Wednesday, May 6, 2015


9575 W Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Tel: 310.277.0133
$$$ ($30-$45)
Wed, 04/29/2015, 7:00pm reservation
    (4.5 Piglets)

Peruvian chef Ricardo Zarate is the man behind Paiche, Blue Tavern, and Picca. Although the chef has since been ousted by investors (don't worry, the chef is busy working on his new cookbook to hit shelves October 2015), Picca has managed to stay afloat.

Picca is Peruvian with Japanese influences. The restaurant, which means "to nibble," consists of small plates shared amongst foodies. Regardless of Zarate being ousted, Picca has been able to achieve the same flavors that Zarate put in his cooking.

The ambiance is rustic with a modern and Latin touch. Counter seating surrounds the open kitchen to enable guests a view of the chefs in action. Tall bar stools line the upstairs overlooking the dining room below.

The interior

The menu is large, composed of ceviche, meat dishes and fresh fish amongst other items. Julian Cox, the award winning mixologist runs the cocktail program (so you know the cocktails are ah-mazing)!

Plate setting
THE AVOCADO PROJECT ($14.00): Rum, lime juice, avocado puree, dash of salt. This is probably one of the most delicious drinks ever! If you like something sweet, yet different, this is the drink for you. The avocado is broken down and strained, mixed with agave. Simply put: it's refreshing.  

HOLDING THE PEDRO SERRANO (off the menu): I used to order this all the time, but it is no longer on the menu. You can request it and they can still whip it up for you. It's a drink with mezcal, lime, agave, four different peppers and rum. It's spicy, slightly sweet and downright delicious.
CAUSA: DUNGENESS CRAB ($9.00): Huancaina sauce, avocado mousse. These are made for one delicious bite. Similar to a piece of sushi, the causa has a potato base, topped with a spicy sauce. The avocado mousse created a light and creamy texture to the whole dish.
CEVICHE: CRIOLLO ($17.00): Seabass, rocoto, canchas. Wow! This is an awesome ceviche. Perfect amount of acidity and heat that wasn't overpowering. The fish was fresh and delicate. The large corn kernels added a nice texture. The sweet potato was nicely cooked and balanced out the spice, acidity and tang. My friend, who is not a fan of onions or spice actually enjoyed this dish.
PESCADO: SANTA BARBARA SPOT PRAWN ($12.00/EACH): I love, love, love spot prawns. These little creatures had a smokey, charcoal smell to them as soon as they arrived. The prawns were lightly grilled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and accompanied with some lime. It was sweet and light. I could eat a handful of these. My only complaint was that I only got one (yes, I'm greedy and I wanted more). 

PAPAS FRITAS ($8.00): If you really want deliciously crisp fries, then you must order these!! I couldn't stop eating them! The fries were fresh, fried crisp with a soft middle. I imagine that the fries were twice fried (just thinking of how good the fries were at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal). Not one of these were soggy. They were garnished with deep fried rosemary. The aioli condiment had a little spice with a hint of citrus. Before I knew it, all these were gone and what was left was the aroma of rosemary on my fingertips. So sad. 

CARNE: ANTICUCHO PORK BELLY ($12.00): Rocoto aioli. These moist, fatty bits of pork belly were melt-in-your-mouth goodness. It had a good charcoal flavor to them and a perfect ratio of fat:meat. The aioli was the ideal accompaniment to the pork belly. 

MY FAVORITE DISH. BISTECK A LO POBRE ($17.00): Skirt steak, fried egg, pan-fried banana, garbanzo tacu tacu. This rich and savory dish was full of flavor. The egg yolk when mixed in with the rice, created a creamy delicacy that went well with the moist and juicy skirt steak. This dish had texture from the garbanzo beans and the banana added a slight sweetness to the overall dish. 
DESSERT: CHURROS ($9.00): Lucuma pastry cream, dark chocolate sauce. The crisp, fried pastry was filled with a delicate cream. The chocolate sauce was rich, bitter, and balanced out the sweet pastry. Good, but not amazing. 

Overall, Picca is pretty darn good. The Peruvian food fused with Japanese flavors is a great concept. The umami aesthetics were profound in each and every dish. The service was exceptional. Nearly all dishes were timed well and our waiter Aaron was quite knowledgeable. Additionally, I appreciated that plates were changed after two or three dishes so none of the flavors were intertwined. Word of advice: Bring some cash for valet. Parking is extremely difficult. 

Notable dishes: Bisteck a lo Pobre and Ceviche Criollo 


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