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Chifa Cuisine Arrives in DC by Way of Jose Andres' China Chilcano


Jose Andres
took another step towards Penn Quarter domination with the recent opening of China Chilcano. His latest restaurant focuses on blending Peruvian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines, creating a unique dining experience. Equally unique as the menu is the restaurant’s interior décor. Edison bulbs suspended by ropes, colorful murals, quirky furniture and bright hues dominate the scene. Other interesting touches? Lazy Susans on a handful of tables and a fully stocked lobster tank. The décor is as inspired and playful as what you’ll find on your plates and in your drink glasses.  

At the forefront of the cocktail menu is pisco, a must-have for any Peruvian restaurant. Choose from an extensive list, broken down by either “Peruvian” or “Chilean” and further segmented by grape varietal. You’ll find the classic Pisco Sour made with Macchu Pisco, lime, egg white and Amargo Chuncho bitters, as well as pisco drinks with unique flavor combinations such as the Dejame Quererte with Quebranta Pisco, persimmon, cinnamon and lemon. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, go with the Cholotini flavored with prickly pear, passion fruit and lemon. Kick things up a notch by trying your Pisco Sour with China Chilcano’s rotating seasonal pisco macerados (pisco infused with fruit and spices). Of the handful of flavors, the bartender tipped us that sour cherry is a fan favorite, which is what I opted for during my visit.

In addition to the abundance of pisco libations, there’s a section of non-alcoholic beverages including the classic Horchata and Chicha Morada – a sweet and smoky tasting drink made with purple corn, pineapple and spices.

While sipping on your drink of choice, be sure to order a few plates from the dinner menu. You’ll find everything from dim sum and sashimi to Peruvian anticuchos. Invoking a communal dining experience, most of the plates are small and meant to be ordered in high quantities. There are a few larger items that can be split with a friend, such as the Concolon: clay pot rice with pork belly, Chinese sausage and vegetables. The rice comes out nice and crispy and is topped with chicharrones. Definitely order from the dim sum menu, where favorites HaKao and Siu Mai make an appearance. There’s also a section of the menu devoted to ceviche. The ceviche Nikkei came highly recommended, but we opted for the Nobu Usuzukuri with flounder and watermelon radish.

Make sure to get reservations or dash out of the office early, lest you find yourself lingering around the bar for seats to open up. On the particular night I was there, an arrival just before 5:30 PM landed me with the last two seats at the bar. By 6 PM, the bar and dining areas were both busy and on the brink of filling up.  

China Chilcano
; 418 7th St, NW; 202-783-0941
 
Photo via China Chilcano

 


Tags: Cocktails, Food
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