No. 37: Picca

West L.A.

The pisco sours are frothy, and the small kitchen is a blur of cooks turning skewers of beef heart on the anticucho grill or squeezing rocoto ponzu over the halibut tiradito. Peruvian food could easily get smoothed out and denatured, moving into the domain of blanderized ethno bar food, but Ricardo Zarate has mastered the trick of making his cuisine festive and contemporary while never losing sight of the culture from which it springs. The ceviche criollo—its cubes of sweet potato bobbing in leche de tigre broth with hominy-size kernels of choclo—captures a land where potato is native, corn varieties are many, and squash is a staple.  

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