On the corner of Willowbend and South Post Oak is one of Houston’s best South American eateries. Peru Gourmet offers unique and flavorful dishes inspired by Peruvian classics from owners Franz Bardeles and Fransciso Banich. Originally from Lima, they opened The restaurant 5 years ago to share their love of Peruvian food, and have been serving guests in the Brays Oaks Management District with a smile since then.
Contrary to what many may think, Peruvian cuisine isn’t just a close cousin to Mexican food. Of course, there are things in common, both include chili peppers and other ingredients brought to the New World from Spain, such as wheat and rice. The fundamentals of Peruvian food are corn, beans, and potatoes. Potatoes, a staple of the Incas, were eaten throughout the Peruvian Andes. Today, despite the spread of global influences, potatoes are still the dominant ingredient in Andean dishes.
Two of today’s better-known foods on many menus are from Peru. Quinoa is native to Peru, along with other less popular grains. Also widely-eaten is ceviche. Peruvian ceviche differs from the Mexican dish in length of marinating and the addition of ingredients like corn and sweet potatoes. The unique spice blend used at Peru Gourmet makes this a dish you must try. Usually thought of as an appetizer, in Peru it is often served with sweet potato, avocado, or lettuce. The leftover marinade is often saved and served alongside the ceviche or alone. It is called “leche de tigre”, or tiger’s milk and believed to be a cure for hangovers. I didn’t see this on the menu, but I hear it is an off-menu gem for those in the know!
Like other countries, there are regional variations in Peruvian dishes. Peru’s different landscapes have each developed a unique style adapted to their surroundings. Along the coast you’ll find more seafood based dishes than the other regions. Besides ceviche, coastal areas have shrimp soup, fish soup, and a version of Chinese fried rice called chaufa. In the Andes mountains the diet is based more on potatoes, corn, and local proteins. Coming from the big city of Lima, Franz and Francisco combined all these influences into a well-balanced menu that will satisfy any appetite.
I was intrigued by the chaufa dishes and ordered the Lomo Saltado as my main. This is filet mignon cut into strips and marinated in smoky spices with red wine and yellow Peruvian pepper. Served with rice and potato wedges, it is an absolutely magical dish. A combination of exotic flavors and comfort food satisfaction — this is not to be missed.
Next up I ordered Milanese de Pollo. This was an original take on a chicken Milanese but with Peruvian spices and served with rice instead of pasta. Again, Franz and Franscisco knocked it out of the park with their fusion of flavors.
All these great dishes were washed down with the classic Peruvian soft drink of Inca Kola. Inca is similar to a cream soda with hints of vanilla and the sugary sweetness helps tame some of the spicier dishes on the menu. Be sure to try one.
Peru Gourmet is following all safety measures during the Covid 19 crisis and is a perfect spot order take out if you aren’t comfortable dining inside. Like all restaurants in the Brays Oaks Management District they are working hard to stay open. Please consider stopping by for a meal or ordering take out. Treat yourself to some exotic dishes and new flavors knowing that even if you can’t travel at the moment, you can get a taste of the magic of Peru right here in Houston. You will not be disappointed!
10804 South Post Oak Rd
Houston, TX 77035