Monday, November 16, 2020

Brunch at Tambo 22: Alpaca to Cherimoya

Last weekend, the weather was gorgeous, perfect for patio dining, and I went to Brunch at Tambo 22, the new Peruvian restaurant in Chelsea. Check out my initial review of Tambo 22 where I stated, "Overall, I was impressed with Tambo 22, and their Peruvian cuisine was well-prepared, aesthetically pleasing, cooked perfectly, and delicious. The blending of interesting Peruvian ingredients delivered some intriguing and different flavors....and it earns my highest recommendation." My Brunch experience was equally as impressive and I can't recommend Tambo 22 enough.

Three different Brunch cocktails are offered, including Mimosas (4 types), Bloody Mary con Rocoto, and a Cafe con Leche Martini. I ordered a Bloody Mary ($12) and the Rocoto is a South American chili pepper. Well chilled, the cocktail was delicious, with a pleasing spicy kick and the addition of a celery stalk, olive and lemon slice. Tambo 22 has a killer cocktail program and this is another winner.  

Off their regular cocktail menu, I also opted for the 22 Old Fashioned ($14), made with Four Roses Bourbon, Salted Honey, Peruvian Chuncho Bitters, Orange, and a Bourbon Soaked Cherry. The Chuncho Bitters are produced from a combination of over 30 peels, herbs, roots, barks and flowers from the Peruvian forest. Tasty, not overly sweet, with a nice touch of salinity and intriguing herbal notes. And it helps that it's made with one of my favorite bourbons.

The Brunch menu has plenty of selections, some which are from their dinner menu. You'll find Starters (8 options, $10-$16); like Waffles Con Manjar Blanco (Dulce de Leche, Fresh Strawberries, Crumbled Meringue) and Causa de Mariscos. There are a couple of Huevo (egg) dishes ($12-$13) and 5 Sandwiches ($6-$15) like Pan con Heuvo (egg sandwich) and Pan con Aji de Gallina (pulled chicken & creamy Aji Amarillo sauce). There are also 4 Entrees ($18-$32), like Ceviche del Dia and Lomo Saltado A Lo Diego (beef tenderloin). 

The meal began with a complimentary sample of a new dish they are working on, a Lamb and Rice Soup, which was tasty, with a flavorful broth and tender lamb. As the weather gets cooler, this would be an excellent choice to warm your belly. I would certainly order a bowl on a future visit.

For a starter, I chose the Choclo Con Questo ($12), giant Peruvian "street corn" with Queso Fresco, Huacatay and Aji Amarillo. These are some of the largest corn kernels you'll ever see, with a serious crunch to them. The toppings all blended well together, enhancing the taste of the corn as well as providing a creamy texture. 

For another starter, I selected the Tamal de Chanco ($10), a spicy tamale with pork, hard boiled egg, botija olive, peanuts, and a Criolla onion salad. Once you open the leaf, there was a creamy and delicious blend of ingredients, with some textural elements from the peanuts and olive. It was only mildly spicy with tender pieces of pork. 

The Pan Con Chicarron ($15) is an ample sandwich made with pork belly, fried sweet potatoes, and mint criollo. The roll is similar in some respects to a baguette, though Tambo 22 gets the rolls made at a Vietnamese spot, so it is closer to Bahn Mi bread. The bread is thinner, and doesn't overwhelm the fillings. The pork belly was excellent, with silky fat and some very crispy pieces. The fried sweet potato also added a creamy element, with bits of crunch as well. The onions also added a mild floral element. A great choice. 

I had to try the Tamburgeusa ($18), their burger which is made with seasoned alpaca and short rib meat, and topped by criollo onion, huacatay aji sauce, and gouda cheese. You could add a fried egg ($2) and a vegetarian burger option is also available. I've eaten llama meat before but never alpaca. As this was my first time trying it, I opted it enjoy the burger more plain, with just the cheese on it, so I could better experience the taste of the burger. It resembled the look of a beef burger but the taste was certainly different, with a more gamey and meaty element, similar in some respects to ground lamb. It was tender and juicy, and made for an excellent burger. I'd definitely order it again and strongly recommend you check it out. 

At the end of the meal, a complimentary dessert was served, slices of Cherimoya fruit, that were in some Triple Sec. Cherimoya likely originated in Central America and traveled to South America. Mark Twain once noted it was, "...the most delicious fruit known to men, cherimoya,.." Its flesh is creamy, with almost a custardy feel to it, and it had flavors similar to tropical fruits. Very intriguing.

Tambo 22 is one of the brightest new restaurants of 2020, bringing greater attention to Peruvian cuisine. If you haven't dined there yet, then quickly remedy that situation. I'll be returning again and again, to experience more of their menu, and enjoy again some of my new favorites. 

No comments: