Sweet & savory delights from the land of Incas in Sunrise
9160 W. Commercial Blvd, Sunrise
Hours: 11:30am-9pm, Monday-Thursday, till 11pm, Friday-Saturday, noon-8pm Sunday
Prices: Starters $4.99-$13.99, entrees $10.49-$15.99, sides $2.49-$2.99, sandwiches $5.99-$6.49, dessert $3.49-$4.49, kids' menu $3.99.
FYI: beer and wine; $7 corkage fee. Free parking lot. AX, DS, MC, VS.
Peru has one of the world's great cuisines, but in South Florida it's often lost among so many other Latin destinations. Some of the best dishes from the land of the Incas are still found in neighborhood nooks like homey Saxsay Café, hidden in a Sunrise strip shopping center. The name comes from Quechua, the Native American language spoken in the Andes Mountains, and means "to eat and be satisfied," says owner Renzo Salini. You will be more than satisfied by the wonderful food at the 45-seat restaurant. Flavors are vibrant, portions generous, service attentive and everything is less than $16. Dishes are primarily from Salini's home region of northern coastal Peru, prepared by another native, chief cook Vilma Rivera.
Classics like anticucho (skewered, grilled veal heart) and caucau (tripe stew) may evince a wince from some, but there's nothing intimidating about Peru's aromatic cuisine with its Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and African influences.
One staple is corn, so you'll munch on crunchy cancha (think Peruvian popcorn) instead of bread while perusing the extensive menu.
Ambiance: Open 18 months, the café is simple but attractive, with green and crimson walls, cushioned stools at square wood tables and a view of the open kitchen.
- Refreshing ceviche mixto with swirls of sliced red onion, sliced sweet potato and a bracing medley of fish and octopus, calamari and shrimp in a perky lime juice marinade
- Slightly piquant causa - a silky stack of cold mashed potatoes layered with avocado and chopped shrimp (tuna, chicken and octopus also available) in a mayo-based sauce
- Delightful pescado a lo macho -- a hungry man's plate loaded with lightly breaded fillets of swai (a mild white fish similar to catfish) plus shrimp, octopus, mussels and calamari in a mild ají panca chile pepper sauce, served with white rice and fried yuca
- Ají de gallina - shredded chicken bathed in a luxurious yellow pepper sauce, served with boiled potatoes and white rice
- Classic lomo saltado - slivers of slightly chewy skirt steak sautéed with onions, tomatoes and cilantro
- Picarones - scrumptious pumpkin doughnuts drenched in brown sugar syrup
- Lucuma ice cream made from the Andean fruit
- Irresistible bavarois de guin-dones -- dried plums nestled in a heavenly meringue.
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