I’d heard about this place for a long time now so while up in LA, we decided to hit up Picca. The restaurant is small and it was pretty packed, but we managed to find seats at the bar and immediately proceeded to order some drinks.
We started with The Zarate Kid (12) single village mezcal, raspberry chipotle port demi, lemon juice and yellow chartreuse for the birthday boy and I, while the others ordered Pisco Sour ($11) pisco, fresh lemon and lime juice, sugar, egg white, angosturra with a hint of cinnamon. Sadly, I didn’t care for the former while the latter was a little better.
Anticucho Corazon ($8) are beef heart pieces on a skewer topped with a rocoto-walnut pesto. The texture was good, but apart from the pesto, the heart itself was slightly under-seasoned.
The Anticucho Mollejita ($8), or, chicken gizzards had a nice nice crunch but again, under-seasoned. The jalapeno-huacatay didn’t help flavor it enough but after I added some pink Himalayan salt to it, and it was awesome.
I love ceviche and the Ceviche Mixto ($16), a seafood medley consisting of shrimp, scallops, fish and squid swimming in a bath of leche de tigre was nice and tart, but a little too much dairy so I could taste a really milky finish. I’ve had leche de tigre before and this was a little too heavy. The sweet potato mashed and eaten together with the seafood creates a better flavor balance than eating everything separately.
Lobster Tartare ($18) was very fresh and the mango leche de tigre added a subtle sweet tart component to the dish. I could barely taste the ginger, or the yuzu in the mayonnaise. Again, the dish was under-seasoned although the tartness level was spot-on. Yuca chips accompanied.
The final item, Chicharron de Pollo ($10) was disappointing. The ‘chicharron’ part was misleading. There was no chicken skin at all but rather, just pieces of fried white chicken breast. Bland, and not crispy like the menu stated. Topped with salsa criolla and served with a rocoto aioli, it did not help the chicken any, not enough for us to eat a second piece. We left this barely touched.
I’d like to revisit at a later date and see if this time was just a fluke, perhaps a bad night? I hope so because judging from the hype and all my friends’ excitement for this place, everything should have tasted a lot better and I wasn’t really wow-ed by any of it.
Picca Peruvian Cantina
9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036