Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Macho Picca

Peru invades Pico, with outstanding results

Time to add Peruvian to your list of favorite foods.

Especially when it comes from Chef/owner Ricardo Zarate, he of the short-lived but beloved pop-up Test Kitchen, owner of a rare 27 Zagat rating, and Gordon Ramsay survivor.

Zarate's latest bustling, boisterous creation in Beverly Hills, Picca offers tapas-style dishes served with high-end sushi bar presentation.

Broken into five unpronounceable parts (with helpful definitions spelled out on the mirrored walls), the menu of South American street food ranges from skewers to ceviches — even sushi.

Crisply fried seafood and chicken arrive on sheets of vintage newspaper with tangy sauces. Artful confections of causa sushi — from snow crab to spicy tuna — are served over a spongy potato cake instead of rice.

Combinations you've never thought possible (or even advisable) win the day, such as a seabass and sweet potato ceviche and scallop and wasabi pea skewers.

Squeamish eaters needn't worry. While there are no substitutions allowed, there's plenty of stuff that's accessible.

And all of it a whole lot more enjoyable and less scary than a climb up to Machu Picchu.

9575 W. Pico Blvd., Beverly Hills (310) 277-0133

Price: 2 (out of 4) Noise: 4 (out of 4)
Parking: $6.50 valet or street
Scene: After work Fox execs and cute girls in groups of two.
Best bets: Seabass ceviche; marinated crispy chicken; beef heart skewer
Hot seat: Reservations are hard to come by; grab one by the bar or facing the kitchen if you're stopping in.
Buybacks: If you're feeling the love, you can buy the kitchen staff beers for $6 each.
Nearby: Avalon; Maison 140; Sotto

The Rundown's restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits by reporters, not press releases.

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