Having just visited most Peruvian restaurants in Westchester, writing about the growing of the cuisine in the county, if I had to tell you where to go first, it would be Ají Limo in Ossining. I’d send you there over pages of Peruvian-restaurant search results in no small part because of its user-friendly menu, which hooks you with “fresh vegetables to die for” and “feast for the senses.”
A modern space with flowers, candles, and Afro-Peruvian pop also goes far — as do eye-poppingly plated dishes with cheffy twists, like blue cheese dip with Peruvian chicken wings (it is a fusion cuisine, after all). There’s asparagus on the menu, seldom seen at Peruvian restaurants despite Peru being a top exporter. And there are churros — the best I’ve ever had.
Owner/chef Nilton Mori, whose mother sold ceviche from a street cart in Peru, started as a dishwasher and studied privately with a cook at celebrity chef Gastón Acurio’s short-lived New York outpost of La Mar. Lunch for friends led to catering, the Peru to the World Expo, and opening Delicias del Jireh, a tiny White Plains restaurant, in 2016. Ají Limo (which translates to “Lima pepper”) was born last June after Mori and his wife overheard a conversation about the available space on a drive through the Rivertowns.
What was once a dark pub now has an orange back wall that screams dish names: Pollo A La Brasa (rotisserie chicken)! Lomo Saltado (stir-fried steak)! Here’s what to delve into, with a glass of multi-rum sangria by your side:
Photos by Leslie-Anne Brill
Ceviche Chiclayano: Ceviche with rice, a traditional fishing lunch from the Peruvian city of Chiclayo, turns the citrus-cured fish dish into something wonderfully like a grain bowl. On our visit, it was sweet, delicious, fluke with the classic sweet potato, onion, and Peruvian corn. Its leche de tigre marinade seeped into rice, topped with an edible orchid.
Wings A La Limeña: Tangy ají panca–marinated a la brasa chicken wings are deep-fried and served with spicy, blue cheese dipping sauce.
New Zealand greenshell mussels: Topped with pico de gallo, they’re the closest variety of mussels found at our fish markets to the ones on the Peruvian coast. Also don’t miss delicate fried calamari and yuca with spot-on ají limo tartar sauce, and the octopus with black olive sauce, fingerling potatoes, and slashes of huancaína cheese sauce popping against a black plate
Anticuchos: The quintessential Peruvian starter of tender, thinly sliced marinated beef heart is nicely set off with small potatoes, huancaína sauce, and diced rocoto pepper.
Quinoa chaufa with seafood: Washed ashore on fried rice with red and white quinoa (and a little Pisco thrown in) are crab, shrimp, mussels, and calamari; dig for bits of grilled octopus.
Red snapper: Whole, fried, and shellacked in Mori’s mother’s (justifiably) secret sauce, it’s falls-off-at-the-fork tender. Also try quinoa-crusted salmon with Peruvian asparagus
Churros: All the elements (except the heart-eye maraschino cherries) are homemade for the churros, including the caramel Bavarian cream and lucuma ice cream.
199 Main St
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