I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Maido- Lima, Peru

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: If they have a small supply of uni, take it all screw everyone else

I have not really explored Nikkei food, which Japanese cuisine with Peruvian influence. There is a big Japanese community here and access to fresh seafood, there are Japanese restaurants all around here. Though I love Peru’s homage to all things pork, I decided to try Nikkei food one night, to lighten it up a bit. I decided to try Maido which I heard about and also, it was within walking distance from my hotel and trekking for two weeks, I was starting to get lazy. Opened by Mitsuharu Tsumura, it one of the hot spots to eat at. I got there early and by early I mean in Peruvian standards so like 7:45. I sat at the bar where I was ambushed by a over-eager host that honed in on my Gringo vibe and was trying to up sell me hard, to a point where I was about to get up and leave and get myself a pork sandwich. However, thankfully the chef himself took over and smoothed it all out. Realizing that the head chef was personally attending to me, I decided to just go straight nigiri style, I told him to give me a couple pieces of sushi, whatever you got, give me your best omakase style. He smiled and proceeded to feed me some tasty food.  
I got a little I guess amuse that was chunks of salmon, slices of cucumber in a tahini lke dressing. It was good and no one told me what it was, but I just took it and went with it.  I started off with a Uni and to my surprise, it was really good. It is less briny and “ocean” tasting than I had from other places but there is this crispness that is different from any other Uni I have eaten before.  Onto the sushi flight!

The Uni is from the Peruvian coast in the South by Arequipa where I just came from. Next up was a piece of flounder, firm and flavorful. It was definitely distinct, horray for terroir! However, it is not that common here because I was going to go for another order of it at the end of my sushi flight and they did not have anymore. Next time, I have to be greedier. Next up was a piece of snapper, fresh crisp. 

After that, was not fish but beef that was topped with a quail egg, incredibly sexy piece of sushi and hit with a bit of ponzu to accentuate the beef, never had this before and something that is common in Nikkei style. Beef was raw and got a torch treatment as well as the quail egg. All I can say is, wow.

After that was a silky scallop that was topped with a Peruivan horseradish, called Myca. It is the least pungent piece of horseradish I had but the sweetness of the scallop is able to shine. 

Next was a piece of tamago. I was taken back from this, because when you ask a place to just give me your best shots, you hardly expect tamago, but this was one that was actually made in kitchen and was light. Given I usually do not like tamago because it is generally dense, rubbery and for some reason destroyed with sugar and vinegar, this was a pleasant surprise. 

After that was a piece of kingfish, it reminded me a bit like mackerel but firmer. It is a local fish found in Peru.

Then a piece of clam. The clam was tender as a piece of fish. I generally do not like raw clams because you can end up with a piece that is like eating gum, but he tenderized it well. And by tenderized it he did it the traditional Japanese way, slammed it on the board like a POG. 

Lastly, there was a salmon dressed with an aji pepper sauce, the combination was stellar, aji peppers have a subtle smokiness to them that works great with white meat and in this case, fish. For sushi nerds, the rice was fine, it was not mind blowing like Sushi Yasuda or something but it was warm and worked well with all the pieces of sushi.
Still hungry, I went with a starter of flaming scallops because I love eating scallops. I say flaming because it came on fire, it was mainly all theatrical. 

It was dressed in an array of sauce from shoyu, aji, yuzu, garlic and butter. The end is a citrus, saltly sauce that works well and still lets the freshness of the scallops to come through. This was another good meal in Lima in fact; I do not think I had any duds when I eat in Lima. The Chef and I had a nice conversation and talked about the Peruvian food. This was last official meal in Peru and it could not have ended better, I just hope the next time I am in Peru, I get a chance to hit up some other Nikkei and Japanese places. Quality and freshness was unbelievably good, same standards you would find in New York or Japan. The price is a heck of a lot easier on the wallet so if you are in Peru, fresh seafood and Nikkei style food is a must.

Calle San Martin 399 | esquina con Calle Colón Miraflores, Lima Lima 18, Peru

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