Variety Is The Spice Of Life, we’re often told, and while some people apply the adage to all kinds of pursuits, it’s most apt in relation to the realm that actually has spice: food. One of the great joys in watching the OKC metro continue to expand and develop is that its restaurant spectrum keeps growing more colorful, allowing us a wider range of opportunities to sample interpretations of familiar classics and new tastes to expand our horizons.
Some of us needed the opportunity for that expansion more than others – for reference, my home town was small enough that for several years its only option for any sort of ethnic cuisine was Chan’s Oriental Restaurant, whose marquee proclaimed “Friday Night Is Catfish Night.” Southeast Oklahoma is not exactly a proving ground for gourmands. But now I get to check off another area of this big, delicious world of ours, thanks to the impressively wide range of flavors found in La Brasa Peruvian Kitchen.
Variety is one of the restaurant’s strong points: Peruvian cuisine incorporates influences from the cuisines of China, Spain, Japan, various parts of Africa and more – basically, name a protein and they can do something delicious to it. Take an opening dish like the Shaking Beef Salad, which features tender slices of soy sauce-sautéed filet mignon drizzled in zesty Asian vinaigrette, or a host of ceviches that present various seafood bathed in tangy citrus concoctions. The presentation is especially nice in the Halibut Tiradito, a platter of thinly sliced fish coated in a brightly flavorful sauce of aji amarillos (a yellow pepper) and ginger, served with a wooden box containing a pair of inlaid chopsticks.
The entree called Tacu Tacu is built around a slab of seared ribeye steak, topped with a lightly fried egg (because adding a fried egg is almost always a great idea) and served on a stir-fried mixture of rice and beans, and also accompanied by a heap of fried plantains. It’s an ideal setup for trying a bite of this, and a bite of that, and then this and that together, and then perhaps both with a dab of the zippy aioli that comes with the complimentary sweet potato chips …
But if there’s a single house specialty, it’s the Pollo a la Brasa: a rotisserie chicken that’s been marinated in a special combination of spices for two solid days before being roasted in a charcoal oven. Juicy, bursting with complex, lingering flavor and – if you do it correctly – partnered with those delectable fried plantains, it’s worth a trip all by itself.
Whatever you wind up choosing – chicken, pork, shrimp, even the vegetarian “Chaufa a La Brasa” – the dishes are savory and subtly spiced, the dining experience is impressively accoutered and sleek and the culinary journey eminently worth taking. Bon voyage!
Choose wisely. You may be full at the end of your entrée. You might be in the mood for a churro, or curious about the mango custard. Do not let that stop you from trying the Tres Leches cake; it’s spectacular.
Consider the vibe. Dinner is a low-lit affair with a techno-flavored soundtrack; the atmosphere is a little less distinctively celebratory at lunch, but it might be easier to hold a group conversation.
La Brasa Peruvian Kitchen
1310 NW 25th St, OKC
11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily
5-9 p.m. Mon, Tue, Thu;
5 p.m.-12 a.m. Sat-Sun