Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lima Dining: Maido

Lima hasn't historically been a must-visit spot in South America, but increasingly food-lovers extend their trips in Peru to make time for checking out some of the city's globally renowned hot spots. That's just what we did, but by the time we finished our hike, I was feeling so tired, I regretted having to wait a day before flying home. Fortunately, Japanese-Peruvian fusion spot, Maido, turned out to be so awesome, I changed my tune.

Maido's sweetbread
"Sushi - Earth" - Sweetbreads

Japanese and Peruvian may sound like a strange combination, but the Japanese have a long history in Peru including a controversial turn in the Peruvian Presidency. There are no shortage of breathless write-ups about Maido, so it was no surprise that it was good. But I wasn't prepared for it to be showstopping incredible and truly one of the best meal of my life. Don't miss it if your travels take you to Lima!

When you reserve your table, you can select the 15-course Nikkei Experience, which I highly recommend. At current exchange rates (1 sole=0.3 USD), it's about $150. Each course is like an exquisite gift presented to you by the gracious waitstaff. The dishes are plated in such a stunning way with a variety of textures and natural elements to make everyone ooh and ahh.

Gyoza Cuy with Amazonic Ponzu
Of the 15 dishes, there were perhaps only two or three that were anything other than flat out amazing. River snails and sachapapa sobe were fine but nothing compared to the swoon-worthy other dishes.

Maido's squid sushi course
Squid sushi

The gyoza cuy (guinea pig dumpling!) served in its own little cast iron skillet was delicate and bursting with flavor. The squid and scallops with chia sushi course was simple highlighting the tender and very fresh seafood. And the still, my heart! Ever since I fell in love with the heavenly sweetbreads at NYC's Casa Mono, I've been trying to find their equal to no avail. Turns out they were awaiting me at Maido in a single rich and creamy bite. 

The most divine dish of all was the waygu short rib cooked for 50 hours with egg yolk, fried rice and amazonic chili. First of all, the presentation involved a waiter with a blowtorch. Uh, cool, right? Then of course 50-hours of cooking made for oh so tender meat, and it combined perfectly with the gorgeous, runny egg.

Maido's waygu beef shortrib with fried rice and egg
Waygu Beef Shortrib with Fried Rice and Egg
We were horribly disappointed to find that no alcohol could be served in the entire country during the weekend we were in Lima due to the presidential election. This is a ridiculous law that implies a definite lack of trust in your electorate, and selfishly it denied me tasty pisco libations. Fortunately, Maido made several lovely booze-free cocktails.

Every aspect of our exeperience was top-notch. The setting is airy and modern without being cold. The service is attentive and friendly. Most importantly, the Nikkei Experience is well worth the splurge, and while visually stunning, it never sacrifices taste for beauty.

Calle San Martin 399
Miraflores, Peru
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