Peruvian cuisine is known for its vibrant multicultural influences, from Spanish and Incan to Asian, African and Mediterranean. Yet we were still surprised to see our seafood arriving in a large wooden sushi boat at La Perla Del Rincon Del Mar. It turns out the Peruvian owners of the Sunrise restaurant, sisters Nancy and Laura Maruyama, are of Japanese descent. Laura runs the original La Perla in West Kendall while Nancy and her niece Rosemary Medina are at the helm in Sunrise. Fans of Peruvian food will find favorites like citrus-marinated ceviches, potatoes in yellow pepper sauce and juicy steaks at both locations. Grab a seat on the covered patio, savor a killer pisco soup and study La Perla’s daunting menu (120 items on seven pages).
Ambience: Colorful murals (left by former tenant Mambo Jambo) and lots of wood elevate the storefront setting. The mostly Spanish-speaking servers are sweet but offer limited explanations.
- A ceviche mixto sampler with shimmery slices of grouper, octopus, calamari and shrimp marinated in lime juice, served with sliced sweet potato, lettuce and large kernels of Peruvian corn A starter of pulpo al olivo – slices of boiled Japanese octopus with a delicious dip of mayo and black olives
- Causa, a mashed potato-based Peruvian standard, is mounded with a layer of tuna, chicken or shrimp salad then drizzled with an ají pepper sauce and garnished with avocado slices
- Lomo saltado – a stir-fry of marinated steak strips, tomato wedges, onion slices and parsley served with white rice and french fries t
- Basic churrasco with a simple chimichurri
- Comforting ají de gallina – shredded chicken in a creamy sauce of crushed walnuts, Parmesan and yellow pepper served with rice and boiled potatoes
- Chaufa de pollo – Peru’s tasty version of Chinese fried rice studded with finely chopped red and green bell peppers
- Sushi boat – an impressive array of fried fish (grouper & calamari rings), Chinese-style shumai and dumplings, a Parmesan-blanketed scallop and shrimp
- Picarones – doughnuts drenched in syrup
- Bavarois – dried plums nestled in a heavenly meringue
What Didn’t Work
- Thick and overwhelming asparagus sauce
- Chewy skewered shrimp