Peruvian favorites with subtle Texas taste hints.
If you’re looking for Peruvian food in Austin, you won’t find another restaurant as unique and contemporary as Yuyo. One of only a few Peruvian restaurants in the capital city, this Eastside fan favorite doesn’t brand itself as truly authentic. Instead, head chef Maribel Rivero focuses on providing Peruvian dishes that Texans will appreciate.
Grilling is one of those components. Typically, Texans like grilling. To complement that Texas preference, Yuyo offers skewer bites that you’d typically see in Peru, featuring different meats and chicken.
Another Texas twist includes Yuyo’s iconic Pisco Punch. The sour, lemon-tasting punch is a signature item on the menu here, but it’s not the most iconic drink in Peru. However, it’s popular at Yuyo because Rivero noticed how much Texans love frozen drinks. So, the restaurant adapted the Pisco Punch, modeling it after a margarita. Available both frozen and on the rocks, I enjoyed both versions of the punch, with a preference toward the frozen variation.
Celebrating its second anniversary last October, Yuyo is operated by a brother-sister team. Maribel’s brother, Carlos Rivero, owns the restaurant. To add to the restaurant’s credibility, Maribel received training directly in Latin America through an intense culinary program in Lima.
That unique training is something that’s affected her favorite menu item, the Peruvian Ceviche. According to Chef Rivero, in the culinary world, Peruvian Ceviche is considered the best in the world. Very much influenced by Japanese culture, the fish in the ceviche is treated like sushi. Raw and only marinated for a few minutes is how the fish is treated before being presented tableside. Unlike regular ceviche, lime juice is mixed in with the fish at the last minute. Of course, that means the fish has to be of the highest quality.
“We use sushi-graded striped bass,” explained Rivero. “It’s farm raised, but it’s grown in Colorado Springs water, which is very nice, clean, flowing water.”
Buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, with flavorful juices is how I’d best describe the dish. Definitely different than any other type of ceviche I have had, the ceviche also includes several very simple components with tastes of celery, ginger, and garlic, all blended with just the right flavor of citrus marinade.
One of my favorite menu items on Yuyo’s menu is the Chanchito. A crispy heritage pork, served with garlic yuca mash and baby kale, the Chanchito offers a Peruvian sampling that is rich and filling.
Creativity can be seen not only in the menu, but also in the unique style of serving utensils, which are hand picked by Yuyo’s marketing manager. Elements of plate ware you would see in Lima is the priority here.
So, if you are looking for a contemporary Peruvian cultural experience without traveling to South America, stop by Yuyo for unique menu items with a Central Texas twist.
Cover photo courtesy Yuyo