We’re back, Bitches. We just couldn’t stay away from China Chilcano for long.
You see, Cori Sue and Amanda were invited to dine with Chef José Andrés himself (those lucky Bitches!) when the restaurant first opened. You can read about what they ate here. Naturally, I was insanely jealous.
Fortunately for me, I was invited to test the brand-new brunch menu last weekend as it launched. When you visit for brunch, you’ll be able to order from the regular menu as well as this specially-crafted brunch menu—so choose wisely.
In case you missed it, China Chilcano is so named as an homage to Peru’s renowned fish stew and its uber-popular national drink, the chilcano. It’s Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine is a unique addition to the D.C.-dining scene. I joined a group of fellow D.C. food writers, excited to dig in.
First, a toast. We tried three different types of chilcano macerados. My favorite was the toronja (grapefruit), which was perfectly tart and a great morning drink. I also enjoyed the fresa (strawberry) and pepino (cucumber) flavors, particularly when mixed. I can see why people love this national drink.
We also sampled a drink called the Jade Garden, with Payet Pisco Torrontol, cucumber, cilantro, lemon, and vanilla. While it tasted strongly of cucumber, there’s a surprising kick from a hint of soy sauce. It was very good. The tea and coffee service are adorable in presentation. The teas even have hourglasses to time the cooling process.
Our first course was the picante de huevos; a bowl of poached eggs, aji panca, pork belly, potato, tomato, red onion, and toast. The sauce mixture was incredible, just spicy enough. The eggs were cooked perfectly. I would definitely recommend ordering if you like eggs for brunch.
For the adventurous eater, try the chicharron de costillas de cerdo. Imagine a lettuce-wrap-like dish with crisp pork spare ribs and sweet potatoes. It was a little tough to remove the bone but fun to get your hands dirty. And I loved the crunch of the cancha on top.
The only vegan dish on the brunch menu was the Hiyashi soba noodle salad. Very light and fresh, it was a great interlude between dishes to cleanse the palate.
The Tortilla China, which is light like an omelette, would be perfect for children and picky eaters. The sprouts on top gave it a great crunch and the team told us it can be made to order if you have dietary restrictions.
Next up were the Dorayaki, quinoa pancakes with sweet potato filling, algarrobina-pecan butter, and spiced maple syrup. Topped with a cape gooseberry, this was easily the most beautiful dish. Again, this dish would be good for kids – it was familiar in all the right ways but with a nice nutty flavor. My least favorite dish was the Tamalito Verde. I’m not a tamale fan (too spicy for me) but the colors were beautiful and it felt very authentic.
The most recognizably Japanese dish on the brunch menu was the Futomaki. This jumbo sushi roll with sweet egg omelette, bok choi, shiitake, and a plantain (a pleasant surprise) hints at that fusion cuisine. This would be a great starter course to share.
And finally, the Jook, my other favorite dish. The congee of rice, pork belly, egg, and soy was quite hearty; it would make a great winter meal. The crispy shallots on top and homemade Siracha sauce gave it a wonderful flavor.
Eight courses later, I rolled myself out of the restaurant an extremely happy Bitch.
The Bitches say: A+ This specially-designed brunch menu was thoughtful and curated Pervuian and Japanese cuisine into delicious flavors for every taste.
418 7th St. N.W.
China Chilcano serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays.