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Puro Sabor: A Peruvian gastronomical wonder

Posted By Karen Young On June 22, 2010 @ 12:05 am In Cuisine,Dinner,Eat,Featured,Food,Lunch,My Daily Find,Peruvian,Restaurants,spotlight | 5 Comments

BY KAREN YOUNG

One of the most interesting aspects of the San Fernando Valley is its diversity of cultures and with that comes some truly authentic ethnic eateries — in perhaps some out of the way places that are so worth the drive — and Puro Sabor is one of them.

I’d heard random comments for sometime now about this little Peruvian restaurant located in Van Nuys just north of the Civic Center, so I grabbed a friend and we took a short drive for a late lunch to see what the buzz was all about.

Ceviche de Mixto is filled with shrimp, fish, octopus and squid. Photos: Karen Young.

We walked into Puro Sabor (meaning ‘pure flavor‘)—a small, rather simple and clean eatery with yellowish-gold walls filled with framed posters of Peru, and sat down at a booth.  Immediately we were given a basket of fresh rolls accompanied by Aji, a spicy liquid dip made of black mint (a Peruvian seasoning) and yellow chili mixed with milk and cheese. As soon we opened our menus and read the offerings, we were transported to another place — if just for a meal.

Peruvian cuisine comes from a mix of cultures — the predominant being Spanish, but is fused with Japanese, Chinese and African influences. The menu consists of  wonderful choices of ceviche, seafood, beef and chicken.  Seafood is offered in all forms here — fried, steamed, marinated, sauced, hot and cold. Many of the dishes have recurring ingredients in various forms of potato, corn, chile and beans. Cassava, also called Yuca, which is comparable to a type of potato (but differs because it is fiber filled), is used in a multitude of dishes.

Chicharron de Calamar is fried calamari, plantains, and cassava which is like a fiber-filled potato.

Ceviche is served in all Peruvian restaurants, so we had to try it here. There is a choice of five, plus a choice to make your own order. We chose the Ceviche de Mixto ($12.50), a combination of fish, shrimp, squid and octopus. We were expecting a small portion as usually served in restaurants around town, but instead were surprised to be served a plate piled with tender seafood topped with roasted corn and onion. It was perfectly marinated with lemon and seasonings — tangy and absolutely delicious.

Next up was the Chicharron de Calamar ($7.50). Another giant plate piled high. This is fried calamari, served with plantains (fried bananas) and cassava (cut like large fries). If you like calamari, this is a really good one, but personally, I was also happy just eating the plantains (about the best I’ve had) and the cassava (which can both be ordered as sides).

Lomo Saltado is a traditional Peruvian dish with Asian influences.

For our main course, we chose (and choosing was difficult) the Lomo Saltado ($10.95), a traditional Peruvian dish with Asian influences consisting of perfectly sautéed chunks of tender ribeye steak, tomatoes, onions and thickly cut fries. This is a delectable one-dish meal and is considered more of a stir-fry. There are other choices of Saltado with seafood, chicken, meat and combinations of each.

Pineapple juice is fresh and frothy — just one of a selection of juices offered.

Last we ordered Picorones ($5) for dessert. Although not listed on the menu, we knew about them and asked. They look like fried donuts, but are really made out of squash and sweet potato and covered with  Chancaca, which is a sweet molasses type sauce.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t too sweet, but it is addictive. The plate came with five and we polished them right off.

Picorones are made of pumpkin and sweet potato. They are not listed on the menu, so ask for them.

The service was quick and pleasant, although our server didn’t speak much English, so questions took some time to answer.

Puro Sabor is indeed filled with ‘pure flavor’ — full of gastronomical surprises.  I can’ t wait to go back and taste more.

Puro Sabor 6366 Van Nuys Blvd,Van Nuys, CA 91497  (818) 908-08189  Just south of Victory. Open seven days a week 9 am- 9pm.  Open for breakfast.  Delivery and Catering for special events.

Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find. Suggestions? Ideas? Just want to say ‘hey’? Email: karen@mydailyfind.com

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