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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DX Peruvian in Santa Ana, CA

For some reason, the only thing people think about when they hear of Peruvian food is ceviche.  I guess it makes sense, it really is their most popular dish here in America.  But Peruvian really is a lot more than that.  DX Peruvian is able to push their other foods and make their diners appreciate the rest of the Peruvian culinary goodness.  Chicken, fillet and fries, are spiced up and served in delicious fashion at DX Peruvian.

The first time I went to DX, I fell in love with their ceviche.  But this time, when I came with my camera, I wanted to try the rest of their menu and neglected to get the ceviche.  Oh well.  We arrived at 1 pm, on a Sunday afternoon and it was surprisingly empty.  Only a couple other tables were filled.  I guess it's more of a lunch spot for the businesses nearby on Monday through Fridays.  We were promptly seated and I was already salivating thinking of their bread with the huacatay sauce.

I fell in love with it the first time I had it, and I was still in love with it this time around.  For those of you who don't know, huacatay sauce is made of huacatay (a spice native to Peru), peppers and oil.  Fantastic stuff.  It almost surpasses chimichurri as my favorite South American sauce.

We decided to try out the Peruvian beverages that they offered here.  I tried the maracuya -- a purple corn drink sweetened with some cinnamon.  My dining partners tried out the chicha morada, or passion fruit juice.  The purple corn drink was a bit thicker and heavier -- as well as sweeter than the passion fruit drink.  You'd definitely want to know what to expect, had I not asked about the drink, I probably would've been dissatisfied with it.  But I really enjoyed it.  The passion fruit drink was lighter and tasted more of a traditional juice.  It was sweet and tangy from the passion fruit.  I preferred my drink, but they preferred theirs.  They were both good though.

As far as appetizers go, we ordered the empenadas and the Chicharron de chancho -- or deep fried pork.

The empenadas were a bit on the dry side and the breading didn't have the texture that I liked.  It was almost hard and not flaky at all.  It comes with a buttery-garlic sauce that went better with the deep fried pork than the empenadas themselves.  The deep fried pork was better.  It was topped with marinaded onions with some yucca and sweet potato on the side.  It was okay.  A bit dry for me but it went great butter sauce that comes with the empenadas.

The pork was also served with deep fried yucca which I loved and some deep fried sweet potatoes.  The sweet potatoes were ordinary, but I wish I was able to get an order of just the yucca.  So good.

Three of us were already pretty full from the bread and appetizers, but our entrees came in.

The fillet with fries were really good.  Though the fillet didn't get the sear that I would've attempted to get, it was still very tender and very flavorful.  I'm assuming the fillet was marinaded -- partially why it didn't sear.

Potatoes are a very important crop in Peru and  they make their fries very well.  Even though the fries in this dish lots its crispiness to the juices of the dish, it was still very tasty.  In fact, the fries absorbed a lot of these flavors creating a vessel of goodness.

On my half chicken dish (shown on the top of the page), the fries came standard.  These fries were wonderfully crispy and so good.  They gave us a ketchup bottle but no need.  They had a chili sauce with this.  It's that yellow thing that looks like mustard (and we thought it was mustard until we asked them.)  That sauce was amazing not only with the fries, but with the chicken as well.  The chicken wasn't as moist as I'd like.  I'm guessing they didn't brine it.  Sad, but the chili sauce really made up for it.

Though I didn't feel that DX Peruvian had impressed me with their technical cooking skills, the flavors of Peru were well displayed here.  The sauces really impressed me and truly were able to support the moderate technical skills and bring the food to something worth talking about.

Give it a try if you want some good Peruvian food.  And don't forget the ceviche.

DX Peruvian
3930 S. Bristol St #108
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 424-0014