Embarcadero 41 caught my attention a few months ago for being a Peruvian restaurant that was slightly on the fancier side. Since it’s located in Downtown Miami, and hard to get to (parking in Downtown is always a nightmare), it took me a while to get myself to go check it out.
The restaurant itself is a little bit hard to find. So, if you make a reservation, give yourself extra time to find the place AND find parking.
Each table gets a plate of plantain chips and cancha (crunchy Peruvian corn). Plantain chips aren’t something I normally expect to get at a Peruvian restaurant, but I was glad for them. They came with a sauce that I didn’t taste. Honestly, the chips were so perfectly warm and crispy that any sauce might have ruined them. And, of course, cancha is always a winner with me.
I was surprised to find that they stock a full bar, and not just wine, beer, and Pisco. Because it is totally acceptable to drink on a Saturday afternoon, we ordered mojitos. My passion fruit mojito was one of the best that I have had in a while. The exotic and tart tones of the passion fruit were in full force in my cocktail. My sister’s strawberry mojito was also good, but she ordered a passion fruit mojito of her own after she finished it (and half of mine – damn her).
One thing that caught my eye on their menu was their lomo saltado tequeños. Tequeños are a Venezuelan snack food featuring salty white cheese wrapped in dough and fried. Peruvian-style tequeños more closely resemble egg rolls. This version also had the iconic Peruvian lomo saltado with the cheese. We ordered them because they sounded weird enough to be a change of pace, but not so weird that the flavors wouldn’t work together. The flavor combination was something that I wasn’t prepared for. Each bite of soft, salty, stretchy cheese with the tender and juicy beef was like a harmonic overture taking place in my mouth. I wanted to keep eating them, but I stopped myself to save room for my entree.
I still have fond memories of the amazing risotto that I had at Perufest 2 years ago. So, when I saw the lomo saltado risotto on the menu, I knew that I had to try it. The risotto’s taste was reminiscent of huancaina, the spicy Peruvian cheese sauce. The chunks of sauteed beef that the rice was topped with were as soft and tender as I hoped they would be. The sauce from the sauteed beef mixed with the spicy, cheese rice were an excellent set of complimentary flavors. While it didn’t taste like the one from Perufest, it was a great dish nonetheless.
Service at Embarcadero 41 was also good. We didn’t have to ask for refills, and food was brought out at appropriate intervals. If I am ever craving Peruvian food while I’m in downtown, I will check them out again.
For more information on Embarcadero 41, visit their web site at http://embarcadero41.com/miami/