5 Must-Try Dishes at Jose Andres’ China Chilcano

By Rina Rapuano  |  February 5, 2015
Credit: Ken Wyner

A hot cuisine in a hot neighborhood brought to us by one of the city's hottest restaurateurs means you should hot-foot it over to José Andrés' China Chilcano ASAP. But once the extensive menu lands on the table at this Penn Quarter Peruvian spot, it can be tough to decipher the chef's playful twists on Chifa (Peruvian Chinese) and Nikkei (Peruvian Japanese) dishes and narrow down the choices. Lucky for you, we're here to help. Here are the five dishes we can't wait to order again as we sip our obligatory Pisco Sour ($12):

California Causagiri ($15)
This play on sushi (pictured below) marries the traditional Peruvian potato causa with Japanese nigiri, with soft potato cubes topped with jumbo lump crab, tobiko, spicy mayo, cucumber and avocado flanked by a dish of bright huancaina sauce — a slightly spicy cream sauce made with aji amarillo peppers.

Dorado ($16) and Concha ($12) Siu Mai 
These dim sum dumplings are filled with silky blends of shrimp and pork (for the dorado) and scallop and pork (for the concha) served in a bamboo steamer with a dipping sauce of black vinegar and chicha de jora (a Peruvian alcoholic drink made from corn). The dorado siu mai (pictured below) also feature a quail egg plus jicama and peanuts for texture. Each comes seven to an order.

Tam Tam ($12)
This flavorful take on dan dan noodles (pictured below) was a table favorite as we tore into the beautifully made, hand-cut wheat noodles topped with ground spicy pork, peanuts and aji panca, a dark red chile known for its mild spice and smoky flavor.

Ensalada de Quinua ($10)
Adding something fresh and healthy to the meal line-up is always a good call, and here we recommend the flavorful and texture-rich salad of quinoa, Peruvian corn, cucumber, Japanese sweet potato and fresh cheese. It's served with lettuce cups that you can scoop the mixture into and eat by hand, making it easy to share. 

Suspiro Limeña ($8)
This enchanting take on a beloved Peruvian dessert (pictured below) has a coiled base of creamy, sweetened condensed milk custard — which tastes much like caramel — topped with soft and crunchy meringues and dollops of passion fruit sorbet that perfectly cut the richness and sweetness. 

418 Seventh St. NW; 202-783-0941