Location: 13488 Maxella Ave, Marina del Rey, CA 90292. 310.893.6100
Date: April 19 & 26, 2013
Cuisine: Japanese Peruvian
Rating: Flavors that Pop!
Paiche is a new joint in the Marina del Rey mall complex (near the Theaters). It’s the third Peruvian brain child of Ricardo Zarate and Stephane Bombet who brought us Picca (review here and here) and Mo-Chica. For whatever reason, LA’s culinary zeitgeist is on fire with Peruvian fusion. And I admit it’s a nice cuisine with it’s bright sock you in the face flavors and savory Japanese ingredients.
The modern, vaguely nautical, and rather loud interior space. Paiche follows all the rules of the post 2008 trendy restaurant: loud, hard spaces, open kitchen, paper menu, busy bar, fancy cocktails, short wine list, no table cloths etc.
The obligatory paper menu. Which, given this is tapas style and you need to order lots of dishes, I like — because I write on it!
Spanish seemed like the thing to bring (given my Euro-centric collection and the food), so I brought a couple modern Iberian classics.
2009 Raul Pérez Rías Baixas Muti. IWC 91. Bright yellow-gold. Deeply pitched aromas of smoky lees, bergamot, apricot pit and salty minerals. Viscous, palate-coating orchard and pit fruit flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity and complemented by honeysuckle and a hint of spun sugar. Wild, complex and singular wine with strong finishing cut and sappy persistence. This is far removed from your classic albarino.
Tuna Tartar | Caviar // Soy Ceviche Dressing // Wonton Chips.
The classic Nobu dish (see here both at Matsuhisa and Takao). This version was punched up with the extremely zesty dressing.
Eggplant Tartar | Grilled eggplant Mousse // Japanese cucumber // wonton chips.
Similar was the eggplant, but it had a nice smokey flavor too it.
Yuquitas | Stuffed yuca beignets // manchego cheese // grated parmesan.
These were great, as who doesn’t love fried cheese?
Eggplant. AJI PANCA AKA MISO SAUCE // SHAVED PARMESAN.
Tamalito Verde. NORTHERN PERUVIAN TAMALES // SHIMENJI MUSHROOMS // SECO SAUCE.
Very tasty sauce.
Paiche Wrap Lettuce | Grilled Amazonian Fish // Anticucho Miso Marinated.
The restaurant is named after the world’s largest fresh water fish (Paiche – pictured below). It’s one hell of a swimmer, and tasty to boot. These tacos were delicious with a nice texture and a smoky bbq vibe.
Shrimp Dumplings | Soy Lime Dressing // Spicy Rocoto Infused Oil.
Really nice, bright with a bit of zest and spice.
Uni Shrimp Toast | Sea Urchin // Shrimp Paste Toast // Rocoto Honey Sauce.
A little too much tomato for me, and as a tomato hater, this distracted.
Wagyu Beef | Seared Wagyu // Parmesan Sauce // Aji Amarillo Vinaigrette.
A very interested combination. It’s a taradito, but not with fish, instead with seared wagyu. The parmesan sauce worked, but i’m not sure the vinaigrette was totally successful.
Seabass | Seared seabass // Amazonian Sacha inchi oil // soy dressing // garlic // oba.
A more classic taradito, very bright and pleasant.
Pisco Sour. PORTON PISCO, ORGANIC EGG WHITE, LIME JUICE, LEMON JUICE, EVAPORATE CANE SYRUP, CINNAMON TINCTURE ANGOSTURA BITTERS.
Pretty much straight uni with shiso, but it’s a lovely and classic combination and the uni was VERY fresh Santa Barbara uni and quite lovely.
Simple, but good.
Nice salmon, but the super zesty sauce pretty much wiped out the fish flavor.
Chicharron de pescado. CRISPY FISH CHICHARRON // LIME YUZU SAUCE
Grilled Quail Anticucho | pisco basted // ume plum wine dressing.
Really tasty with a strong char and a bit of sweetness.
Rock Shrimp Tempura | Spicy Chancaca Soy Dressing // Rocoto Aioli.
Much like the Nobu classic.
Amaebi | Filo Dough Wrap // Sweet Shrimp // Jalapeño Ponzu Dressing.
This fried shrimp body was really succulent and delicious.
2007 Bodega Margon Pricum Prieto Picudo. Parker 92+. The 2007 Prieto Picudo made from vines ranging in age from 60-100 years. It was fermented in foudre with native yeasts and aged for 13 months in French oak. Dark ruby-colored, it sports a sexy bouquet of Asian spices, wild berries, truffle, and underbrush. Vibrant, complex, and structured on the palate, it is packed with savory red fruits, and displays impeccable balance. It will evolve for several years and drink well for a decade.
Short Ribs | prime short ribs // bbq sauce.
This is from the “short ribs as pastrami” school, but it was good.
Calamari Relleno | Stuffed Baby Squid // Chorizo // Aji Pepian.
Pretty tasty, like sausage (not spicy) covered in chewy squid.
Saltado de Quail | Sauteed Quail // Five Spice // Rosemary Rocoto Dressing.
Nice bbq quail.
The server recommended these, but they were a little hard for my taste.
Saltado de Camarones | Sauteed Shrimps // Tomato Onion Stew // Home Made Pasta.
Really very tasty pasta.
Ceviche de Pato | confit duck // ceviche stew // pallares tacu tacu.
Another good dish combining richness and zest.
Arroz con Conchas Negras y Erizo | Blood Clams // Sea Urchin // Risotto.
Pleasant briny flavor punched up by the dynamite sauce.
Chaufa de Langosta | Lobster // Mixed Seafood // Fried Rice.
Very pleasant seafood flavors and that zesty dynamite.
Seco de Paiche | Amazonian Fish Stew // Cilantro Aderezo Sauce // Pallares.
Almost curry like, really very very delicious and exotic tasting.
Churros. Chocolate sauce and Peruvian fruit sauce.
Small, but delicious. Just little donut balls.
Not very coconutty, but very delicious for sure.
A kind of extremely flavorful (and sweet) raspberry ice. Except it might not be raspberry, and might be some South American fruit. Either way, I really liked it.
Overall, Paiche is not only delicious but very fun. I really enjoy getting to taste so many things in one meal and it’s full of very bright punchy flavors. Everything is extremely on point and well executed. While some dishes were better than others, there wasn’t a one that fell short of what it was trying to be. It’s new and crowded, and for good reason!
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