Cheap Eats 2011: Carbón

Carbón is Spanish for charcoal, and at this quick-service cafe, the pleasures of the grill take precedence over the cooling ceviches, tiraditos, and salads that dominate the menus of most Peruvian restaurants.

Lilian Clary, who also owns the stylish La Canela down the street, opened this smaller sibling as a showcase for the street foods she grew up with in Lima: anticuchos, grilled medallions of zestily marinated, thinly sliced beef heart; asado de tira, a well-seasoned short-rib steak that packs more savor than many expensive cuts; and grilled chorizo slathered with chimichurri and stuffed into a bun.

The dessert menu changes frequently but usually includes a wedge of house-made chocolate layer and tres leches cakes and superlative alfajores, anise-flavored shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche.

Also good: Half rotisserie chicken (dark meat); black beans and rice; fried plantains; fried yuca.

Open daily for lunch and dinner (Sunday till 7).

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 Petworth.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.