Authentic Peruvian cuisine may seem thousands of miles away, but under Executive Chef Maribel Rivero, this Latin American fare can be experienced in East Austin at Yuyo. This is the newest venture of the El Chile restaurant chain opening October 30.
Rivero describes Peruvian cuisine an “inclusion of ingredients from their bio- diverse landscape including the Amazon, Andes, Pacific Ocean, and the desert…[with] influences from indigenous, African, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and other European people.” She developed her passion for Peruvian cuisine following her training at the Culinary Institute of America, where she completed an intensive seven-month Latin cuisine program. Rivero then learned the basics of Peruvian cuisine from Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino and knew she would have to hone her skills by immersion. “By traveling, working and living in Peru I was able to learn the traditions and foodways from local Peruvians and chefs,” she explained.
Yuyo’s menu is a blend of traditional and contemporary and is composed of signature dishes from their seafood oriented cebiche bar to their specialty entrée dishes that express the traditions of Peruvian cuisine.
A favorite from our sneak peek evening there was the Rocotto Coctel, made from rocotto sauce, gulf shrimp and avocado in an edible plantain, topped with a seaweed garnish and paired with a Spanish Ostatu Rosado. This flavorful dish was spicy and left the table wishing for more.
A close second favorite was the Lentejas or Lentil Salad, made from caviar black lentils, dandelion greens, baby bell peppers, banana, balsamic vinaigrette dressing and paired with a French Chateau Ducasse Bordeaux Blanc. Known as a cleansing dish, and served on Mondays in Peru, the dandelion greens and sweet banana added a light note to the richness of the lentils.
The most intriguing dish from the evening was the Pescado con Hierba Luisa, corvina fish served with lemongrass aji amarillo sauce, potatoes and Swiss chard. The corvina fish is prominent in the tropical waters along Central and South America’s shores and is commonly found in Peruvian dishes and cebiche. The corvina was plated on top of thinly-cut potatoes, and served with a generous helping of lemon aji sauce. This dish took the table most by surprise for its blend of textures and flavor and everyone could be seem using various utensils to ensure not one drop of the lemon aji sauce was left behind.
Dessert followed with the Wow Cacao, a dark chocolate cake iced with chocolate ganache and served with maracuya, also known as passion fruit, sorbet and dulce de leche. This was paired with French press Peruvian coffee. The richness of the dark chocolate and the black coffee brought out the other’s sweetness. Almost every plate was scraped clean when dessert ended and almost every cup was empty.The evening’s experience not only brought culture and education on the city of Lima and the customs in Peru, but also its delicious cuisine.
If you’re looking for a taste of Peru in Austin, Yuyo will treat and feed you like family at the table.
Sabrina Reagan is a writer based in Austin, Texas where she lives with her husband. • Cover: Arroz con Mariscos, courtesy Yuyo