Let's start by calling Mario's Peruvian restaurant what it is: a sad disappointment in that they call themselves Peruvian, but they do not deliver the quality of food Peru is well known for around the world. Case in point: Choros a la Criolla, $10+ for 6 medium size mussels. The size of these tasty mollusks was certainly not the issue, it was the blunder that arrived to my table. Please allow me to explain: Choros (mussels) are served with a very fresh combination of very fine diced tomatoes, onions (preferably red onions, but not limited), chillies, sparse amount of delicious cilantro, salt, pepper, plus In some parts they add freshly boiled al dente kernels of corn, mixed altogether in a similar, but not quite, as a Pico de Gallo (The delicious Mexican version of fresh salsa), and generally the delicious Peruvian chilies that are unique to Peru (ROCOTO) add a dimension of heat to the mix well worth applauding, but of course milder options are equally tasty. The Mussels are served in the half shell, the salsa described topping each one, and on the side pieces of lemon (limes in the US, as they are comparable in acidity), and people squeezes a few drops of lemon juice to their preference.
What arrived in front of me was a semi frozen mediocre Salsa, smeared to the point of no return with lime juice or something very similar (a cardinal culinary sin, which any Peruvian cook worth their mettle would never commit), for this much lime in an old semi frozen salsa indicated it is not made daily, and for the first time in a long time I sent this overpriced dish back. 1 Star.
Ceviche Mixto, $14, with pieces of mushy fish and other seafood cooked in a citrus based sauce that did not did it any favors, slightly better than the rejected mussel dish. 3 Stars.
Bread, a little passed its prime. Green Peruvian sauce at the table, hot and tasty, made it easy to overcome the warm stale bread. Service no complaints and waiter was properly rewarded for his efforts. Water, acceptable. Lady at the front a revelation of good manners and fine figure. Time was around 12PM on a Friday.
For a place heavily endorsed by many, it did not, by any stretch of the imagination, deserve such glowing accolades, regardless if every other dish in the menu was better, which stands to doubt. 2 Stars.
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