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Picca – West Los Angeles

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The best new chef by Food & Wine magazine, Ricardo Zarate has opened a Peruvian Bistro with Japanese flair on Pico Blvd in Los Angeles.  The small plates location with rustic interior is bustling with customers trying to get a taste of his food.

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The menu has some traditional Peruvian dishes such as causas which are cold smashed potatoes either rolled or formed and mixed with other ingredients.  Chef Zarate however, offers his sushi style with fresh fish marinated with spices and other ingredients.  These bite size treats are both flavorful and unique.  Other small plate primeras or starters included conchas a la parmesana which were scallops served in their shell with warm spinach and cheese in a lemon dressing.  These reminded me of oysters rockefeller, but with a cleaner finish.  The empanadas trio — potato, beef and boiled egg with rocoto or red pepper aioli were bellowing out of the kitchen by the dozens.

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As for ceviche, the ceviche crocante was nicely presented with a variety of textures including crunchy calamari and marinated halibut in a coconut dressing.  A little heavy on the lime, although still very nice. Other traditional varieties were available such as ceviche mixto with sweet potato and mixed seafood.

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The anticuchos or skewers with Santa Barbara prawn and yuzu were a nice treat, however $12 for one shrimp is quite pricey.  The stick of warm tomatoes with burrata and black mint pesto were melt-in- your mouth good as well.

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The cuartas section of hearty menu items such as bisteck a lo pobre with egg, fried banana and chickpeas sounded good, but the seco de pato was rich and satifying – duck leg confit in a black beer sauce with cilantro rice.  Absolutely delish!

As for the bar — wine, beer and of the a variety of pisco sours are available.  Our waitress was very kind and let us try a few wine samples before deciding upon a glass.  As for noise level — very loud, so go early if you are sensitive.

Picca, 9575 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA  310 277-0133

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