

mine too. The country ham on it is more like pork than the name

suggests. Dense slabs of the white meat are piled onto the sandwich

like a deck of cards, and they're layered with a liberal portion of

raw, red onions. The onions turn sweet against the savory saltiness of

the "ham," while a slick of mayo-based mustard sauce provides both the

lubricant and a tangy counterpoint. The best bit, though, is the bread,

which, according to Miche, is the real key to an authentic butifarra.

It's got to have a firm crust but a light and airy dough that cedes

with ease to the passage of teeth. Bravo's bread followed that formula

to a T.

I didn't stop at the butifarra, though. A lomo saltado sandwich

makes portable the traditional Peruvian dish of sliced steak sauteed

with thick wedges of onion and tomato. I watched the shop's cook saute

the filling for the sandwich right to order, adding in that soy-based

sauce that makes lomo saltado so rich and brown and sparking up a big

plume of flame as he tossed it around the pan. On the sandwich, it was

awesome -- the only thing missing was the typical French fries that are

tossed in the saute to soak up that delicious, dark sauce.

A plate of pork tamales came with two freshly steamed corn husks

housing masa cakes filled with big chunks of shredded pork. One of our

Jewish coworkers had ordered it because she felt a sandwich was bad

form around Passover. She must've loved the criolo-covered pork,

because she downed it with gusto. Hey; food is its own religion


Bravo also does a mean-looking ceviche, dressed authentically with red onions, cilantro, lime, and slivers of aji amarillo

and saddled alongside boiled Peruvian corn, crunchy corn kernels, and a

wedge of sweet potato. I wanted to give the papa a la Huacaina a go,

but I was too full for the thick and spicy, cheese sauce-covered spuds.

If I weren't, though, the prices wouldn't have been an issue: All the apps ran

under $5, save the $9 ceviche and a $6 plate of skewered beef

anticuchos. Sandwiches follow suit, all falling at or under $7.50.

There are desserts and drinks -- fruit juices and shakes made of papaya, mango, and lucuma,

a Peruvian favorite -- and, of course, they have cans of Inca Kola at

the ready in the cooler. For a sandwich shop, Bravo stays pretty true

to its roots. Even before Miche told me his sandwich was the real

deal, I had sort of sniffed it out. There were alfajores on the counter, after all. Those dry, crumbly Peruvian cookies filled with dulce de leche are a tell-tale sign that a joint knows what's up.

Bravo Gourmet Sandwich Shop
2925 NE 6th Ave., Wilton Manors

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