China Chilcano

I had lunch at China Chilcano by José Andrés with my BFF Brookie on 5-25-2017. I was anxious to try it because I had heard very mixed reviews from friends–people either loved it or really weren’t feelin’ it. Well I can safely safe  it was fantastic. The food was good but the service was impeccable, not to mention the fact the space is AMAZINGLY decorated.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5
Food & Drink: 4 out of 5

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Warning: I took about a million pictures of the decor but how could you not?! It was so visually appealing. It had so much going but was still really cohesive.

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This is the bar directly in front of you when you walk in and to the left of the entrance.

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This is the seating area in the bar. How great are those red light fixtures and the neon on the ceiling!?

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This is the view to the right of the entrance.

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There were all these cool, funky little seating nooks. This one was right next to the entrance.

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And this sunken one was a little further down.

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This is the open kitchen at the far right end of the restaurant.

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And here it is from another angle. You can see the Head Chef Carlos Delgado working away in the middle.

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And here he is with me! He was so nice. He signed my guide, took a picture, and sent us dessert at the end of the meal. Thanks Chef!!

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This is the light fixture above our booth. I usually think Edison bulbs are kind of overdone these days but I really, really liked them here. They looked like they belonged rather than just a trendy addition.

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I love the look of these menus and the red everywhere went very nicely with my Michelin Guide.

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Cancha (Peruvian corn toasted with sea salt). These were so good and kind of addicting.  Think corn nuts in the U.S. but toasted rather than fried.

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Ceviche Amazonico (ora king salmon, charapita leche de tigre, burnt avocado, plantain, hearts of palm, culantro). This had a bright, sweet flavor. You could definitely taste the culantro and the acidity of the lime in the leche de tigre. I didn’t love the texture of the large flat kernels of corn (or maybe beans?) but overall this was a nice dish.

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Leche de tigre. When we asked the waiter about leche de tigre he actually brought us some to try. It’s the base of Peruvian ceviche, containing lime juice, onion, chiles, salt, pepper, and fish juice. It was AMAZING. You could definitely taste the lime and the chiles. I could straight up drink this all day long. I want to use it like a shrub and add club soda to make a spritzer.

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Dorado siu mai (pork, shrimp, jicama, shiitake mushroom, peanut topped with golden egg, black vinegar chicha de jora dipping sauce). This had a really good little siu mai base. It was topped with an egg, the texture and flavor of which was a little distracting to me. However, I brought some home to my husband and he absolutely loved it.

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Concha siu mai (scallop, pork, jicama, shiitake, mushroom, tobiko). These were definitely my favorite siu mai. The roe was a little overwhelming fishy at first; by the end I didn’t even notice it apart from the popping crunch. And while I couldn’t really taste any scallop, the ground pork and overall flavor were outstanding. I would get this again.

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Pollo siu mai (chicken, scallion, cloud ear mushroom, aji amarillo). Again the filling of this was really well done. I also liked the aji amarillo on top, which was a slightly spicy paste made out of peppers.

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California roll (potato causa, jumbo lump crab, spicy mayo, cucumber, avocado, tobiko, huancaina sauce). This was really different. While it’s not exactly my style, I totally respect how cool it was. The roll itself was like mashed potatoes surrounding sticks of cucumber. That was topped with with the lump crab, which was in something like mayo. That combination gave an overall flavor profile almost like potato salad but with cilantro. The texture was the best part. It was obviously really soft but then had this great crispiness from the cucumber and the roe.

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Chicharrón (friend pork belly, sweet potato, salsa criolla, hot sauce, plantain chips). The plantain chips were definitely the best part of this. They were razor thin and perfectly fried. They were also topped with Chinese five spice and you could definitely taste the cinnamon. I wasn’t in love with the sandwich itself but it was by no means bad. The sweet potato was a little much with the bread and I couldn’t really taste the pork belly. That said, I loved the salsa criolla, which was like giardinera plus pickled onions.

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Ponderaciones de kiwicha (crispy fried spiral cookie, Fortunato No. 4 chocolate cream, banana, algarrobino ice cream). This was an absolutely delicious gift from the chef. The crispy fried cookie was like the thinnest, lightest, most perfectly fried funnel cake you’ve ever had. It was sitting atop the most dense, rich chocolate pudding topped with dark chocolate crumbles. The bananas were brûléed and the syrup for the ice cream, which comes from carob trees, tasted almost like maple.

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Suspiro Limeña (sweetened condensed milk custard topped with soft and crunchy meringue, passion fruit). This was so different and so damn good. The condensed milk was like caramel topped with passion fruit sorbet. You stir up the whole thing and the resulting flavor was so  unexpectedly good. It had the richness and depth of the custard with the bright, zingy flavor of the sorbet. The soft meringue, which i’d never had before, was also really good. I’d recommend trying this.

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Marcianos (raspberry-lychee, mango-aji amarillo). I never knew popsicles could be so good. Think of those real fruit popsicles taken up about 5 notches. The raspberry-lychee was so bright and flavorful Brooke described it as a starburst on ice. It was so raspberry-y yet actually not too sweet. The mango had an intense mango flavor with a slight spice from the chile. I could eat these all day long.

 

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Overall this was a really, really nice meal. Our waiter Angel was fantastic. He was so helpful and so friendly — you can even see him in the mirror taking our picture! Hi Angel! The food was really good too. I think people who didn’t like this maybe didn’t understand the mix of cuisines? I’m not sure but I know that I really liked it!

P.S. More decor pics. How fun is this bathroom? There’s chalk and people write all over the walls.

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Including me!

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