As the Byrds (and Ecclesiastes) once said, “To everything there’s a season.” A time to plant, a time to heal, and a time for Ricardo Zarate to move Mo-Chica from the humble Mercado Paloma into grander digs. That time is now. Food & Wine‘s 2012 Best New Chef stopped serving his specialty ceviches and Peruvian classics at the USC-adjacent location last week, and today begins slinging them out of a brand new restaurant on downtown’s 7th Street. We cheer the change, which is a sign of Zarate’s success—the original (and tiny) Mo-Chica stall was the only thing he could afford in 2009. He’s now able to expand, thanks in part to booming business at the chef’s second restaurant, Picca, where he serves spruced-up standards like this lomo saltado. One of Peru’s staples, the dish illustrates the country’s flare for mixing Asian flavors (soy, ginger) with Latin ones (cilantro, aji amarillo). For authenticity, throw the meaty hunks over a pile of french fries, or go Zarate style and stack thick potato bricks on top.
8 oz (1/2 pound) beef fillet, cut into cubes
1 small red onion, sliced thick
1 medium tomato, sliced thick
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon green onion, finely chopped
Ground black pepper and salt
Lomo Saltado Salsa
3/4 cup red wine vinegar:
½ cup ginger, grated
½ cup garlic, grated
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Aji Amarillo puree
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
Add 5 tablespoons of oil to a hot frying pan and sear the beef with a pinch of SALT and pepper. Place aside
Add oil to hot clean frying pan and toss the onion for a minute with medium heat.
Add the beef and tomato, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for a minute, then add some of the lomo saltado salsa until the mixture is as wet as you desire. Mix for another minute.
514 W. 7th Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, 90014