Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pisco's revisited

I almost had a heart attack the other week. Cruising along Southside on an early Saturday afternoon we glanced over at Pisco's and saw no cars in the parking lot and no perceptible glow emanating from the "open" sign. You know that sinking feeling you get when something awful has just happened and you realize that everything has been irrevocably altered? Perhaps it wasn't as pronounced as such a moment of great tragedy but I still felt unsettled for the next few hours.

The next day, concerned and unable to think of an unfamiliar place to visit, we made the decision to face our fears and head to Pisco's. Cruising along Southside again, a violent shriek calls out. "The sign is gone!" Peering towards the edge of the impending strip mall, there is indeed no sign and, for a brief moment, everything is lost.

Wrong strip mall.

Driving a little further we are met with a comforting sign. Cars, a glowing sign, and Pisco's delivery mobiles. What, you didn't know they deliver? I wouldn't pass up the chance to visit in the flesh but I'd gladly have Pisco's come cater my next lunch meeting. Now, if only there were an online menu.

But back to the story. We hadn't stopped by Pisco's since actually going to Peru. As such, I felt almost responsible for the demise I had imagined. Elated to see that they were still open and going strong (with some renovations made and some others in progress), we were perhaps a little sad to see some of the faces had changed (may have just been the day) but the staff were all super nice, as we've come to expect from the place but certainly never take for granted.

piscos pollo saltado

According to Wikipedia, fount of all modern knowledge:

Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in the world and is on par with French, Chinese and Indian cuisine. In January 2004, The Economist stated that "Peru can lay claim to one of the world's dozen or so great cuisines."

While not the fanciest of dishes, the Pollo Saltado, still our ultimate favorite by far, is a chicken dish stir fried with onion, tomato, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili. It is commonly served with rice and french fries but we prefer to substitute the fries with yuca, which has a more solid texture and more pungent flavor. Add some of their special hot-sauce to the mix for an even more sublime experience. This was the first dish we tried on our first visit and I don't think there's a single time we've gone when one of the group didn't order it.

piscos pollo saltado

For sushi fans, the ceviche should be a pleasant deviation from the usual rolls and thin slices of raw fish on rice. This fish is marinated in lime juice and served with onions, potatoes, and corn. It's a real treat but not as filling as the other dishes.

piscos steak and eggs

If you're looking for a hearty meal full of proteins, fats, and carbs, get the beef and eggs. It's a good way to recharge after a long day of physical labor.

Pisco's is important, and I don't think I just speak for myself, even though it is probably my favorite restaurant in Jacksonville (against some really stiff competition). I would be distraught if they were to disappear from the scene, another sunken treasure in a thriving metropolis of mediocrity. So please, if you already haven't, give Pisco's a try. And if you like the food enough that it inspires a trip to Peru, then get in touch. We've got plenty of tips and recommendations for your travels.

Pisco's Restaurant
4131 Southside Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32216

Pisco's on Urbanspoon

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