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Savoring South America

Savoring South America
Photo by Todd Buchanan

A strip mall in Plymouth is certainly the last place I expected to find a taste of Peru. But there lies Uchu, a real gem waiting to be discovered.

Uchu is the Incan word for “chile” and chef/owner Jorge Sarmiento does a masterful job at highlighting this spice. I don’t mean an alert-the-fire-department heat, but rather a more subtle, gradually building warmth.

I highly recommend starting with an appetizer that is ugly (looks aren’t everything, people): the Papa a la Huancaina. It’s just cold boiled potatoes topped with creamy queso-fresco sauce mixed with a hint of uchu amarillo, but it’s strangely delicious. We nearly licked the plate.

If you like to sweat a bit while you eat, order the anticuchos (grilled beef heart). Its uchu panca sauce is hot and fantastic, and nicely pairs with the flavorful char of the meat.

Of the four cebiches, we really enjoyed the mariscos, a mixture of shrimp, calamari, octopus, and scallops layered with zippy lime and a background note of spice. The side of homemade corn nuts gave it a fun crunch.

The entrées were more inconsistent. I absolutely loved the Tacu Tacu, a Peru-meets-Asia dish of soy sauce, rice, and beans, along with steak, plantains, and a fried egg. The egg was nice and runny, adding another layer to this glorious dish. I can’t wait to go back and order it again. The Frejol con Seco (short ribs), on the other hand, were tender, and the cilantro sauce was nice, but the overall dish was too much mush and not enough texture.

Do save room for dessert, however, as the trio of purple-corn pudding, rice pudding, and caramel meringue was the best $6 I’ve spent in some time.

The ambiance, sadly, leaves quite a bit to be desired. It’s way too bright and the interior looks almost exactly like the former tenant: a Tex-Mex chain restaurant. And as far as beverages go, Uchu was only serving Corona when we went—no license to pour wine or liquor. Which is too bad, as this food screams for a good red wine.

All that said, the positives far outweigh the negligible negatives at Uchu. Plus, it’s Peruvian food! In Plymouth!

Uchu Peruvian Cuisine, 4130 Berkshire Ln. N., Plymouth, 763-577-3744, uchuperu.com

Jason Derusha is a reporter for WCCO-TV.

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Mar 9, 2012 04:16 pm
 Posted by  foodyfromplym

We visited UCHU the other night for the first time. The food was excellent, but the service leaves much to be desired. Our waitress Amber while friendly, obviously had a pre-determined script in which she spent aproximately five minutes babbling about everything conceivable related to the menu. She practically recited the entire menu for us without our asking. Our experience would have been much more enjoyable if she simply approached us naturally and perhaps asked if we had any questions with regard to the menu, as opposed to going into a five minute obviously scripted speech about everything UCHU. In spite of the poor service, the food was great and we will be back!

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