2 Stars for Japanese & Peruvian eats on Calle Ocho at Kopas

Gastro-pubbed and tapas-plated out, we were eager to start the new year at Kopas, a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant on Eighth Street, especially since vaunted Spanish chef Ferran Adria and other world-trotting foodies call this South American country’s cuisine The Next Big Thing.

It was a solitary pursuit. On both 8pm visits, we were the lone diners in a large, lacquered room with an empty outdoor patio and a sole waiter humming Pitbull tunes behind a shale-rock bar. We were assured both times that the crowds would come later for salsa and reggaeton nights on Wednesdays and Fridays, when DJs, not ceviches, are the draw. Party-worn couches, a prominent DJ booth and the days-old aroma of cigarettes and cocktails backed up the story.

What Worked

  • A basket of hot rolls served with a creamy green dipping sauce made from ají amarillo chiles, huacatay leaves and olive oil
  • Ceviche with lime-marinated red onions and sweet potatoes that packed a lovely citrus punch
  • Conchas al estilo Nikkei – five perky, miso-marinated scallops with a small puddle of passion fruit sauce beneath and a snippet of lemongrass
  • Surprisingly thoughtful presentations Respectable lomo saltado – well-seasoned beef strips, crunchy peppers and onions in enough soy sauce and red wine for soaking the accompanying white rice and french fries


What Didn’t Work

  • Typos on the 9-month-old restaurant’s bilingual menu
  • An unidentified fish in classic tiradito
    Missing flavor and freshness in seafood
  • An over-abundance of yellow pepper cream sauce in the tiraditos
  • Mushy shrimp ceviche
  • Heavy-handed Japanese dishes
  • Chunks of fried meat and fish in soggy batter
  • A limited dessert menu that featured soggy tempura battery and cloying, sweet sauces


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