Cheap Eats 2007: Costa Verde

From the sign outside—you can not enter with a muscle shirt—you’d think it was a biker joint. Instead, it’s a family place where Latino kids endure hair-tousling by relatives sipping cerveza or Inca Kola (it tastes a little like vanilla bubble gum) as heaping plates of Peruvian comfort food roll out of the kitchen.

This is a starch-loving, meat-and-two-potatoes cuisine that leans on onions and peppers for kick. Shrimp- and scallop-packed picante de mariscos (which comes with rice and potatoes) is creamy, not spicy, and a plate of short ribs minimizes its aromatic cilantro sauce, but both dishes are still good. And the cooking is full of welcome surprises, including the sweet conch in the fresh ceviche.

The canned Peruvian whistle music can sound like a mosquito in your ear, but there are no muscle shirts.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.