Behold our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
Everyone went crazy for the sandwiches at Renzo's Taste of Peru when it was open in Irvine. There's a reason why, of course--they were great--but if I'm going to eat in a Peruvian restaurant I want something more than a sandwich. When Renzo opened up Muelle Peruvian Cantina opened up in the Huntington Beach Hotel last year, then, I jumped at the chance.
Pescado a lo macho is fish topped with seafood--always calamari, sometimes octopus, shrimp or sea snail--and then coated in a thick sauce made with ají amarillo, the ubiquitous yellow chile found in half the dishes in Peru. Muelle's pescado a lo macho is by far the best example I've ever had: the fish was so moist it collapsed into loosely bound flakes at the touch of a fork, with calamari and scallops cooked absolutely perfectly and a perfectly integrated sauce that soaked into the rice; I used the rest of the bread in the basket to soak up every drop.
Muelle Peruvian Cantina, inside the Hotel Huntington Beach, 7667 Center Ave. (just off the 405 and Beach), Huntington Beach; 714-891-0123; muellehb.com.
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