I've been a fan of Ricardo Zarate's cooking since eating at Mo-Chica south of downtown LA. I've been eagerly awaiting his latest restaurant in the former Test Kitchen space in West LA.
This is from the LA Weekly Blog -
Picca, Ricardo Zarate's west LA version of a Latin American cantina, opens June 25th. Where Mo-Chica is classic Peruvian food, Picca is decidedly modern, driven by small plates with a heavy Japanese influence. The menu is split into five sections, weighted toward causas shaped like sushi nigiri and ceviches presented as sashimi, along with a robust selection of innovative robata: grilled scallops topped with an aji amarillo aïoli so light it's almost foam and chewy chicken gizzards squirted with bright green jalapeno aïoli.
Zarate won't be doing the delicious picarones, blue corn fritters stuffed with salted caramel, he served during his Test Kitchen stint, but he may try blue corn churros and an aji amarillo cheesecake. The 83-seat restaurant features a large, mirrored main area, one communal table carved form a single plank of rippling wood and a sushi bar, where Zarate hopes to eventually start serving omakase meals.
"This is my version of a Peruvian cantina, which is a very Latin concept that's actually disappearing from a lot of Latin cultures," Zarate says. "The idea is to get people to try lots of little plates and maybe learn something about Peruvian food."
This is a preview of the menu from Grubstreet.
PICCA 1 PRIMERAS
TUNA TARTAR, tuna/lemon soy dressing/wonton chips 9
PAPA RELLENA stuff potatoes/slow cook beef/boiled egg/roccoto aioli 8
EMPANADA TRIO beef/chicken/eggplant/salad 7
CRISPY QUINOA SALAD, quinoa croquette/poached egg/pancetta/feta cheese dressing 8
JALEA MIXTA, crispy mixed seafood/tartare sauce 11
PICCA 2 SEGUNDAS
SPICY TUNA, tobiko/cucumber 5
CHICKEN, celery/cilantro/huancaina sauce 5
SNOW CRAB, cucumber/avocado 6
CRISPY MORCILLA, rocoto pesto 8
ALBACORE, sliced onion/cebiche sauce 6
ROASTED TOMATOES, confit garlic/huacatay sauce 6
SCALLOPS, mentaiko 7
FISH ESCABECHE, avocado/micro arugula 8
CEBICHES & TIRADITOS
CEBICHE MIXTO, mixed seafood/potato/choclo/cebiche sauce 12
CEBICHE CRIOLLO, seabass/roccoto leche de tigre/choclo/sweet potato 10
CEVICHE CROCANTE, halibut/leche de tigre/crispy calamari 12
PICCA 3 TERCERAS
ANTICUCHO TRIO, Corazon/lengua/rache 10 SALMON, cucumber pickleds 7
POLLO, chicken breast/rocoto sauce 5 SCALLOPS, aji amarillo aioli/wasabi peas 10
CORAZON, beef hearth/potato/rocoto sauce 5 BLACK COD, miso anticucho/crispy sweet potato 8
LENGUA, beef tongue/red pepper sauce 7 SANTA BARBARA SHRIMP, lemon grass yuzu kosho pesto 13
PICCA 4 CUARTAS
ARROZ CON ERIZO, Peruvian paella/searching sauce/mixed seafood 14
SECO DE PATO, duck leg confit/black beer sauce/cilantro rice 12
ARROZ CHAUFA DE MARISCOS, mixed seafood/Peruvian fried rice/radish pickled 12
CHICHARRON DE COSTILLAS, crispy pork/toast/sweet potato puree/feta cheese sauce/salsa 9
LOCRO DE QUINOA, quinoa pumking stew/choclo/feta cheese/crispy tomato stew 10
We will be dining family style, so will be be trying multiple dishes and sharing the bill equally. If you RSVP and cannot attend, make sure to cancel your reservation at least 24 hours prior to the event. I hope that you can join us on July 2nd for dinner at Picca!