Mo Chica – 6 Courses for Japan

Chef Ricardo Zarate (Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef”) is originally from Peru, but I’m certain that part of his soul (like mine) belongs to Japan. For years he worked in Japanese restaurants (including Zuma in London) before opening Mo Chica, his contemporary Peruvian restaurant here in Los Angeles.

Ceviche Mixto by Chef Ricardo ZarateI first tasted Zarate’s food at a BreadBar Hatchi dinner last year, and loved the simple beauty of his compositions, as well as the Asian touches he added to his Peruvian cuisine.

Before meeting the chef, I think the only Peruvian food I had tried (besides ceviche) was a post-hangover dish called Lomo Saltado. If you haven’t tried Lomo Saltado, it’s an awesome pile of seasoned beef, tomatoes and onions served with BOTH rice AND french fries.

Ricardo Zarate and I didn’t actually become friends until he and his partners opened Test Kitchen last summer. I LOVED those frenetic months (new chefs & menus every few days) and if my waistline and bank account would’ve allowed it, I’d have dined at Test Kitchen every night. In fact I have so many photos from my visits that I’ve yet to properly blog about it!

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ HatchiRicardo Cooks For Japan

This Thursday (March 31st), Chef Zarate and partner Stephane Bombet will hold a charity dinner for the victims of Japan. I’ll be there supporting my friends, not only because I was born in Japan (I lived in Okinawa until I was eight), but because Zarate’s tasting dinners are always fantastic. Simply put: Great food + Great cause = a grateful heart and belly.

GrubStreetLA wrote:
Zarate will revisit one of his favorite tasting menus at a cost of $45 per diner. With a long history of working in Japanese restaurants, Zarate will donate $10 from every reservation to the country’s relief efforts. As an extra thrill for the town’s food-obsessed, Street Gourmet L.A. blogger and pro saxman Bill Esparza will provide the musical accompaniment with his bossa nova trio Cachaca Nova.

Mo-Chica’s 18th Tasting Dinner
6 Courses for Japan

Thursday, March 31, 2011
6:00-10:00 P.M.
$45
3655 S. Grand Ave. (inside Mercado La Paloma)
(213) 747-2141 (reservations will sell out!)

6 Course Menu

YUQUITAS CON POLLO
stuffed yuccas, manchego cheese, crispy chicken, rocoto sauce

TIRADITO
scallops strips, spicy lemon dressing, salsa criolla

CHILCANO
Peruvian cocktail, ginger juice, ginger ale, pisco brandy

SUDADO
sea bass, tomato stew , crab meat, roasted tomatoes, garbanzos

CHICHARRON
Peruvian-style crispy pork belly, black mint sauce

ALFAJOR
Classic Peruvian dessert made of dulce de leche , and short bread

PHOTOS below: In case you’ve never had the pleasure of eating Zarate’s food, here are some of my favorite bites (these are different from Thursdays menu):

Mo Chica
Arroz Chaufa De Mariscos: Seafood Fried Rice, Mixed seafood, Daikon Pickle

Mo Chica
Causa: Potato Salad, Tiger Prawns, Ocopa Sauce

Mo Chica
Tiradito: Japanese Octopus Carpaccio, Peruvian Botija Olive Sauce

Chef Ricardo Zarate @ Hatchi
Carapulcra: Peruvian Sun Dried Potatoes, Pancetta, Black Cod, Chimichurri

Mo Chica
Mate De Coca Ice Cream: Coca IceCream Cinnamon Sponge Cake

Note: Photos above are from my various Mo Chica / Ricardo Zarate dinners. These are NOT on the 3/31 tasting menu. Just samples of his beautiful food.

Mo Chica Website
3655 South Grand Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 747-2141

Follow Chef Ricardo Zarate on Twitter

Ricardo Zarate’s Bio (Test Kitchen)

Food & Wine “People’s Best New Chef” (LA Weekly)

With my big sister Janet, MyLastBite.comBreadbar Hatchi

Zarate at Test Kitchen (by Kevin Eats)

Lomo Saltado at Mario’s Peruvian

More Mo Chica photos on flickr

Zuma, London

GrubStreet LA

Street Gourmet L.A

About my early years in Okinawa, Japan

RED CROSS (text donation to help)

Red Cross relief in Japan is more than food and blankets

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2 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Hot Chefs

2 responses to “Mo Chica – 6 Courses for Japan

  1. The food photos are so enticing and me here considering which frozen dinner I’m going to fix for lunch. This blog is cruel to the hungry man.

    Of late, the Peruvian restaurant that my wife and I have been going to is Fernando’s in Downey. As in most of my Peruvian restaurant experiences, aside from a few appetizers I have yet to get past the Arroz con Pollo. I’m addicted to that stuff and the green sauce they serve with it. That sauce, whatever it is, is the best.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  2. Johanna

    I am peruvian and living in NYC. Just to congratulate Ricardo if he reads these lines. I am very proud to hear about talented peruvians, and Ricardo shinse because he is also caring about others. Thanks for putting Peru’s gastronomy ARRIBA!!! Also for helping Japan!!
    Blessings to him and family!!! God will bless them even more!!

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