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Don’t let the location fool you. Situated in an outdoor shopping center in southwest Kendall—a good 40-minute drive from trendy South Beach—and in Doral, Pisco Y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar features some of the tastiest morsels in South Florida. Tops on their menu are the ceviches, blends of traditional yet modern ingredients that call on the flavors of Peru.
It’s no surprise that this lust-worthy concept was created by the Centurion Restaurant Group, the same visionaries behind Bulla Gastrobar in Coral Gables. After all, this is a group known for bright flavors and the bold use of Spanish ingredients. But instead of touring Spain for menu inspiration at Pisco Y Nazca, Owner Carlos Centurion and VP/Partner Juan Carlos Marchan traveled to Peru. The result: the highly acclaimed debut of Pisco Y Nazca in late 2015.
Although he originally hails from Ecuador, Marchan is in love with Peruvian cuisine and culture. It only makes sense, then, that he would imbue his newest restaurant with the spirit and soul of Peru—from the innovative menu to the friendly, approachable service and earth tone-rich design. It helps that Executive Chef Miguel Antonio Gomez Fernandez was born and raised in Peru, and understands the straightforward flavors of the cuisine. Central to this tradition is the edgy, ineluctable, inimitable Peruvian heat.
“Peruvians love their spice,” Marchan says. “The country has hundreds of different type of peppers, many of which are native to Peru.” To showcase that variety, Pisco Y Naza features a piquant punch in many of their signature ceviches, where freshly caught seafood is marinated in a blend of citrus, chile peppers, and tropical fruits. The Cremoso Ceviche, for example, combines mahi and shrimp with habanero peppers, creamy leche de tigre, celery, and sweet potato. Another spicy choice: the Jalapeño Huacatay, which bathes salmon and shrimp in a creamy jalapeño leche de tigre sauce.
The most popular ceviche on Pisco Y Nazca’s menu, however, is the Rocoto—a meaty mix of mahi, shrimp, octopus, fried calamari, rocoto leche de tigre, cancha, and sweet potato.
For fish lovers unsure of the raw seafood in ceviche, dishes like the Pargo Crocante might be a better pick—fried whole snapper served over a spicy Asian sauce—or the Salmon Andino—seared salmon served over a bed of quinoa salad and avocado with huacatay sauce. And don’t miss the Choros Mariners, a pound of steamed mussels swimming in ají amarillo, chico de jora, and cream served with a stack of crostini to soak up the leftover broth.
With its focus on fresh fish, often served raw, Pisco Y Nazca is intent on sourcing only the highest quality seafood. An impressive feat, considering that its under-the-sea stars hail from all over the Americas, including Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. That variety is what yields a rainbow of flavors on the menu, however—a signature tack of which Chef Miguel is particularly proud.
If you’re not a fan of seafood, don’t fret; carnivores are not forgotten at Pisco Y Nazca. Just as central to Peruvian cuisine are dishes like Lomo Saltado (stir-fried tenderloin), Churrascazo (grilled aged Angus skirt steak), and Anticucho Corazón (grilled beef heart skewers). There’s even a twist on the classic burger—dubbed the Que Bestia Burger—which features a charred eight-ounce Angus beef patty, accompanied by tomato-panca chutney, rocoto pepper aïoli, and shoestring fries.
Alongside these perennial favorites are rustic, flaky empanadas filled with chicken stew or mushrooms, classic Pollo Asado (crispy roasted half chicken with french fries and green salad), and hearty Chaufa (fried rice with shrimp and calamari).
For dessert, there’s only one option that commends itself: the Chocolate Dome. This decadent gustatory valediction is composed of a sphere of dark chocolate filled with sweet potato custard and warm ganache. “It’s been a tremendous success,” enthuses Marchan. “I cannot tell you how many times our guests whip out their phones to see this dessert unveiled tableside.” The inspiration came, not surprisingly, from a restaurant in Lima. Marchan’s culinary team simply customized the concept for an American clientele.
Food, however, is only half of the culinary equation; drink is an absolute must in Peruvian culture. The country’s national drink, Pisco Sour, is naturally foremost on the menu. “It’s a classic cocktail, and you don’t really want to mess with it,” Marchan notes. To wit, Pisco Y Nazca’s rendition is stiff and strong, just as it is served in Peru—made with three ounces of Pisco Cuatro Gallos to awaken all of the senses.
Beer is a fixture in Peru, too; Peruvian labels like Cristal and Cusqueña are offered at Pisco Y Nazca, alongside Miami craft bews like MIA Weisse, Wynwood La Rubia, and Pop’s Porter. If the prospect of a full Peruvian meal is a bit daunting, Marchan encourages guests to sip and sample at happy hour, stretching from 4-7pm daily. There are even soccer games broadcast on flatscreen TVs for obsessed footballers.
Whoever you are, you likely have a place at Pisco Y Nazca. “Our crowd is comprised of adventurous foodies, social butterflies, and generally awesome people,” quips Marchan. “Kendall is a growing area and has welcomed us with open arms. In turn, we welcome everyone.”
So what’s next for Pisco Y Nazca? A second location is already open in Doral, not to mention an expanded menu and updated design. The restaurant’s expansion will roll out from there, with planned spin-offs in Sunrise and Tampa, Florida; Washington, DC; and Houston.
“We want to continue sharing our love for Peruvian cuisine,” says Marchan. “We’ve had multiple requests from travelers all over the country to bring this gem to their home cities. That’s exactly what we plan to do.”
By Jacquelynn Powers Maurice | Print Contributor

When it comes to Peruvian food and drink, no one does it better than Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar {8405 Mills Drive, Miami; 305.630.3844}. Brought to you by the talented team behind Bulla Gastrobar {2500 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables; 305.441.0107}, this popular chain puts a modern twist on traditional Peruvian favorites, serving up different anticuchos and causas, lomo saltado, parihuela and innovative ceviches like jalapeño, rocoto, ají Amarillo, passion fruit and more. After the success of its first Kendall location, which opened in late 2015, Pisco y Nazca opened a second location in Doral in June 2016.
Catering to Miami’s summer temperatures, Pisco y Nazca recently added new refreshing drinks and specials to its daily “Hora Loca” happy hour and weekend brunch. Along with the locale’s signature Peruvian cocktails, diners can now stay cool with one of three Peruvian Sangria Pitchers: El Shandy, Sangria Peruana, or Sangria Brava.
For a taste of these sweet sippers, head to either location during weekend brunch or Hora Loca, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m. daily. Go during the latter and order one of each pitcher… rumor has it they’re 50% off.
Happy dining!
By Jennifer Agress | Miami Editor

Chef Flavio Solórzano of Señorio de Sulco

Chef Flavio Solórzano of Señorio de Sulco

Flavio Solórzano makes a mean ceviche. The head chef at Lima’s Señoria de Sulco in Miraflores, Solórzano is unashamedly biased when it comes to the world-renowed classic: Peru makes the best.
There’s something to that claim. Given the coastal treat of both warm water and cold water seafood, the unparalleled chiles grown in inland Peru, and salt harvested from Incan beds in the mountains, it’s hard to replicate the quintessential Peruvian ceviche. But here are a few tricks Americans can keep in mind when they attempt a recreation.
First: Keep it simple. No tomatoes, cucumbers, or other interloping extras. The best ceviche, says Solórzano, is made of five things: fish, salt, lime juice, red onion, and chile.
Second: Pick the best fish. This is tricky, as properly prepared ceviche produces milky leche de tigre when the salt and lime juice break down the proteins in the fish. That means the fish has to have “raw muscle”—a characteristic of some flounder, mahi mahi, and sole. Also, says Solórzano, use a fillet from the back of the fish and cut against the grain into small bite-sized portions.
Third: Limes used in Peruvian ceviche (limón) are distinctly different than what’s commonly used in the U.S. Key limes are close, but are sweeter than what you’d find in South America. Whatever you pick, it has to be organic and balance acidity with a touch of sweetness. Generally, three small limes are juiced for every serving of ceviche.
Fourth: Red onion should be fresh and pink—and not sweat. If it sweats, it’s old; throw it out. Once you slice it—thinly, mind you—soak in room temperature water until you’re ready to use it. This prevents oxidation.
Fifth: Use ají chile—the freshest you can find. And don’t just cut it up. Smash it with the side of a knife first, then thinly slice. This produces a more aromatic product.
Traditional Peruvian ceviche

Traditional Peruvian ceviche with local corn and ají chile

Sixth: Process is everything. Toss the cubed fish with the salt first, then the lime juice. Mix gently, and allow the leche de tigre to form slowly (30 seconds or so). Taste. Add salt or lime juice as needed to balance flavors. When balanced, add a splash of red onion water to mellow the ceviche a bit. Toss in red onion and chopped chile and serve immediately. (Solórzano is not one to use the traditional sweet potato as an accompaniment, but feel free to include it—it helps cut the heat. You can also serve it with fresh corn.)
Did you know? There’s such a thing as hot ceviche. Originally made by the aboriginal Andean peoples, this twist on the classic uses beef tenderloin, thinly pounded, mixed with hot oil, milk, lime juice, salt, garlic, and ginger. At Señorio de Sulco, Solórzano finishes the dish with achiote oil.
Hot ceviche

Hot ceviche, made with beef tenderloin, hot oil, milk, lime juice, salt, and achiote oil

This is one article in a series on Peruvian culture and dining. Look for more at diningout.com.
By Jeffrey Steen, Managing Editor

Cusquena Beer
While the craft beer movement might be consuming the American market, it’s a different story in Peru. Here, the sudsy pride from jungle to coast is indisputable: Cusqueña. From the sides of restaurants on the sloping, cobbled streets of Cusco to the electronic marquis of Lacormar mall in Lima, the Cusqueña brand is everywhere.
But why is this simply crafted brew so popular? And how does a country so rich in culinary traditions incorporate this longstanding beer into its mealtime culture?
First, a bit of history. It all began with two foreign brewers—Jakob Backus and John Howard Johnston—who emigrated to Lima, Peru in the 1800s. In the late 1880s, they incorporated as The Backus and Johnston’s Brewing Company, and began brewing the country’s flagship beers. After a flood of British investment, Johnston left Peru, and the company, in 1898. A year later, Backus died. The Brits continued to own and run the company until the mid-1950s, when assets were returned to Peru. In 1994, the company acquired longstanding Peruvian competitors National Beer Company which produced Pilsen Callao beer. After 2000, acquisition of Backus and Johnston by SABMiller made the brewery one of the most significant features in the SABMiller portfolio—a collection of beers that now includes Cusqueña, Pilsen Callao, Cristal, San Juan, and a handful of other labels.
In the Backus family of beers, Cusqueña is considered a premium brew, offered in four year-round varieties—golden lager (dorada), wheat (trigo), red lager (rojo), and dark lager (negra)—and one seasonal variety—a uniquely Peruvian beer brewed with pearl quinoa instead of wheat.
When compared with its sister beers in the Backus portfolio, there are a few things that make Cusqueña stand out from the crowd. First, it’s brewed with top-notch ingredients sourced locally and regionally whenever possible. And as anyone who has brewed beer knows, water makes the flavor—a flavor that can’t be duplicated outside of Peru.
Second, each variety is crafted with a nuanced palate. From the polestar dorada, which layers grassy undertones with a vague maltiness, to the specialty quinoa that offers surprising notes of orange and tropical citrus, these beers are not one-dimensional. Easy to drink? Yes. But not boring.

Cusqueña Beer with classic Lomo Saltado

Cusqueña beer with classic Lomo Saltado

Third, the brewmeisters at production breweries across Peru—located in five cities across the country, including in Lima, Cusco, and Arequipa—brew with food in mind. While many large production beers are crafted simply to be enjoyed solo, Cusqueña thinks about how their varieties will marry with classic Peruvian cuisine. Not surprisingly, they manage that well, with apt pairings across the flavor palette of the entire country. And if a beer pairs well with a nuanced dish, it often goes well in the dish. Brewery conversations with many high-profile Peruvian chefs, including Chef Flavio Solorzáno of El Señorio de Sulco in Lima and Chef Manuel Córdova of MAP Cafe in Cusco, have opened the door to cooking with Cusqueña and alongside Cusqueña. Much like wine, the beer’s dynamic flavor profiles bring new dimensions to meals in restaurants across the country.
At the moment, Cusqueña is available only on the eastern seaboard in the U.S., but the hopes are to expand distribution so that American markets get to enjoy the same beer that has captivated Peru for decades. And with that introduction, Peruvian food is bound to follow—a palate-astounding journey that will re-craft our appreciation for beer and South American cuisine.
To get a taste of this premium cerveza, visit cusquena.com and look for recipes at diningout.com made with and for this scrumptious South American brew.
By Jeffrey Steen, Managing Editor


Mercado, Lima
It’s five o’clock on a Monday afternoon, and Avenue La Paz is teeming with activity. This city is a dizzying pinball machine of movement any time of day: car horns jeering, staccato laughter rolling down sidewalks, impassioned phone conversations punctuating life fortissimo. Pedestrians zip and zag through each other; cars clip corners as they head for home; coffee shops pulsate with end-of-work gossip.
But Lima is far more than the sum of her thoroughfares. If you pause for just a moment, you’ll hear the sound of children giggling in the fray, consumed with cones of strawberry ice cream. And you’ll see elderly couples plodding through the chaos, impervious to the rush of life around them.
Sometimes, near the busiest intersections, musicians pick at instrument strings, tap handmade drums, or sing Peruvian melodies of yesteryear. They don’t look at you, and they don’t expect anything. This is a foreign thing for most Americans—an empty exercise without the profit of donations. But Peruvians—from what I have seen—don’t really ask for money, or perform for money. As my tour guide, Alberto, put it, “They play, they sing because it is what they do when times are hard. It lifts us up.”
Peru once suffered from a turbulent economic past. For many years, things were so bad, some communities pooled their rice for communal meals. “We suffered a lot of economic difficulty in the ’80s,” Alberto says, “but when we found stability again, when we found peace, we knew we wanted to rebuild our country around the parts of our culture that we love. Two of these things were music and food.”
Of course, food—prized in many countries, but in Peru, it’s the lifeblood of the people. Peruvian cuisine is informed by a geography that covers almost every known clime and land type; the country boasts jungles, desserts, coasts, mountains, and plains. Thanks to this diversity, local and regional ingredients are boundless—never better showcased than at Lima’s mercado, or city market.
Mercado, Lima
In truth, Lima has several lust-worthy markets, but I toured the one near my hotel in Miraflores, an upscale district enjoying endless rounds of gentrification. With the influx of restaurants in the area, chefs needed a place nearby to get the makings for their daily menus. Thus was born the mercado of Miraflores.
Imagine this: A stadium for food, constructed in Art Deco style, and brimming with more than 300 food stalls arranged in concentric circles. On the outside are tiered displays of produce; star fruit, banana, avocado, melon, pineapple—the list goes on and on—cascade down 10-foot-high displays. Alongside them are tucked bags of nuts and dried fruit, intermingled with cacao leaves and vitality powders. There’s even a stand for holistic, shaman-esque medicine—just tell the owner what your sickness is, and he’ll concoct a mix of natural ingredients sure to cure what ails you.
Mercado, Lima
There’s more, of course—lots more. Meat stands are almost entirely obscured by shanks of beef, fabricated duck, strings of sausage. Kitchenware stands are stocked with clay pots and utensils made from Peruvian wood. Juice bars tout energy-imparting combinations of tropical fruit via neon-bright displays. And among all these stands are nestled tiled cebicherias where shoppers and shopkeepers alike dock for midday fixes of fresh fish and lime. Watching over the entire scene are icons of the Virgin Mary—a common talisman of good luck.
I ask Alberto what the cost of renting a stall is. “They’re not rented, they’re owned,” he says. Families lay claim to a spot in the market and stay there—one generation teaching the next how to butcher, chop, package, cut, and sell. It’s just another example of how seriously Peruvians take their food.
Butcher at the Mercado, Lima
As we leave the mercado, I notice a half-dozen aged men quietly process in front of the entrance. On their shoulders rests a casket, and as they pass us by, the crowd utters, “Presente.” Present. This is one of the more touching parts of life here; after death, everyone gets one last chance to be present, t0 say goodbye to friends and loved ones. It hammers home the point: Central though food is to Peruvian culture, it would be nothing without family. Alberto says it best: “Love and family come first. Food second. Money—eh, it will come sometime.”
This is one article in a series on Peruvian culture and dining. Look for more at diningout.com.
By Jeffrey Steen, Managing Editor