Walking in, you’d think it were some quick-serve pollo a la brasa joint. You take a seat. The tables are wedged in tight. The door swings open, producing a draft. Not promising. But then you settle into the tastes of this passionate Peruvian kitchen. There’s tiradito, its strips of tilapia fanned out like the petals of an orchid. Next up, a degustation of causa, four canapés of whipped potato topped delicately with crabmeat, shrimp, shredded chicken, and tuna. To drink: caipirissima, a heady cocktail of rum and lime that’s so vividly green it invites you to kick back and fantasize about faraway climes. It’s remarkable to find so much color, drama, and flavor in a single package, particularly when that package is so tiny and so inexpensive.
Where you can find it: 765 Rockville Pike, Rockville; 301-424-8066
Also good: Aji de gallina, a dish of shredded chicken, garlic, and olives; fried trout with rice; ceviche; shrimp soup.