Last year, I ate a great meal at Peru Peru Grill in Anaheim—an epic tallarín verde with chicken milanesa, the pesto-spiked noodles swarming underneath a piece of breaded chicken so vast it suffered a tectonic shift when I forked through it. There were leftovers for days, leftovers my best friend quickly gobbled up. But I didn't write about the place because I feared it had no future. Peru Peru is huge, occupying two spaces in a hidden strip mall; no one was there when I visited. And while one of the main purposes of this column is to help mom-and-pops gain an audience, I figured Peru Peru was on its last legs and no amount of buzz we could create would help.
Flash-forward to last month, when our sales staff treated those at Weekly World Headquarters to amazing Peruvian: a biting jalea, savory arroz chaufa and a sea of ceviche that even the marketing gals couldn't stop scarfing down. Weeklings went for seconds, thirds, even a couple of fourths; everyone buzzed about how delicious it was, something that rarely happens with staff lunches (save for Soho Taco visits, of course). Curious, I asked one of the reps where this fabulous Peruvian came from. “Peru Peru Grill,” he replied. Stunned, I returned and have haunted the restaurant since.
Peru Peru doesn't have OC's most extensive Peruvian menu, and its most exotic dish is the marvelous tacu tacu, essentially Andean steak-and-eggs served alongside beans, rice and some fried plantains. All the other dishes are the tried-and-true: papas à la huancaina, anticuchos, chupes and sudados, dishes you can buy at any Peruvian eatery in Southern California. But the flavors here are sharper, more refined than at any other such restaurant in la naranja: citrus juices sear, the two ajis sizzle, the agua de maracuya tingles. And while the restaurant can seem empty during weekdays, weekends bring out Peruvians who want to hear live music, watch soccer games and chat with paisanos who have made Anaheim a Little Lima over the years. Now, I can finally write this column knowing Peru Peru Grill has a bright future—but it never hurts to give it a bump of business, so get at it, cabrones!