El Inka Grill, a Peruvian restaurant in Hunters Creek, has opened a second location in the Marketplace at Dr. Phillips at Restaurant Row. It occupies the space that was Greek Flame Taverna.
El Inka’s specialty is ceviche, so my lunch companions and I started with an appetizer of Ceviche Mixto, which included octopus, squid, shrimp and fish marinated in citrus juices along with onions and garlic and a touch of heat from rocoto chilies. The octopus and squid were especially delicious, and I liked the forward lime notes and the hint of cilantro in the taste.
We also sampled one of the causas that have their own section on the menu. A causa is a traditional Peruvian dish of mashed or pureed potatoes molded and topped with meats and sauces. We selected the Causa de Pulpo al Olivio, another serving of octopus but when a place is so good with an ingredient, why not? The potatoes were imbued with yellow peppers and molded in muffin-sized ploofs and topped with the seafood and a delicious creamy black olive dressing.
Lomito de Carne was one of my companion’s choice for the entree. It’s another typical dish of Peru of beef stir-fried, rather simply, with onions and tomatoes and served with both rice and fried potatoes. The beef was nicely tender had enough juices to serve as a sauce for the rice.
We also tried the Aji de Gallina, another classic dish that features shredded chicken in a yellow sauce that has both peppers and walnuts as a base. It’s the ground nuts that give the sauce its creaminess and the yellow peppers that give it its golden color (though some cooks boost it with turmeric). I’m claiming this one as my favorite.
It was way better than the Pescado Frito, a simple fried fish, sauceless, although topped with a Pervuian version of salsa criolla, onions marinated in lime, vinegar and olive oil. All done well, but a fairly mundane dish.
The medium sized dining space is nicely appointed and well lit, but clothless wood tabletops and tile floors make for good sound bouncing, especially if you’re dining alongside a large birthday party group. Patio dining is also available.
It seems that restaurants come and go in the Marketplace with alarming speed, but it has always been a good place for small, independent restaurants. It’s nice to add El Inka to the international mix.
El Inka Grill is at 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-930-2810.