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Picca

In barely more than two years, Ricardo Zarate went from running a beloved Peruvian stand in an L.A. food court to being named one of the country’s best new chefs by Food & Wine magazine. His latest endeavor reflects his change in status. The minimalist spot revolves around a glass-enclosed kitchen and a bustling cocktail bar, where Julian Cox showcases the perks of pisco. Zarate isn’t the first to fuse the flavors of Japan and Peru. But there’s a novelty to Zarate’s “causa sushi”: a traditional yellow potato mash topped with raw albacore or scallop. His anticuchos in- clude grilled skewers of the classic corazon (beef heart) and the not-so-classic sweet potato with serrano chile sauce. All dishes are less than $15—even the hearty quinoa- pumpkin stew. Add Latin jazz on the stereo, and this place sizzles. » 9575 W. Pico Blvd., West L.A. (310-277-0133 or piccaperu.com). D Mon.-Sat. Full bar. Peruvian $$

Photograph by Misha Gravenor